Transcript of ABC’s “Good Morning America” program, June 11, 1997
Charlie Gibson (announcer): A little more than a year ago, we introduced you to an inventor who had come up with something getting a lot of attention. But its promise to transform our lives was tempered by the fact that it seemed to defy the laws of physics. Well, we got a tremendous response to that story that we did, and our science editor Michael Guillen is back with an update on this device and its creator.
Michael Guillen: Big time response: we get letters all the time about this guy. He is Dr. James Patterson – who we introduced last year. Seventy five years old, an inventor with 150 patents under his belt, including one for this little device, which he calls the Patterson Power Cell. It’s really simple in concept. You have two electrodes here which you attach to electricity, you zap it with electricity, all the while you flush it with salt water, Charlie. But at the heart of the power cell are those little beads. Can you see them in there? I’ve taken some out and put them on the plate. [Camera zooms in to plate.] Okay, these are his little beads. They are plastic coated with various layers of metal. There is a lot going on in those beads! And even though this device doesn’t look like a lot, Charlie, as you are about to see, it has come a long way in the last year.
[Film clip begins]
Man fishing: You got that one, you got that one, alright . . .
MG: Last year, when we first met Dr. Patterson, he was either out on the water fishing, or in his old garage tinkering. Hard to imagine anything earthshattering happening here. Yet today that old garage is a full-fledged modern laboratory, and Dr. Patterson is more optimistic than ever that his device will one day make fossil fuels obsolete.
James Patterson: We are getting nuclear energy output without the nuclear radiation byproducts.
James Reding: Michael, let me show you our hot water heater prototype.
MG: Oh, that’s great!
MG (voiceover): Three years ago, young Jim Reding left Wall Street to market his grandfather’s invention.
JR: Well, here it is. This device is producing more energy than it is consuming. In fact it is fifty percent more efficient than what people have in their homes today.
MG: This thing is really cooking! That’s steam. Now, when will this be available for the consumers to buy?
JR: We expect the device will be available two to four years from today.
MG: So, right around the turn of the century?
JR: That’s what we hope.
MG (voiceover): During the last year, Patterson’s little beads have led to a huge surprise. Not only do they produce heat. It turns out, they also neutralize radioactivity.
JP: This is the cell system down here . . .
MG: It sounds like such an amazing development, the company is attracting big name scientists, like Norm Olsen. He traveled all the way from Hanford, Washington, where the government stores billions of gallons of high level radioactive waste.
Norman Olsen: If this technology works out as advertised, it means we could significantly reduce the radioactivity of nuclear waste in the United States, and the world.
MG: But does it work as advertised? We decided to put it to the test.
JP: What I have in this cup is radioactive uranium in a water medium.
MG: And that’s what’s sending that Geiger going crazy, right?
MG: So the idea is that the radioactive material will then flow through your device, and actually remove the radioactivity?
MG: I don’t believe it. Go ahead and push the button. Let’s see if it works. (Laughs.)
MG (voiceover during time lapse shot): The experiment began at high noon, with the Geiger counter registering well over 300. But by speeding up the video, you can see that after a couple of hours, the radioactivity was cut down by more than half – a reduction that would take billions of years to happen naturally.
NO: I am really encouraged by what I have just seen. Our plan now would be to take it back to Hanford Labs, test it out under controlled circumstances, and fully prove it. And go as far as we can go with it.
JP: I am doing something very good for society. I am accomplishing something for society. This gets me up early in the morning. In fact, it interferes with my fishing . . . [video clip of fishing]
[Return to studio]
CG: Alright, so you send electricity through this, and these little beads produce more electricity [sic] than you send through.
MG: Yeah, a hundred to a thousand times more at its maximum output. But with this hot water heater they are developing – by the way, they partnered up with the world’s largest hot water heater manufacturer – they are not so concerned about hundreds or thousands of times more energy, they are more concerned about it lasting a long time. So it is only producing about 120% more energy than it is consuming.
[Note: I believe this means total output is 2.2 times input; excess is 1.2 x input.]
CG: Is there something here?
MG: I find it intriguing. You know, I am skeptical in the sense, Charlie, that I am curious, critical, but I am not close minded. And what is interesting is that last week, they attended the American Nuclear Society [conference] which is the conservative bastion of nuclear physics, and the device was very well received. They have been invited to next years conference. Motorola, Westinghouse, the Department of Energy, are all showing big time interest. Southern California Edison, Long Island (?) Lighting, are all beating a path to their door. It is a story we are going to keep track of.