National Commentary

The Peak Oil Crisis: The Search for Cheap, Clean Energy

There are now two new potential sources of energy which seem to be too good to be true. This is why most, upon hearing what they might offer, reject the notion that they can possibly be true. Water for fuel? Nonsense! Electricity for a tenth of the current price? Absurd! An end to carbon emissions and anthropogenic climate change? Only our green technologies – wind, sun and water can do that! Fundamental principles of physics and chemistry could be wrong? More nonsense, we understand these so well that there is little of significance left to be discovered.

There are now four separate companies saying they have developed, had verified by outside parties, and in some cases demonstrated to outside groups, prototypes of devices that could be central to the next age of civilization. The amazing thing in all this activity is that hardly anybody recognizes that it is happening. Most of the skepticism is rooted in recent history when the scientific community and the US Department of Energy denied that there might be other ways to extract energy from atoms or that scientific understanding of physics is not complete.

For those watching all this story unfolding for years the pace seems to be picking up, for in the last two weeks all four of the companies working on commercial products have publicly reported progress – which as usual was mostly ignored by the media.

In New Jersey BlackLight Power held a presentation last week for some 70 invited attendees. The two-hour presentation is available online at http://www.blacklightpower.com/whats-new/. So far as we know only CNN-Money TV attended the affair — perhaps they were the only one invited. The network later ran a short TV story laying out BlackLight’s claims that their technology, which is based on a new theory of physics/chemistry and which is not cold fusion, can produce unlimited amounts of cheap, clean energy from water. To CNN’s credit they even ran a short interview with a scientist who has extensively tested the technology and says it works as claimed.

During the demonstration, the inventor of the process showed a device that fired off what is claimed to be bursts of hydrogen turning into high energy plasma which can be used to produce electricity. There was also discussion of the way BlackLight’s plans to automate these bursts to produce electric power continuously.

The company says it has recently developed a “solid fuel-catalyst that can produce billions of watts per liter from the formation of ‘hydrinos’ using H2O as the only source of fuel.” This statement alone is a claim so far beyond what is known by mainstream science that skeptics are in an aroused state of disbelief – despite the existence of letters of validation from four scientific organizations testifying that they have participated in building and testing the technology and it works. The testers say the devices have produced from 10 to 2000 times the input energy.

BlackLight says that the development of this solid fuel-catalyst is an important step in building commercial devices that can one day replace all current forms of energy ranging from electric power generation to heating to transportation. Most people want to know when? BlackLight has been developing this technology in a relatively open fashion for the last 20 years, with the aid of about $80 million it has raised from private investors. During their visit, CNN was told that it will take about five years to go from where they are now to a commercial product.

Coming on the market sooner could be a device from Vancouver-based Defkalion. On January 16th, Defkalion announced that they will have a “pre-industrial” version of their Hyperion cold fusion device completed and ready for certification by the second quarter of 2014. The Hyperion will be a relatively small source of heat that, if it works as claimed, could find a market for industrial and commercial heating applications, especially in places where fuel is hard to come by. The company is talking about selling the device for $7,000 and says that the annual cost of operation should be less than 1 cent per Kwh.

Two weeks ago a North Carolina company, Industrial Heat, announced that they had indeed purchased the rights to the Italian inventor Rossi’s E-Cat technology and are hard at work verifying the technology, getting patents, and developing a marketable product. This announcement confirms what the blogosphere had discovered several weeks back that Rossi and his device were now in the hands of a billion dollar venture capital firm that likely can afford further development of the technology. Rossi says that he is expecting the report of a second and longer test of his device within the next few months. The company which bought the rights to Rossi’s technology, says they did so only after extensive testing convinced them that cold fusion was real and that Rossi had a technology that could be commercialized.

Our last company, Brillouin Energy of California, which is working with SRI Laboratories on developing a cold fusion powered boiler for power stations, gave extensive televised interviews of their operations and finances a few weeks ago. Brillouin says they have signed an agreement with a medium sized Korean company to license the technology and build the boilers for the Korean market. They hope to have a prototype in operation before the end of the year.

What is remarkable about all this activity is that it is taking place with close to zero funding from a still skeptical government and on a relative shoestring as compared to projects of much lesser importance. There has been close to zero government participation; no major corporate involvement, except by SRI; and little involvement by university scientists most of whom still maintain that cold fusion cannot possibly take place and that there is no such thing as BlackLight Power’s compressed form of hydrogen.

Some of this activity is bound to make its way into the mainstream media one of these days. We should know more before the year is out.