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NOTE: This article was written by members of CICAP, the Italian Committee for the Investigation of Claims on the Paranormal, in their magazine Query. New Energy Times has information that contradicts the Query authors' statements about the replication attempts at CERN and at Pavia.

 

Report of the Focardi Seminar
Authors: Query Staff
Source: Query Online
Translation from Italian by Domenico Pozzetti

May 16, 2011

On Wednesday, May 4th, during a workshop organized by Professor Adalberto Piazzolli at the Department of Nuclear and Theoretical Physics of Pavia University, Sergio Focardi recalled the path from the controversial discovery of alleged low-energy nuclear reactions between nickel and hydrogen to the meeting with Andrea Rossi and to the following development of E-Cat.

The starting point was in the first experiments at Siena University with Piantelli and others, during the mid-nineties, in which a production of anomalous heat and gamma rays and neutron emissions was noted from interaction between nickel and hydrogen; the results were published in two papers on the "Il Nuovo Cimento," the Italian Physics Society magazine.

Immediately, other research groups started to work and try to replicate the Focardi and Piantelli results; a group from CERN with Antonino Zichichi revealed, in the same "Il Nuovo Cimento", some random temperature increasing but not the anomalous heat and the radiations observed in Siena.

The same Piazzoli, that is also the vice-president of "skeptic society" or "committee for check on alleged supernatural claims" was member of a workgroup trying to replicate the Focardi-Piantelli results.

Even working closely with Focardi, they were not successful. The negative result of Pavia group was not published in a peer reviewed magazine but it is the topic of a dissertation thesis for a master degree in Physics. Piazzoli talks about this here.

Focardi then recalled that just from the first experiment in Bondeno in 2007 the reaction developed a macroscopic excess heat, apparently difficult to control and able to self-sustain even for the all night long without external input heat (input energy).

After that very first and rough experience (the prototype device was submerged in a water bucket laid on a barrel) other experiments followed as showed by Focardi, using previously unseen pictures of some devices developed by Rossi.


Focardi introduces the first attempt of E-Cat (Photo Credit: Query)


The reactor changed form more than once and it transformed itself from a device to be submerged in water to the present official version with running water configuration.

The detail that seem unchanged is the powder composition enclosed in the E-Cat core: nickel powder together with some secret ingredient added to catalyze the reaction and that, apparently, would have been present already in the first 2007 prototype

Focardi confirms that he does not know the nature of this mysterious catalyzer but he hints at something able to beak the molecular type of hydrogen into the mono-atomic one.

Unfortunately, the workshop, against the hopes of many of the public who were expecting evidence about a true "rebirth of cold fusion," or at least a discussion about possible theoretical explanation of the process, was disappointing, completely lacking experimental data, figures, drawings and technical details that many attending scientists were expecting.

During the discussion, urged (even harshly by some in the audience) to release some technical details about his hypothesis of explanation, Focardi again hypothesized about some kind of proton-nickel fusion reaction and consequent chain of copper decay, as described in the public report published on Rossi blog and on the patent application.

This answer arose indeed the skeptic reaction of all attending physicists that immediately started to write down calculations on all kinds of pieces of paper.

Such a reaction would have produced such a neutron flux and, mostly important, such a gamma radiation not to be completely screened by the thin layer of lead wrapped around the E-Cat, a radiation also excluded since the first demonstration in January.

Nevertheless the neutrons, even at small rate, should have been revealed in the Focardi Piantelli experiments of 1990s.

We are stucked at the same point: without an independent verification of energy production the E-Cat is only a fascinating hypothesis.

 

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