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Sent: Tuesday, September 20, 2011 10:09 PM
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              September 2011


Dear Subscriber,


Please support our next Conference on Future Energy (SPESIF-COFE5) by sending in your abstract for a paper. The deadline has been extended to October 15, 2011 if you can also add a draft of your paper too. We also look forward to having one or more demonstrations at the conference as well, so those proposed papers or proposed presentations will be given special attention. Exhibit tables are available FREE to presenters upon request.


We are excited to see any unconventional energy generator get to the level of a one megawatt demonstration plant. That is what is expected of Rossi's E-cats in the #1 article in October. The video online gives a walk-through tour of the plant. Of course, thermal energy still needs to be converted to electrical, with the usual energy losses, but most of the conventional utility generation in the country has that problem. In related news, the low energy nuclear reaction (LENR) field is heating up and so a two-day course is being offered on the developments in LENR on October 3-4, 2011 at the Hyatt Regency in Crystal City VA by a start-up company called NUCAT.


Talking about heat, our #2 story has another approach for dealing with the wanton wastefulness of industrial processes by converting it with polymer pyroelectric materials into electricity.


Two years after Dr. Glen Gordon's last contribution to the field of bioelectromagnetics, his EM-Pulse still makes news with the #3 story that revisits the importance of a NASA study which he relied upon. Glen used to emphasize the value of a fast rise time for any pulsed electromagnetic (PEMF) device in order to stimulate the HSP70 protein which is a restorative and regenerative protein that repairs any number of injuries before inflammation occurs, so the sooner such a device is used, the better. Now the NASA study is online for a free download and IRI still has a few of his EM-Pulse devices available.


It's great to see new applications of battery technology where no man has gone before, like on a ship (Story #4) and for lightweight applications with carbon fiber, concrete or plastic. (Story #5).




Thomas Valone, PhD, PE  Editor   







1)  Rossi's One Megawatt Plant 

 By: Mats Lewan Publicerad igår, 07:00 Sept. 15, 2011


Ny Teknik got a look at the plant last week in Bologna, where it had been assembled from parts supposedly manufactured in Rossi's factory in Miami, Florida.


The plant consists of 52 'E-cats' of a new model that Rossi says he developed this spring, partly through discussions with the Swedish physicists Sven Kullander and Hanno Essen, mainly regarding research done by Hidetsugu Ikegami, a professor emeritus at Osaka University in Japan.


The plant was supposed originally to consist of 100 units of an early model, rated at a power output of ten kilowatts. When manufacturing started Rossi stated that he instead chose a smaller, more stable model with a power of about three kilowatts, and that 300 such units would then be used.

In July, Rossi changed his mind after claiming to have reached 27 kilowatts of power output with the latest model, then discarded the previously manufactured units.


The 52 units were mounted in four rows along both sides of a 20-foot container. On the front of each unit is a valve for filling hydrogen, as well as electrical connections to the electric resistance used to 'ignite' the reaction.


Steam outlet hoses are connected to a single isolated thick tube that runs along both sides and ends on the outside of the container's short side. On the outside is a water pump for water intake.


The plant was initially scheduled to be transported to Greece for the opening in October, in co-operation with the Greek company Defkalion Green Technologies.   


After Rossi's breach of contract with Defkalion in August and after Rossi had established contacts with an American customer, the container is now instead being shipped to the United States.


According to Rossi, the launch is scheduled as planned in October, and will be controlled by a "very important entity" in the U.S. At the launch a complementary part will be included to attain a power-output rating of one megawatt, as the 52 units will be operated at reduced power levels to ensure stability even at intervals with self-sustained operation.


Here it is: the plant that according to inventor Andrea Rossi will produce one megawatt of thermal energy via an unknown reaction in his 'energy catalyzer'. The plant is now being shipped to the United States.  

Ny Teknik assisted at a recent test of the new model running in self-sustained mode - read our report here.


Video Demo online:

Our complete coverage on Rossi's E-cat can be found here.






"Perspectives on Low Energy Nuclear Reactions" is scheduled for 3 and 4 October of this year at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Crystal City very near Washington DC. The motivation for the course is the significantly increasing interest in our field.  It will provide an effective way to learn the background, status and prospects for LENR.  Instructors for the course are Grabowski, Hagelstein, Imam, Kidwell, McKubre, Melich and Nagel.


The web site for the course is:

The course is sponsored by a new company NUCAT Energy LLC.  The name NUCATderives from the two physical levels critical to LENR, namely NUClear and ATomic.  



2) Polymer Sandwich for Heat Conversion from Waste

 21 July 2011 by Ferris Jabr


IN 314 BC the Greek philosopher Theophrastus noticed something unusual: when he heated a black crystalline rock called tourmaline, it would suddenly attract ash and bits of straw. He had observed what we now call pyroelectricity - the ability of certain crystals to produce a voltage briefly when heated or cooled. Now the same phenomenon is being used to convert waste heat into electricity.


Nearly 55 per cent of all the energy generated in the US in 2009 was lost as waste heat, according to research by the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California. There have been many attempts at using this waste heat to generate electricity, so far with only limited success.


Pyroelectricity could be the key, say Scott Hunter and colleagues at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee. They have built an energy harvester that sandwiches a layer of pyroelectric polymer between two electrodes made from different metals. Just a few millimetres long, the device is deployed by wedging it between a hot surface and a cold surface - between a computer chip and a fan inside a laptop, for example. Crucially, the device is anchored to the hot surface alone and so acts as a cantilever - a beam supported at one end.


As the device warms, the polymer expands more than the electrode close to the cold surface, and the whole device bends like the bimetallic strip in a thermostat. It droops toward the cold surface, where it cools and then springs back toward the hot surface, warming up again. Soon the cantilever is thrumming between the hot and cold surfaces like the hammer of a wind-up alarm clock. Each time it is heated, the polymer generates a small amount of electricity which is stored in a capacitor (Proceedings of SPIE, DOI: 10.1117/12.882125).


Previous attempts at using pyroelectric materials to recycle waste heat have only managed to turn 2 per cent of the heat into electricity. Hunter believes his device could achieve an efficiency of between 10 and 30 per cent.


Hunter says the device can also convert heat in exhaust gases into electricity. It might even be used to capture the energy that solar cells lose as heat, he says. Energy generation aside, he adds that the devices could soak up enough heat to play a significant role in cooling laptops and data centres.


Laurent Pilon of the University of California, Los Angeles, who also studies pyroelectric energy harvesting, says he likes the compactness of the device and its relative simplicity, but has some doubts about the potential efficiency. "I think some of their expectations are a little exaggerated," he says. "They are relying on conduction to heat the device, which is a slow process." He and other groups have used fluids to heat or chill a pyroelectric material. This is much quicker, though the need to pump the fluid around does consume some of the energy generated.

3) Pulsed Electro-Magnetic Fields (PEMF) Four Year Study by NASA
May 22, 2011   //   by drashoksinghal100   //  Blog  //  8Comments


Ed. Note: Dr. Glen Gordon, a former COFE speaker, washighly influenced to develop the EM-Pulse technology that IRI still sells, based on the preliminary results of this NASA study. - TV

NASA 4-year collaborative study on the efficacy of electromagnetic fields to stimulate growth and repair in mammalian tissues has definitive results according to CHIEF INVESTIGATOR: Thomas J. Goodwin, Ph.D.Lyndon B Johnson SpaceCenter.


PURPOSE: This four year study used human donors "to define the most effectiveelectromagnetic fields for enhancing growth and repair in mammalian tissues."


To utilize "nerve tissue which has been refractory to efforts to stimulategrowth or enhance its repair regardless of the energy used." (all othertissues have demonstrated growth and repair stimulation with appropriate PEMF)


To define a PEMF technology that would "duplicate mature, three dimensionalmorphology between neuronal cells and feeder (glial) cells, which has not beenpreviously accomplished."


RESULTS: The PEMF used in the study "caused accelerated growth rate and betterorganized morphology over controls", and resulted in "greater cellviability" (85% vs. 65%).


In the gene discovery array (chip technology that surveyed 10,000 human genes),the investigators found up-regulation of 150 genes associated with growth andcell restoration.


T.Goodwin (personal communication) " PEMF shut down each dysregulatory gene we studied".


"The up-regulation of these genes is in no manner marginal (1.7-8.4 logs) with genesites for collagen production and growth the most actively stimulated."


"We have clearly demonstrated the bioelectric/biochemical potentiation of nervestimulation and restoration in humans as a documented reality".


"The most effective electromagnetic field for repair of trauma was square wave witha rapid rate of change (dB/dt) which saw cell growth increased up to 4.0times."


They further noted that "slowly varying (millisecond pulse, sine wave) or nonvarying DC (CW lasers, magnets) had little to no effect."


Final Recommendation: "One may use square wave EM fields with rapid rate ofchange for":
1) repairing traumatized tissues
2) moderating some neurodegenerative diseases
3) developing tissues for transplantation



For More Information:


*the first study to clarify technologies and efficacy parameters for tissue growthand restoration




4) Zero-Emission Hydrogen Powered Prototype Vessel


ScienceDaily (Sep. 2, 2011) - Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology (EMPA)


Researchers have been operating a canal boat with a fuel cell drive for three years now. In the world of shipbuilding, however, different rules apply than those in the automobile manufacturing industries. Weight is of practically no significance, but the propulsion plant must have an operating lifetime as long as that of the boat itself. The hydride storage system -- the hydrogen tank -- must meet this challenging requirement.

One of the most efficient means of transporting freight is by ship. However, many of the ships sailing today are powered by aging diesel motors fitted with neither exhaust cleaning equipment nor or modern control systems. Three years ago the University of Birmingham initiated an ambitious trial, converting an old canal barge to use hydrogen fuel.

The Ross Barlow Zero Emission Canal Vessel 

The old diesel motor, drive system and fuel tank were removed and replaced with a high efficiency electric motor, a battery pack for short-term energy supply and a fuel cell with a hydrogen storage system to charge the batteries. In September 2007 the converted boat, the "Ross Barlow," was launched on its maiden voyage on Britain's 3500 km long canal system. Last year the barge made its longest voyage to date, of four days duration and 105 km length, negotiating no less than 58 locks. A good opportunity to look back and take stock.


Mass-produced drive system meets tailor-made storage technology

The first task to be done in converting the 18 m long steel-hulled barge was to calculate the power requirements. Based on experience with other battery driven canal boats it was decided to use a 10 kW permanent magnet motor. To provide energy for longer trips a commercial fuel cell delivering 1 kW of power was chosen. This system was originally designed as an uninterruptible power supply (UPS) for use in the telephone industry. The capacity of the fuel cell was, however insufficient to power the boat directly, so the "Ross Barlow" was also fitted with a 47 kWh buffer battery. Lead acid batteries were used for this purpose since they are low maintenance, low-priced and easy to charge. The weight of the battery pack is of no consequence when used in an inland waterways vessel.


The hydrogen supply for the fuel cell was provided by hydride storage system developed by Empa and partly financed by the Swiss Federal Office of Energy (SFOE). This device can store hydrogen with an energy content of 50 kWh, which is equivalent to 20 pressurized gas cylinders each of 10 Liter capacity. The storage material consists of an alloy of titanium, zirconium, manganese, vanadium and iron in powder form which is packed into sealed steel tubes. The powder absorbs hydrogen, thus acting as a storage medium, only releasing it when heated. Since when "filling up" with hydrogen the metal powder generates heat which must be removed, each storage module is located in a water tank which can be warmed or cooled as necessary, In addition the ship is fitted with a solar panel which can supply up to 320 W of electric power.

The hydride storage system developed by Empa was partly financed by the Swiss Federal Office of Energy (SFOE).

Charging and discharging cycles -- for the next 100 years!

The journey through canals and locks makes widely varying demands on the barge's electrical supply. To save wear and tear on the fuel cell, the motor draws its current from the lead acid batteries during routine sailing. A typical journey takes 4 to 6 hours during which time the canal boat uses 12 to 18 kWh of power. In continuous operation the fuel cell delivers 24 kWh of energy per day. This also powers the electronic monitoring system, leaving about 19 kWh with which to charge the buffer battery pack -- enough energy for a daily journey lasting six hours.


The reliability and operational lifetime of the metal hydride storage system was tested in the laboratory during its development. In practical terms this means that when used to power the "Ross Barlow," if the ship is assumed to travel 650 km per year through the British canal system, it would need refueling once a month with hydrogen. In this case the hydrogen storage system would have an operating lifetime in excess of 100 years, and would therefore comfortably outlast the useful lifetime of the barge itself.


The results of the test voyage

During the 105 km, four-day summer test journey a total of 106 kWh of electric energy was consumed on the "Ross Barlow," including lighting and recharging the crew's mobile telephones and laptop computers.

The batteries supplied 71 per cent of this energy, the hydrogen fuel cell 25 per cent and the solar panel 4 per cent. There was unanimous praise from the crew for the practically silent way the boat sailed. Also notable was that when waiting in a lock the "Ross Barlow" was not engulfed by its own diesel fumes. The boat which accompanied it (which was about the same size) used some 50 L of diesel, resulting in a CO2 emission of approximately 133 kg. The "Ross Barlow" on the other hand produced no CO2 during its voyage, assuming that the hydrogen it used was derived from renewable sources and delivered free of emissions to the refueling point on the bank of the canal.


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5) Recharging the Battery: Hidden Power
 by James Mitchell Crow Aug. 25,2011, New Scientist issue 2827.


IF THERE is one thing that symbolises the incredible success - and dismal failure - of 21st-century technology, it is the battery. Each year we spend some $50 billion on the things, mostly to go in our cameras, cellphones and laptops. They give us abilities our parents could only dream of. Yet batteries are also a titanic headache, both for engineers who must squeeze these objects into tight spaces, and for the millions of us who curse them whenever our gadgets run out of juice.


Help could finally be at hand, though, now that researchers are starting to rethink electrical storage from the bottom up. They foresee a time when the very fabric of modern life - ordinary materials such as plastics and concrete - will hold much of the electricity we need. Utilising familiar stuff in this way not only promises to keep the power flowing wherever we go, but it could signal the end of the battery as we know it. In future, that plastic casing on your smartphone won't just protect the circuits inside; it will keep them supplied with juice too. The walls and floors of your home could also do double duty - as infrastructure that also keeps the lights burning. Even humble paper could play a vital role in keeping you switched on.


According to Emile Greenhalgh, one of the first places you'll notice a difference will be on your driveway. Though your next car is likely to look familiar, its sleek bodywork could well be made from lightweight composites rather than steel. And if Greenhalgh, a materials scientist at Imperial College London, has his way, this bodywork will help store the energy that your vehicle's electric motor needs for the daily commute. "We think the car of the future could be drawing power from its roof, its bonnet or its door," he says.


His vision emerged in 2003, when he was approached by researchers from the UK government's research agency, the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory. They were after a new material for uncrewed aerial vehicles that would be strong enough to bear a load but could also store electrical energy. Greenhalgh and his colleagues were intrigued and set out to design one.


They began with a material that is already revolutionising the aerospace industry: carbon fibre. The stuff is renowned for high strength and low weight. When used to reinforce plastic resins, it forms a tough composite used in Formula One racing cars and new passenger jets like Boeing's 787 Dreamliner. Though carbon-fibre composites are not known for electricity storage, the fibres are good electrical conductors - useful when you want them to store charge. "Some commercially available carbon fibres perform really well as electrodes," says Leif Asp of the Swerea Sicomp research institute in Gothenburg, Sweden. "That was not what we expected."


Rather than building a battery, Greenhalgh decided to focus efforts on developing another energy-storage device: a capacitor, or in this case a souped-up "supercapacitor". A battery has two electrodes separated by an electrolyte. The difference in electric charge between the electrodes causes charged ions to flow through the electrolyte when the battery is part of a circuit, causing current to flow. Batteries therefore store electricity in chemical form, while in capacitors all the charge accumulates on the electrodes, and an insulating layer keeps these charges apart. The solidity of a capacitor is what makes them easier to adapt for load bearing.

The key to creating a capacitor that can store electricity in amounts useful to your gadgets is to maximise the electrodes' surface area. So Greenhalgh coated each carbon fibre with a bristling layer of conducting carbon-nanotubes. He then weaved this furry spaghetti into two flat electrodes, added an insulating fibreglass layer between them, and encased the lot in a polymer resin.


The nanotubes brought an unexpected benefit - they not only stored a lot of charge, but they made the supercapacitor panel extremely strong. In part, this is down to their surface area, which helps to create a better bond between the fibres and the resin. The nanotubes also act like guy ropes, extending out from the slender carbon fibres and helping to stop them from buckling under a load. The result is a tough, lightweight panel that can store 1 watt-hour per kilogram, around 1/20th of the capacity of a conventional supercapacitor (see chart).


Greenhalgh now heads a European-wide project called Storage, which, in partnership with Volvo, aims to construct a hybrid-electric car in which a large steel panel in the vehicle's floor will be replaced by a composite supercapacitor. By shrinking the main battery and eliminating heavy steel, the panel should shave some 15 per cent from the vehicle's weight. However, though Greenhalgh is confident he can improve on his supercapacitor's existing storage capacity, he admits that you will probably never drive an electric vehicle powered solely by such capacitors as they are unlikely to ever match the capacity of lithium-ion batteries.

Lightweight laptops

Still, such panels offer significant advantages, particularly for hybrid cars with regenerative braking, which slows a car by converting the kinetic energy of movement into electrical energy. Supercapacitors are perfectly suited for collecting these short bursts of energy and putting it back into the system when they accelerate. That means the main battery can be smaller and lighter, and should last longer in service.


That said, other members of the Storage consortium are still keen to entirely eliminate conventional hybrid-vehicle batteries. Asp, in particular, wants to turn lithium-ion batteries themselves into structural composites. Again, carbon fibre is a surprisingly good place to start as one of the electrodes in a conventional lithium-ion battery is usually made from graphite, and carbon fibres are essentially graphite threads.


Batteries are tricky to adapt to a dual role, though, because their electrolyte is often a gel or liquid. So Asp's team is formulating a mix that incorporates a tough polycarbonate as well as a liquid electrolyte. Asp claims its capacity will eventually match that of existing lithium-ion batteries.


Asp's "composite battery" could eventually offer lightweight versions of conventional laptops and cellphones, or new designs that run for longer without needing a recharge. However, that might not happen overnight, as carbon-fibre composites aren't cheap. When they are eventually commercialised, structural batteries are likely to appear only in the most expensive products at first. That might not include cars, though. "What Volvo has found with electric cars is that steel is too heavy. They have to go to composite cars anyway," says Greenhalgh. "Our material gives a bonus."


Structural batteries need not always be expensive, though; they can also be based on seriously low-tech materials - stuff so cheap that you wouldn't think twice about parking your car right on top of it. In 2007, two researchers at the University of Cambridge laid the foundations for a future in which concrete walls, floors and even driveways could double up as huge batteries. Gordon Burstein and Erek Speckert reckoned that, because concrete contains millions of tiny water-filled pores, it should behave like an ionic conductor. When sandwiched between a steel cathode and an aluminium anode, their prototype battery did produce a trickle of current - until the electrodes succumbed to corrosion (ECS Transactions, DOI: 10.1149/1.2838188).


This unpromising start has inspired fresh attempts, however, including a concrete zinc-carbon battery created by a team at the State University of New York at Buffalo. The anode of their three-layered concrete composite contains carbon black and zinc powder while the cathode contains carbon black and manganese dioxide powder (see diagram). The idea is that these finely dispersed materials improve electrical connectivity between the electrodes and the electrolyte, and this works, up to a point. Tests show their battery's storage capacity is still minuscule - just microwatt-hours per kilogram - but the researchers say that adding salts or polymers to tune electronic and ionic conductivity should improve its performance (Cement and Concrete Composites, vol 32, p 829).  


Considering that the average American house contains over 12 tonnes of concrete and a small office block might use a thousand times more, concrete batteries would seem to offer huge capacity for electrical storage, particularly in off-grid buildings, as emergency back-up supplies for businesses or for smoothing the output from roof-mounted photovoltaic panels. For now, though, you are more likely to be plugging in to your wallpaper than to the wall behind it.

Paper-thin batteries are already highly desirable for powering circuitry in everything from electronic newspapers to the ultimate geek chic: clothing with gadgets like phones and music-players built in. Shreefal Mehta thinks that paper itself holds the key.

Mehta runs the Paper Battery Company based in Troy, New York, and is working towards electricity-storing sheets that will not only squeeze into places that conventional batteries can't reach - thin gaps in cellphone casings, say - but which could also replace paper and thin plastic in almost any situation where electricity storage would be a bonus.

Electric origami

His battery is based on research by a team at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI), also in Troy, that showed it is possible to store energy in a sheet of cellulose. The team embedded a carbon-nanotube array into each side of a cellulose sheet that had been soaked in an ionic liquid. The nanotubes formed the electrodes, while the ionic liquid, dispersed in pores within the cellulose, acted as an electrolyte. Their material successfully stored around 10 watt-hours per kilogram - in other words, a dozen A4 sheets of the stuff would supply about the same energy as a typical AAA-battery (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, vol 104, p 13574).


Though Mehta declined to reveal much about the material his company is developing, dubbed the PowerWrapper, he says their trick has been to formulate the different components into a printable ink so that they can create a battery by printing the layers sequentially. This allows them to create both supercapacitors and batteries with high energy-density that can be produced using a high-speed roll-to-roll manufacturing process. Mehta plans to commercialise his paper batteries in the next two years. "We're already in discussions with customers who are testing our prototype devices," he says.


Ultimately, the company envisages integrating their paper battery into the cover or lining of laptop cases, into car interiors and homes. A PowerWrapper sheet could do the job of a conventional membrane laid under the roof or fixed to exterior or interior walls, while also allowing you to store renewable energy from photovoltaic panels or turbines for times when the sun isn't shining or the wind doesn't blow. "You could wrap it around any structure," says Pulickel Ajayan, who helped develop the material at RPI.


So tread lightly on that concrete path. Close your laptop's lid with care. We may not wave goodbye to AA-batteries and their ilk for some while yet, but in the meantime let's show the everyday materials of modern life the respect they will soon deserve.


James Mitchell Crow is a science writer based in Melbourne, Australia  



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