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174) Naudin’s Excess power

Ludwik Kowalski (September 11, 2004)
Department of Mathematical Sciences
Montclair State University, Upper Montclair, NJ, 07043

Highly impressive findings of Jean-Louis Naudin have been reported more that one year ago, as described in unit #73. In reading this unit again I see that something very important was not emphasized. Naudin’s experiments use ordinary water and they generate excess powers of hundreds of watts. This can be contrasted with excess powers smaller than one watt reported to be reproducible by other electrochemists. In one case the input was 1200 W input while the output was 3093 W output. The excess power of 1893 W simplifies calorimetric measurements; the amount of generated heat is calculated from the amount of evaporated water. (If the value of 3093 W were calculated from the weight of lost water then the true excess power would be even larger because some excess heat is likely to be lost through convection and conduction.

The powers are high because the currents of up to 10 A are forced to flow through the electrolyte by differences of potentials exceeding 100 V. The law of conservation of energy does not allow the output power to be larger than the input power, unless some exothermic reactions are taking place. Our students often verify that the amount of heat released and the amount of electric energy supplied, to a wire in a calorimeter, are essentially equal. If a student reports that the heat released is larger than the electric energy supplied then I know that some kind of experimental or computational error was made. Such conclusion, however, would not be necessarily valid if chemical reactions were allowed to take place in the material through which electric charges are flowing. For some reactions the excess heat would positive and others it would be negative.

In electrochemical cells used by Naudin excess heat is positive and this indicates that exothermic reactions are dominant. If the excess heat were negative one would know that the dominant reactions are endothermic. But are these reactions chemical or are they nuclear? Unfortunately, the origin of excess power is not discussed by Naudin. By naming his cells “cold fusion reactors” he implies that reactions are nuclear. But this is far from being obvious. After posting Unit #73 (last year) I advertised it on Phys-L, a discussion list of physics teachers. I wrote: “Reasonably reproducible data on abnormal excess heat are described, as summarized in item #73. The French author, Jean-Louis Naudin, calls it a ‘replication’ of Mizuno's experiment in Japan. I was impressed.” Responding to this one teacher wrote: “ The cynic sees that the electrolyte is heavy in oxygen and that the plasma reaction produces scum. It would be well to address conventional avenues for the excess heat noted -- say burning a cell component in oxygen. . . . “ This teacher thinks that Naudin has no right to say that reactions are nuclear without showing that they are not chemical. As far as I know (by browsing the Internet) the issue of the origin of excess heat in Naudin’s experiments has not been addressed. Why is it so? I have no answer.

Let me insert here a brief description for those who might be interested to access information on Naudin’s web pages. These pages are highly impressive not only in terms of content but also in terms of its graphical form. But the way of browsing through them might not be obvious. Start with his “summary page” at:

Note that each picture on that page is a link to a more detailed description. Subsequent pages contain similar impressive pictures but these pictures are not links. Some people might not be aware of this. They can also be confused by some underlined phrases. The phrases look like conventional links but clicking on them brings no now information. In other words, the summary page is also a menu leading to fifteen different descriptions. The first of them, containing 11 pages, is entitled “cold fusion reactor tiny,” the second, containing 8 pages, in entitled “cold fusion reactor v1.4,” etc.

The amount of published data is very extensive. If I were a chemist I would try to replicate Naudin experiments and analyze reaction products. Measuring input power and output power should not be difficult, provided a power supply, and appropriate electrodes, are available. But the issue of calculating chemically released heat, on the basis of the amounts of identified byproducts, would be too difficult to a me. Will I find a chemist willing to participate? This remains to be seen. Showing that Naudin’s excess heat is due to well know chemical reactions would imply that it is not due to nuclear reactions. This would not ruled out a possibility that nuclear processes identified by Mizuno, Ohmori and Oriani, etc., also take place but at rates much smaller than necessary to generate measurable amounts of excess power.

Unlike Naudin, these authors were able to identify nuclear reaction reactions signatures, such as highly unusual isotopic ratios and alpha particles. Let me finish this essay by summarizing the Ohmori and Mizuno paper; it can be found in a special collection of papers from the Infinite Energy magazine at:

Note that only some of these papers are devoted to cold fusion. Eugene Mallove, the late editor of Infinite Energy, supported all sort of unusual claims. Ohmori and Mizuno analyzed a tungsten cathode “electrolyzed at high power.” In that cathode they discovered elements, such as Fe, Cr, Ti, Ca, Ni, C, Re and Pb, that were not present before the high power electrolysis. More significantly, the isotopic ratios for these elements were often very different from the ratios in our natural environment. 50Cr, for example, had the abundance of 6.1%, versus 4.31% found in nature. Likewise, 207Pb, was found to be 55% abundant versus 22% in nature. Production of heavy isotopes indicates that nuclear reactions “are not necessarily conventional deutron-deutron fusion.” Naudin attempt to show that nuclear reactions are present (by detecting gamma rays from the products) was not successful. Nuclear reactions with which we are familiar often produce radioactive gamma-radioactive isotopes while cold fusion products seem to be mostly stable. Obtaining nuclear energy without producing radioactive waste would be highly desirable.

P.S. (10/2/04).
A chemical reaction that should not be ignored is electrolysis of water. It takes 118 kcal (494 kJ) to decompose one mole of water (18 grams). How much water is decomposed in a typical experiment? The energy equation should be written as:

Eel = W + Qv +Qc

where Eel is electric energy supplied, W is work of decomposition (1.25 eV per molecule), Qv is thermal energy lost through evaporation, and Qc is thermal energy lost through conduction, convection and radiation. Hydrogen is a fuel; why is W not counted as a component excess energy? Also why was Qc ignored? I suppose that Qc is much smaller that Qv when experiments are performed in a thermos. But in an open beaker Qc is certainly much larger. I think that Qc should also be counted as excess heat. In other words, excess energy reported by Naudin is only a lower limit; how large would it be if both W and Qc were added? The main question, after establishing reality of excess heat, is to account for it in terms of products (either chemical or nuclear).

What follows is a set of messages fetched from the discussion group of NFR users:

I joined the group expecting to ask questions about the origin of excess energy. But the group appears to be inactive; the last message was posted more than half a year ago.

Date [of message 1 below]:  Sat Feb 7, 2004  2:27 pm
Subject: Source of excess energy [in Naudin’s CFR].

Message 1:
Tom, It's already been checked. It's not coming from the tungsten reacting with oxygen or any of the other chemicals present. As I said before, *read the archives*, this work has already been done.

Message 2:
Greetings all,
After many hours of testing and retesting I have come to the conclusion that the excess energy must come from the destruction of the electrode. The byproducts left at the bottom of the solution are artifacts of tungsten that are at a lower energy level. If we figure in the power used in the production/refining of the tungsten electrode there would be a net loss rather than a gain. In effect we have not produced overunity, rather a conversion of matter into energy and a byproduct. As we all know, in any conversion there is some amount of loss in the process. If we come up with an electrode that produces the same effect and remains at the same mass we can claim overunity. Until then it will remain an interesting experiment and no more. I welcome any feedback...

Message 3:
I think you missed the focus or I was not clear enough in my post. I was considering the energy used in creating the tungsten electrode as the part that tips the balance. As you say the chemical portion of the reaction produces a small fraction of the energy released. I don't know how the energy release could be that small. It is my understanding that matter changed to energy takes a bit of power input and releases quite a bit of energy. Has anyone done any work on the artifacts (chemical makeup)? In all fairness any material used up and replaced has to be figured in to get the final, or better, the net power output. On a cost VS production we are creating pennies of extra power for dollars of destroyed materials. Even if the gain was 300% you would not break even on the cost of production. Only if we have a material for the electrode that remains intact, or the cost of energy increases 10 fold or more, will we have gain over the cost of production. What are your COP results for your experiments?

Message 4:
I think your stuck on the chemical reaction. Forget the reaction and concentrate on the cost of materials used verses the extra energy produced. And as for the archives, anyone can post something to the group. Because it gets posted doesn't mean it's true... By the way I didn't see your experimental results in your post. Have you done the experiment yourself? Maybe you just want to debate? I don't have the time to debate pie in the sky. I need real input from real experimenters with real data...Remember, concentrate on the cost of production verses the amount of extra energy not the reaction! Pennies of extra energy for dollars of materials. I can't make it clearer than that without sounding like I'm teaching elementary school children.

Message 5:
The price you have quoted is for tungsten ore. Then you have to process it. A very costly process that uses a lot of energy (consider the melting point of tungsten). Then ingots of raw tungsten are heated again and another purification is done which uses more energy. Then forming machines (using energy) pound the hot tungsten into the shape desired using energy to keep the material hot during the process. Then it has to be shipped and you have to drive your car to the supplier to buy it. Another factor is the chemical for the electrolyte that has to be processed and shipped and so on. And let's not forget your own energy expended to make it all happen. Don't get me wrong, the experiment is quite amazing and we do get more energy out than we put in (from the reaction). But keep in mind that this is only true if electricity alone is consumed and nothing else. As for searching on google, I was not looking for anything so why would I need to do a search? As for attitude, when you have all your ducks in a row, you too can have attitude... (as the they say in a song "Don't try to describe a KISS concert if you have never seen one") My point again: Pennies of extra energy at Dollars of cost is not overunity.

Message 6:
Tungsten costs ~$50 per metric ton.

Considering the relative inexpensiveness of the bulk metal (which is probably in powdered or > granulated form), I expect that bulk purchases of rod, wire, bar or other forms will be considerably cheaper than buying welding rods, which are simply the most convenient form of tungsten available to make a cathode with. The price of said rod is obviously dictated by market forces, not by the cost of the base metal. However, these matters are immaterial to the science behind plasma electrolysis and are instead of a manufacturing nature. As far as my own experiments are concerned, I am waiting on a step up transformer. When I am done I will have all my reviewed by some off list colleagues before I publish. It appears you want this material spoon-fed. Frankly, I don't have time to hand-hold someone who is so lazy they won't do a basic Google search *and* who on top of it all gives me attitude too boot.

Message 7:
If you want small quantities, tungsten powder is available for $8 a pound.\

This is the only listed price I've found on the net and is probably quite a bit higher than the market price, given the nature of the source. So I wouldn't be surprised if my initial assessment of bulk tungsten metal being $50 a metric ton as accurate. $50/ton is probably a price for a minimum 100 ton order off a bulk container ship, however...At any rate, if you want large quantities of tungsten stock then good luck on trying to find a price listed on the internet, say for a 10kg billet or 3m of 14mm diameter rod. You can't, because these items are usually sold in industrial quantities and the price probably fluctuates with the market spot price. You probably couldn't even buy those quantities if you wanted to and I expect most companies wouldn't bother with that small an order. This is because small quantities of formed tungsten (billet, bar, rod, wire) are simply not purchased by the general public except in the case of welding rod, there is no end user market for tungsten products except maybe for shotgun pellets for reloading. Tungsten is simply not used for tool stock, etc. as other materials are better suited.

Granted, tungsten is hard to work given the high melting temperature, but that's why it's usually sintered vs. melted & poured into various shapes; so industry has already found a solution to what would be the expensive energy requirements of working the metal. At any rate, the main impediment to the CFR (or any energy device) being put into practical production isn't the cost of materials, it's a dogmatic and entrenched scientific bureaucracy followed by entrenched energy production interests - and their lobbying groups

Message 8:
Thomas, the real cost you need to assess is the recycling cost of the electrodes. Sure the tungsten is expensive first time round, Subsequently, through, it should be cheaper to recycle it rather than dig it out of the ground again.Then again, maybe not, but worth debating.Note that the theoretical chemical energy released is exactly the energy required for recycling the tungsten. Pragmatic inefficiencies will, of course, increase the required energy. However, if recycling energy, including inefficiencies, is less than the energy released in the reactor, then we have net energy gain.

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