24 years ago or so Pons and Fleischmann made a big splash with claims of Cold Fusion, ie using simple electrochemical cells generating excess heat beyond what could be explained by chemical energy.
This caused quite a controversy and after a few years the furor died down and it seemed like Cold Fusion was largely discredited. At the time my Dad was a commodities trader and I bought Pd futures and made a few hundred dollars by riding it up and most of the way back down.
You may believe me or not but this is what I now believe...
The Pons and Fleischmann effect is real. (here after called PFE)
To this day we still do not understand what is going on, replicating the PFE requires Pd of specific structure, and unknown contaminates. A number of cases have been shown where a specific Pd rod that works in one lab will work in a different lab with different apparatus. Just plain unscreend Pd works about 5% of the time. Pre screening the Pd for high D-Pd loading ratios without Pd swelling can reduce this ratio to about 33%, ie if a Pd rod will absorb > 0.95 D for each Pd atom without swelling and cracking the odds of it demonstrating the PFE is 30% or better.
Whatever is happening it does not generate neutrons expected of traditional hot fusion., and is probably not traditional fusion. There have been a large number of theories presented, none of them presently fit all of the facts, so we effectively have no theory. Over 60K peer reviewed papers have been written about High temp superconductivity and we have no theory there either, so if science was functioning properly this lack of theory should not be a total block to progress.
I think one of the pathological failures was calling it Cold fusion, because it's probably not fusion in the traditional sense. Much more likely to be some path following the weak force rather than the strong force...Also there is now a growing body of evidence that whatever is going on can happen in regular water and ni, so some of the early "dead" experiments that were used to prove an instrumentation error were later found to be lower grade PFE reactions on their own.
Another body of evidence also shows that the Pd needs to have some "Stuff" plated on it to work really well, P+F were a tiny bit sloppy about contamination, so when it came time to replicate the more meticulous the lab the less chance they had of replication. Its also been shown that most of the successful replications from the time of early P+F all came from the same batch of Pd rod all contaminated with a few ppm of Rhodium and other trace elements.
Some of the experiments show that it takes 100hrs+ to load a Pd rod enough for it to turn on... again it does not help replication....
My Friend Dave W, says its sort of like the story: I've been told that if I put a bent piece of shiny metal and small bit of wire on the end of a string and dip it in water I can pull up free food. I've been doing in my lab with sterilized string and distilled water for three weeks and still no food....
We clearly don't know what we are missing...
An ideal energy source that runs off of water is too good to be true and it attracted a bunch of scammers eager to make a buck. These scammers did not do the real scientists any favors. I'm still not convinced that the most notorious of the lot Rossi is not a scammer/huckster.
I am convinced that the Navy SPAWAR lab, SRI, briillion, Ed Storms, Toyota and others have done very careful science, addressing every issue brought up in opposition to their results and have proven to me beyond a doubt that there is a PFE and there is science here we don't understand.
So all the scientists with a desire to be accepted by other scientists have worked very hard doing careful Calorimetry running experiments lasting 100's of hours proving that the result can't be chemical.
A properly done long term calorimitry experiment is the gold standard of proving its not a chemical effect....
If your experiment takes 100hrs to complete then its really hard to do fast cyclical testing.
Each sample you try is a major commitment of time and care.
My idea is this, accept the PFE is real. Try lots and lots of samples and screen for it.
Don't wiat 100hrs to toss a sample that is not working. Toward that end I've built a tiny little stainless reaction chamber that I can heat and pressurize with H or D and stimulate the sample with RF or electrical pulses ... (the system is 50 ohms up to and back out of the sample chamber.) I've got an fast reading 15msec IR pyrometer with a tiny spot size that I can use to measure the instantaneous temperature of the sample, so if some stimulation causes the sample to "go" I don't have to wait hours to know what I just did.
(The IR pyrometer looks through a sapphire window rated for the temps and pressures I expect)
I want to try dozens of samples a day, try 1000's of possible stimulation....
I also have 4 wire restive measurement of the sample and a large pancake style GM tube to detect any radiation form the experiment.
A picture inside the reactor the depression holds an alumina plate and the ceramic feed through on both sides are 50 ohms up to the wall, and with 0.016 thick wire the plate is the right thickness for 50 ohms.
Both sides of the reactor with the sapphire sample window visible.
The reactor inside its heater jacket with thermocouples attached, the PID controller holds a constant temperature. Design operating point is 300 PSI and 600C with SF of 3.0. You can see the IR pyrometer lying on its side next to the reactor, I still need to fabricate an adjustable support to make it peer through the window.
I'm building a LENR wind tunnel, the samples will be tiny and useless, but if they generate excess power above the chambers elevated temperature I'll know quickly and hope to be able to optimize to maximize the effect. in the next day or two I'll organize my pictures of the reactor and test equipment and post it all here...
I'm on my second revision of the reactor, the first revision was a bit too clunky to assemble and disassemble, the current version seems much easier.
In this same theme I'm going to the ICCF-18 in July...