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Page added on July 29, 2014

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The Peak Oil Crisis: The SunCell

Alternative Energy

Last week Randell Mills, the CEO of BlackLight Power, gave his second public demonstration and briefing in a month on the progress his organization is making in developing a new source of energy. This new source is based on converting the hydrogen in water into a lower energy form of hydrogen which Mills calls a hydrino.

The conversion takes place when a tiny quantity of water inside a metallic powder is zapped with a jolt of high amperage electricity and a small detonation takes place as the hydrogen in the water is turned into hydrinos accompanied by the release of large amounts of energy mostly in the form of light. As the metallic powder which acts as a catalyst for the reaction is not changed during the detonation, it can be reused indefinitely after the addition of more water. A rough analogy to Mill’s device might be an internal combustion engine which initiates thousands of small explosions per minute to produce pressure which turns a crankshaft. In Mill’s device the thousands of tiny detonations produce mostly light which can be turned into electricity by photovoltaic cells.

The claims that Mill’s makes in his latest presentation are quite extraordinary and would bring about major changes in the manner the world produces its energy once the claims are fully verified and reliable production devices developed. Mills says that after 20-some years of R&D his discoveries are now ready to be turned into commercially useful devices which will produce electricity using water as the consumable fuel, without any form of pollution or hazardous waste, and at a cost of less than 1 cent per kilowatt hour.

If this science/technology proves out, it would take the world’s electric power, transportation, and many other industries about a nanosecond to adopt cheap, non-polluting devices that run on water rather than fossil fuels. Obviously the implications of such a technology would be without precedent for it could completely eliminate harmful emissions from the combustion of fossil fuels, allow inexpensive desalination of water, provide increasing food production, and ameliorate many other global problems. This disruption of the existing order would also be massive for coal, gas, and oil would no longer be needed except as petrochemical feed stocks; the electric grid could disappear or change radically; and buildings could become self-contained with gas, water, electricity, and sewage service no longer needed.
The key question which we should all be asking is whether Mills and his new source of energy is — a scam? Totally nuts? A case of inventor over-optimism? And finally can we really expect to see this technology come into widespread use in our lifetimes or at least in time to stop global warming and compensate for declining fossil fuel production?

There are several issues to be considered in answering this question. If we are really about to see a completely new source of energy emerge from so many years of R&D, why has this received close-to-zero coverage in the media? Is the underlying science of Mill’s technology, a new form of hydrogen, for real or, as many say, a misinterpretation of data or wishful thinking?

To understand the reluctance of the media to engage with this story it is important to understand that Mills’ assertion that another form of hydrogen exists undercuts some teachings of mainstream physics, especially quantum mechanics, and of chemistry. Call nearly any credentialed scientist, and he or she will tell you that hydrinos can’t possibly exist. The Wikipedia entry on Mills and his hydrino recounts a litany of various distinguished scientists denouncing the theory as rubbish from the day Mills first proposed it back in 1991. Some went so far as persuade the Patent Office to cancel Mills’ patent on the grounds that a lower energy form of hydrogen could not possibly exist.

Another aspect to all this was the cold fusion furor of 25 years ago which still makes mainstream media editors shy of grappling with controversial issues that are too technical for most to understand. The bottom line is that there is no evidence proving that Mills’ hydrinos do not exist, there are simply people saying that based on what they have heard or what other scientists are saying, it contradicts current scientific understanding about the nature of the atom.

There is really no need for any of us to accept or reject Mills’ assertions or those of his detractors at this point. The definitive validation of this technology will come only when Mills can demonstrate a device that takes in small amounts of water and sends out commercial amounts of electricity. As with the Wright Brothers flying machine or the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, all arguments as to the validity of the technology will cease.

When will we see a working device? Actually, Mills already has one — the BlackLight Power website contains numerous videos of laboratory prototypes zapping water to flash electric lights. To some these demonstrations are a proof of the concept, if you believe that Mills is telling the truth about what he has developed. If you don’t, then demonstrations and videos of them are meaningless as they are easily faked. Arguing about this gets us nowhere.

On July 21, Mills announced that the system engineering for a complete electric generator design has been completed and that his engineering contractor estimates that it will take another 16-18 weeks to build a small 100 kW generator using his technology. We all know that R&D inevitably takes longer than initial estimates so that if a working electric generator emerges for public demonstration, it could be 18 months or more rather than 18 weeks. Mills however claims that every engineer who has looked at the design for a working prototype, which will largely be built from off-shelf-technology, foresees no particular technical difficulties. This says that if Mills and his hydrinos are for real, then we should be seeing the proof, which would validate the technology beyond question, in weeks or months rather than years or decades.
Until we can see a working prototype that can be subjected to independent tests, it is best to keep an open mind on this and other exotic sources of energy. At the same time it is important to remember that just what is at stake could have a major impact on human civilization. If Mills’ hydrinos or similar exotic technologies turn out to be valid, the world will start to change rapidly – hopefully for the better.

FCNP



24 Comments on "The Peak Oil Crisis: The SunCell"

  1. redpill on Tue, 29th Jul 2014 7:58 pm 

    This “process” may do something, but it sure as shit is not producing power at a net cost of $0.01/KWh.

    From Power Engineering Magazine:
    “The technology uses water-based fuel and applies a current of 12,000 amps, igniting flashes of power.”

    F me, @120V (don’t know what V their using) that’s 1.44MW of input. So, at typical input costs, for them to get net energy down to 1cent/KWh means they are making the hunt for fusion power a chumps game.

  2. PrestonSturges on Tue, 29th Jul 2014 8:04 pm 

    As I always say, if you have a new source of limitless energy, SELL THE ENERGY and quit trying to convince investors about the power source.

    If you have a machine that makes gold, you would not sell the machine, you would SELL THE GOLD.

  3. Davy on Tue, 29th Jul 2014 8:12 pm 

    Preston, exactly, if this Cat has the goods why seek the press coverage. Make it happen and start selling power like crazy. When I hear this kind of talk it is a quick giveaway for a hoax or the equivalent of a fancy high school chemistry experiment. Also, if it is truly a breakthrough the US military would be on it like stink on poop.

  4. Harquebus on Tue, 29th Jul 2014 8:13 pm 

    Sounds like it takes energy to make energy. What is the EROEI? How does this process get around the laws of thermodynamics?
    I am very skeptical about this one.

  5. Makati1 on Tue, 29th Jul 2014 8:35 pm 

    “…Until we can see a working prototype that can be subjected to independent tests, it is best to keep an open mind on this…”

    But, articles like this adds fuel to the cornucopian ‘BAU forever” gang. And gets the suckers, with a few bucks to ‘invest’, salivating.

    Without even knowing the details, it appears to violate several natural laws and be a net loss of energy across the whole system. There are no true energy renewables other than direct sunlight on plants and water.

  6. peakyeast on Wed, 30th Jul 2014 4:03 am 

    It sure sounds like hogwash.

    No details that could validate any claim. No numbers that could verify anything. Its the same as the Cold Fusion Claim. Things that do not need to be hidden is hidden – mainly because they would expose the hoax.

    A lot of rubbish overly spiced with tech-babble so people with little taste cant discern the shit within.

  7. Kevin Cobley on Wed, 30th Jul 2014 5:49 am 

    I’m selling dilithium anybody want any?

  8. westexas on Wed, 30th Jul 2014 6:01 am 

    Preston,

    As you implied, if one claims to have a machine that makes gold, but it actually won’t, then one would try to sell the machine, and not the gold.

  9. Beery on Wed, 30th Jul 2014 7:15 am 

    Guys, don’t criticize e-cats on this site – you’ll get yourselves banned. The only thing the mods dislike more than e-cat criticism is criticism of religion.

    E-cats may one day produce energy. Hail Jesus.

  10. ronpatterson on Wed, 30th Jul 2014 7:57 am 

    More free energy schemes from Tom Whipple. He has been on this kick for years. Pity.

  11. Pops on Wed, 30th Jul 2014 8:16 am 

    Beery on Wed, 30th Jul 2014 7:15 am (Edit)

    “Guys, don’t criticize e-cats on this site – you’ll get yourselves banned. The only thing the mods dislike more than e-cat criticism is criticism of religion.
    E-cats may one day produce energy. Hail Jesus.”

    Bullshit.

  12. JuanP on Wed, 30th Jul 2014 8:43 am 

    Ron, I, too, have been disappointed by Tom’s turn to magic. I used to look forward to reading his articles at FCNP, but lately they’ve been hard to read. I spared myself from reading this one thanks to the title and comments. Saw it coming!

  13. Perk Earl on Wed, 30th Jul 2014 9:56 am 

    “As the metallic powder which acts as a catalyst for the reaction is not changed during the detonation, it can be reused indefinitely after the addition of more water.”

    Now that’s spinning a yarn! That’s how it’s done folks to draw in the non scientists to invest and retire early. String enough of those pearls together and you can have it made on your own tropical island.

  14. Chris Hill on Wed, 30th Jul 2014 10:49 am 

    It can be hard sometimes to face the fact that we have, as yet, found no way out of the predicament we are in. I’m sure this bothers some way more than others.

  15. shortonoil on Wed, 30th Jul 2014 10:59 am 

    If a person, organization, or company were to develop a technology that had the potential to make obsolete the entire world’s petroleum, and electrical utilities industries their life expectancy could be measured in micro-seconds.

    In the event that anyone should accidentally discover such a process, or machine head to the absolute furthest deserted atoll on the planet, dig a foxhole and set up a 50 caliper machine gun. You might make through the first night.

  16. J-Gav on Wed, 30th Jul 2014 11:18 am 

    They forgot to mention the most important part of the whole process. Just before hitting the power switch, liberally sprinkle pixie dust all over the sucker!

  17. mo on Wed, 30th Jul 2014 12:14 pm 

    Goat glans guys, goat glans

  18. AlainCo (@alain_co) on Wed, 30th Jul 2014 3:23 pm 

    what is funny is that Mills and BLP succeed in interesting media with a fringe theory, loose demo, no delivery for 20 years, while more serious competitors like Cherokee/Rossi, Brillouin/SRI are nearly ignored…

    media re strange.

    evidence for them have clearly no value.

  19. AlainCo (@alain_co) on Wed, 30th Jul 2014 3:49 pm 

    @shortonoil

    shell is already researching on LENR, and similar big corps are ready to participate.

    as you say they are afraid to devastate their current market where they make money.
    but they also know that whatever they do it will happen.
    they need a group, an ecosystem where they can work with partners, to develop various services and technologies, share risks…

    their approache is decribed in that article
    http://www.lenr-forum.com/forum/index.php/Thread/48-Interview-de-Michel-Vandenberghe-de-LENR-Cities-Ca-avance-Vers-un-%C3%A9cosyst%C3%A8me-LEN/

    it looks strange, but I know they are not far from real initiation of their core ecosystem.
    even Cherokee will look like an outsider if the good guys are in the ecosystem, even without any technology yet working…

    you raised a key point, that company alone cannot disrupt they core market.

  20. AlainCo (@alain_co) on Wed, 30th Jul 2014 3:50 pm 

    oops the link is in french, english version there
    http://www.lenr-forum.com/forum/index.php/Thread/49-Interview-with-Michel-Vandenberghe-of-LENR-Cities-moving-forward-Towards-a-Europ/?postID=96#post96

    I hope more after the summer vacation.

  21. Jimmy on Wed, 30th Jul 2014 10:15 pm 

    Here comes Tom Whipple again, the retired “CIA analyst” shilling for another version of the ‘never ending porridge pot’.

    Whipple is a joke. As usual!

  22. Jimmy on Wed, 30th Jul 2014 10:21 pm 

    This tripe is nothing but click bait.
    If it wasn’t for jokes like this for people to laugh at fcnp wouldn’t get many clicks. No clicks, no hits. No hits, no advertising.

    http://scientopia.org/blogs/goodmath/2011/12/29/hydrinos-impressive-free-energy-crackpottery/

  23. karellan on Thu, 31st Jul 2014 11:49 am 

    I stopped reading as soon as I saw the word “hydrinos.” Oh yeah, that old crap. Hydrinos don’t exist, folks.

  24. Becktemba on Fri, 1st Aug 2014 4:15 pm 

    Countdown clock for Blacklight powers first commercial prototype:
    http://tinyurl.com/l4akelg

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