DOE does LENR Flip Flop: In September of this year, the assistant to Al Opdenaker of the Department of Energy [DOE] answered an email enquiry on the dept.’s LENR stance. The response was not encouraging and Ruby Carat at Cold Fusion Now covered the exchange(and followed it with their own letter and reply).
Over the past few weeks, as little hints emerged of back-scene briefings, we (eCatNews) wondered if we were seeing initial signs of a change in awareness among the business and political power brokers. With Mitt Romney, Senator Tarr and Senate candidate Hekman bringing up the normally taboo subject while NASA, NI and other major institutions made encouraging noises, DOE’s stance appeared to be willful in its business-as-usual position.
Now we have another reply from the same office and this time the tone and evidence of awareness is completely different. I would go as far as saying that the reply is quite candid and revealing.
Compare the replies – First in September:
In 1989, a review panel that had been charged by the Department concluded that reports of the experimental results of excess heat from calorimetric cells did not present convincing evidence that useful sources of energy will result from the phenomena attributed to “cold fusion.” To quote the panel, “Hence, we recommend against the establishment of special programs or research centers to develop cold fusion.”
In 2004, the Department organized a second review of the field and that review reached essentially the same conclusion as the 1989 review. The Department’s Office of Sciences does not provide any funding support for “cold fusion” research.
Fusion Energy Sciences
Office of Science
US Department of Energy
And then two months later… this time from the man himself and not his assistant:
…I JUST LEARNED ABOUT HIS WORK [Rossi's] A COUPLE OF MONTHS AGO, BECAUSE, AS YOU KNOW, THE MAINSTREAM MEDIA HAS NOT REALLY BEEN REPORTING ON THE E-CAT DEVICE. I WAS SURPRISED WHEN I CAME ACROSS SOME REPORTS ON THE INTERNET RECENTLY.SO LET ME TRY TO ANSWER YOUR REAL QUESTION,
…I HAVE TO ADMIT THAT MUCH HAS HAPPENED IN THE FIELD EVEN SINCE THE 2004 [DOE] REVIEW WAS HELD, AND, IF ANOTHER REVIEW WERE HELD TODAY, IT IS POSSIBLE THAT A DIFFERENT OUTCOME WOULD RESULT. I DO NOT PRETEND TO SPEAK FOR THE WHOLE DEPARTMENT OR EVEN FOR A SMALL PART OF IT. I CAN TELL YOU THAT UNTIL I STARTED BEING ASSIGNED TO ANSWER QUESTIONS LIKE THE ONE THAT YOU SENT TO SECRETARY CHU, I HAD NO IDEA THAT THINGS HAD BEEN CHANGING SO MUCH AND SO QUICKLY IN THIS FIELD. EVEN AFTER I STARTED DOING SOME POKING AROUND TO SEE WHAT WAS HAPPENING WITH ROSSI AND FRIENDS, I WAS NOT TOO SURE ABOUT THE RESULTS BEING REPORTED. MY CHANGE OF MIND WAS A DIRECT RESULT OF TALKING WITH DR. DENNIS BUSHNELL, THE CHIEF SCIENTIST FOR NASA LANGLEY WHO HAS ASSURED ME THAT OVER 100 EXPERIMENTS WORLDWIDE INDICATE THAT LENR IS REAL, CAPABLE OF PRODUCING ENERGY MUCH GREATER THAT CHEMICAL REACTIONS, WITH MINIMAL RADIATION, THAT THEORIES INDICATE THAT WHAT IS HAPPENING IS WEAK INTERACTIONS, BETA DECAY AND NOT FUSION OF ANY KIND. FRANKLY, IT DOES NOT SEEM TO ME TO MATTER WHAT WE CALL IT IF IT WORKS AND BUSHNELL SAYS IT DOES WORK. HE BELIEVES THAT THE ROSSI DEMONSTRATIONS SUGGEST THAT LENR MAY PRODUCE “USEFUL” QUANTITIES OF HEAT, AND WHAT IS NEEDED IS 10-20 YEARS OF WORK TO ENGINEER ROSSI’S IDEAS FOR PERFORMANCE.HOWEVER, IF ROSSI HAS ALREADY SOLD MORE THAN 10 OF THE 1 MW PLANTS AS I AM READING ON THE NET, AND IT TURNS OUT THAT THE PLANTS WORK, AND ROSSI’S CUSTOMERS ARE HAPPY WITH THEM, I DO NOT THINK THAT THE DOE NEEDS TO GET INTO THE MIX TO CONVINCE PEOPLE TO BUY A PRODUCT THAT OTHERS HAVE ALREADY BOUGHT AND ARE WILDLY HAPPY WITH. IT IS JUST A MATTER OF A SHORT WAIT TO SEE WHAT IS GOING TO HAPPEN…..[snip]
FUSION ENERGY SCIENCES
OFFICE OF SCIENCE
US DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY
He adds in the letter that when he talks to others in the organisation, he finds it difficult to raise interest. That statement alone goes a long way to define the problems that mire the soon to be this exploding field of this still purely theoretical nuclear physics.
He makes the odd minor error but demonstrates a significant change of heart and knowledge. He is effectively saying that Rossi is right in his approach and that by the time the lumbering giant swung into action, people will be buying the systems if they work so watch and wait. I agree.
Perhaps our biggest hope is for goverment to stay out of the way.