Brillouin Energy has made progress since the 2016 SRI report. The 2017 SRI report indicated that the reactions were at a few watts and fairly reliable coefficient of power (COP) of 1.2 to 1.4 and 2 to 3 watts of reaction heat. The 2017 SRI report showed 4 to 6 watts of reaction heat and COP of up to 1.6. Since that report, Brillouin is now at about 50 watts of input and 100 watt of output. The coefficient of power is currently claimed to be reliablly and consistently at 2 in their recent tests.
Above is Robert Godes holding a catalytic rod. They believe that sending many short electric pulses down the rods that they are producing the conditions that generate extra heat. There is a di-electric layer with appropriate materials.
Any coefficient of power over 1.0 is amazing or impossible for traditional chemistry. The systems are generating more power output than is input.
Brillouin Energy is working in the long process of developing what was called Cold Fusion and then was more accurately called low energy nuclear reactions (LENR).
Addressing the Elephants in the Room by Looking at the Controversial History
This is a reviewing of the controversial start and a quick run through of the history of LENR.
This started with the work of chemists in the 1980s. Martin Fleischmann of the University of Southampton and Stanley Pons of the University of Utah. They used heavy water and the electrolysis of Palladium. They produced heat and effects that were beyond chemistry. This was announced on commercial television and not at peer-reviewed journals before the TV announcement.
The case can also be made that a fully credible and funded cold fusion/LENR program would disrupt hundreds of millions per year for Government labs and universities working on hot fusion.
Pons and Fleischmann needed to not call it cold fusion. They should not have speculated that it was fusion before they had more evidence. However, they were just respected and knowledgeable chemists. They should have just said they had highly interesting tests with anomalous heat. It was anomalous relative to known chemistry and with conditions of temperature which should not bring other known forces based upon the known understanding of those fields.
Why the anger from scientists? I think it is because very smart people dropped important what they were doing to check out what was claimed to be cold fusion. They could not initially replicate what seemed like a simple recipe. These scientists were at the top of their fields in physics and nuclear energy and chemistry. They could not get the cold fusion souffle to rise. The scientists consider themselves experts.
The scientists believe either the initial work was sloppy or fraudulent. They are not entertaining the possibility that something more complex or that valid measurement were made of an inconsistent and complex phenomenon. The claimed cold fusion recipe had not been delivered via peer-reviewed papers. Bad recipes and mistakes get worked out via the regular recipe checking process of peer-review. Instead, Pons and Fleischmann went public in the science equivalent of the Home Shopping Network or late-night infomercials. The scientists felt burned. They gave something with a lot of hype a shot and when it do not return results after months of effort then the conclusion was that it was all bad and a waste of valuable time. This leaves the field tainted and the area can ruin reputations. The belief is that only fools or frauds would believe it or try to make it work.
Some products on Home Shopping Network and late-night infomercials can still work or they can have valid innovations. You will not get a lot of professionals going through and testing those products for actual innovations.
The Super Soaker actually has interesting technical innovations. Super-Soaker is a brand of recreational water gun that utilizes manually-pressurized air to shoot water with greater power, range, and accuracy than conventional squirt pistols. The Super Soaker was invented in 1982 by engineer Lonnie Johnson.
What if the Super-soaker had initial flaws and was not reliable out of the gate? The technology and engineering were not all worked out?
Why I Believe the Phenomena is Just More Complex and Insufficiently Studied
Many reports and follow up work indicate that the difficulty in replications was because of material dependent issues. The nickel and palladium needed to not have internal microcracks and other problems that prevented the required gas loading. The replication protocol was not understood for years and the material science was more complicated.
I have spoken directly to people who have worked on LENR with valid decades of background at research labs. They have described complexity with solid state effects, materials and nanomagnetics. Could they be wrong and have some of them been wrong? Yes.
Nextbigfuture decided many years ago that there are valid, difficult and complex problems and possibly worthwhile phenomena. I believe that there are honest researchers in the field. Many of them could have had better careers and made more money in other areas. Many have to truly believe that the phenomena exist to work in the scientific wilderness.
Rossi made huge claims in this field that were never fully substantiated and he never allowed any truly independent testing of his systems. Enough time and benefit of possible doubt have been provided to support a conclusion that Rossi made fraudulent claims. Rossie also committed and was arrested for fraud for production of oil from waste. Does this mean that area of biofuel and waste to fuel technology is all fraudulent? Biofuel may not be the best economic energy solution or technology and it can still generate pollution. However, there are honest people working on biofuels and biofuels is a valid area of investigation.
Randell Mills at Brilliant Light Power has repeatedly made huge claims and has NOT delivered products.
Japan Treats LENR as a Normal Science Field
The case in favor of this field is the peer-reviewed papers by Mizuno and others. Japan has been and remains far more open to a normal scientific inquiry in this area. The case for this being a valid field for inquiry is that Japan’s science and technology community has not dumped the field after three decades. Japan’s communities know all of the anti-cold fusion arguments but persist in the research and report interesting results and phenomena. There are test product evidence that indicate some kind of solid-state or lattice related nuclear activity has occurred.
This is an area which requires a balance of open-mindedness and skepticism. A lot of care is needed from the researchers and any investor.
Alternatively, you can just stick with non-controversial energy areas like solar, wind, nuclear fission, nuclear fusion and antimatter. Nextbigfuture covers all of those areas and there are many exciting projects and trends. However, there are failures in regular energy. I think the International Tokamak project is wasting many billions of dollars over 30 years. The ITER project was started by Ronald Reagan.
I believe in nuclear fusion programs but not every nuclear fusion project. I think the plug should be pulled on ITER. I can even like other tokamak projects. I like the Commonwealth Systems. Just because I think the approach is better does that mean Commonwealth Systems will succeed or not mistakes? Could they miss targets and deadlines? Yes. 90% of startups fail. We can miss deadlines a decades on a bridge after making thousands of bridges. Regular nuclear plants, hydro dams, solar projects can all miss deadlines and miss them badly on budget and time.
I believe in space and rockets but we should pull funding from Space Launch System.
There has been the Solyndra bankruptcy in solar energy, but I believe that solar energy has many uses. However, rooftop solar is far worse than nuclear power and does not work with the current energy grid.
We can achieve any of our energy goals with regular energy. Using an analogy of football, a team can win with a game plan of running the ball and a short passing game. Is it worth it to throw a long bomb pass attempt? There might be new physics or new science to be found in this work and it might be able to produce clean energy.
SRI Report Highlights – Related to Brillouin Energy
There were two SRI reports. There were reports in 2016 and 2017.
In 2016, the COP was about 1.3 and SRI results were about 2 watts.
This is a link to the 2017 SRI report.
Brillouin Energy Dec 2018 Status
They have already achieved over 4X Coefficient Of Performance (“COP” – achieving over 4.1X the electrical energy that is put into the reactor core (catalyst rod), in net LENR heat output) in a consistent, controllable and verifiable manner (repeatedly turning it on and off). Those 4X COP results were produced from a single core over the span of a two-week lab test in early 2015. This core was then damaged during further testing, due to an unanticipated electrical short from a faulty connection – not a problem with the core itself.
After analysis, Brillouin believes the superior performance was the result of a better thin film di-electric.
They are demonstrating thermostat control and increasing total wattage in outputs, and producing some COPs at higher operating temperatures (up to a utility grade 600°oC) – all important achievements. SRI’s LENR Research Program Emeritus Director has continued to verify the calorimetry of all of our latest COP results including our most recent crossing of the important 2X mark.
Because they now know what the missing materials characteristics are, they are proceeding with advanced engineering work to continue scaling our COPs, while separately continuing to improve our thermostat control and operating temperatures. Here is a graphic showing a string of increasing COP up to and then maintaining across several runs and in different test systems COP of 2+.
Because of the above engineering progress, they are confident of being able to build commercially viable prototype reactors that will produce at least in the repeatable, controlled 4X COP range (competitive) within the next 12 months, subject to raising at least the next $10 million of financing.
Their path forward involves building a facility to make their catalyst tubes. Currently, they have to send out for fabrication and it takes about 3 to 4 weeks with up to 5 transports between shops. If they have their own facility then they can test multiple variations on the tubes each day.
It is still experimentation to get to higher levels of power coefficients and to higher wattages.
Precision on Measurements Quote from Brillouin Energy
This is a statement in response to “what methodology and careful work has been performed by Brillouin to ensure confidence in the Coefficient of Power (COP) and heat measurements”.
“We are now using almost exclusively something called system Identification. This uses physical parameters of heat capacity, thermal resistance and time to model the calorimeter and then an AI type of process to determine the coefficients for each of the system out to the 4th order. The training data consists of three steps in all types of input power. Heater power on low for 1.5-time constants then adding low, medium, and higher levels of very low-frequency power through the catalyst 1.5-Time constants each, then bumping heater power two more times and same for low-frequency catalyst stimulation at each of the steps of heater power. To verify calibration we run a sinusoidal power on the heater and 5 sinusoidal excitations of the direct resistive heating of the catalyst. If the match is better than 98% then we consider the coefficients good to use for active runs.”
They Believe They Can go to the Consumer Market With Heaters
Brillouin believes that after a short period, where experiments are 30X faster that they will be
able to make a lot more progress on heat and wattages.
They believe that by reaching high levels of COP and wattages that they can get OEM’s to license the technology and take products to market in volumes that would take Brillouin Energy years to build. The OEM’s would get UL certification and just sell it as a heater under there brand name with a sticker with something to the effect of powered by Brillouin Energy in side. The COP greater than 1 would be a selling point and that capability would be used to lower the operating costs of the product.
A product producing 1500 watts of heat that uses 300 watts of electricity would successfully compete with Dyson heaters.
The system does not produce radiation. The claim is any reactions are happening in the solid materials or in the thin film layers.
Although the foundational science of what they are doing is highly controversial, the initial end
result cannot be explained with chemistry.
Brillouin needs to make products that are superior to the best existing products based upon conventional science and technology.
Would you fund a company to try to possibly decarbonize energy? Would you fund one that is working on a technological advantage using controversial science even though the experimental results have independent verification by SRI? The core technology is not done yet and the product design engineering phase has not been reached.
Is this approach to those markets worth the extra risk? Can they partner or get a plan on all the other steps to make a product? Do you believe in the ability of OEM’s to execute on this technology integration of the core technology?
The biggest issues are the what is really happening with the difference-making science and technology and is the progress expected reasonable based upon past trends. You would have to check the specific work that has been done, which Nextbigfuture has not performed.