January 31, 2011
Issue #36


Previous ArticleTable of ContentsNext Article
New Energy Times home page

22. Rossi and Focardi LENR Device: Reality or Scam?

(Portions previously published on the New Energy Times blog on Jan. 15)

By Steven B. Krivit

The latest buzz from LENR fans is about Andrea Rossi’s recent public demonstration at an industrial facility in Italy called Gm System, where a nickel-hydrogen low-energy nuclear reaction device purportedly produced excess heat.

We previously reported that the demonstration took place at the Physics Department of the University of Bologna, Italy. Rossi is not affiliated with the university, but his collaborator Sergio Focardi is a retired professor of physics from the university.

Andrea Rossi and Sergio Focardi

(Photo courtesy of il Resto del Carlino)

Rossi-Focardi Apparatus

(Photo Credit: Daniele Passerini)

The original nickel-hydrogen LENR research was developed by Francesco Piantelli, of Siena, Italy. Piantelli was not involved in the recent Rossi demonstration. I have visited Piantelli twice in his lab, and many of the images on the New Energy Times home page are photos I took there.

Melted nickel cathode from Piantelli Ni-H LENR experiment. (Photo Credit: S.B. Krivit)

In July 2008, New Energy Times #29, I reported in great depth on the virtue of the Piantelli et al. nickel-hydrogen LENR research in two articles: "Deuterium and Palladium Not Required" and "Piantelli-Focardi Publication and Replication Path."

I reported how the group’s papers had been published in prestigious peer-reviewed journals and how they successfully responded to challenges by skeptics at CERN, the European center for high-energy physics research. I reported how this experimental design offered liberation from palladium and deuterium. Furthermore, this type of experiment had produced far more energy (heat), not merely power, than many other LENR experiments to date.

Many American LENR researchers were skeptical, I suspect because successful Ni-H LENR technology would make their palladium-deuterium research projects irrelevant. Ni-H also, of course, disproves the hypothesis of “cold fusion,” which is bad news for some LENR researchers.

Piantelli told me that he has known for many years that this type of experiment is inexplicable by the “cold fusion” hypothesis, He is well aware of the abundant heavy-element transmutations he and his colleagues have seen.

Eventually, a few Americans quietly began asking for my assistance to make contact with Piantelli, probably because he is a hard man to reach. I do not know whether they succeeded. American Michael Melich, affiliated with the Naval Postgraduate School and with the Naval Research Laboratory, is on Rossi’s team of advisers.

For the last year or so, Rossi has been pumping the Web and rumor mill with bold claims, distributing documents with serious ambiguities, and appearing to sell a questionable energy device. This is concerning because the underlying technology and potential energy is real and important.

Andrea Rossi

Photo Credit: Daniele Passerini

Rossi has promoted himself on a blog site that, at a glance, gives the misleading impression that the site represents a Journal of Nuclear Physics, but this is deceptive. There once was a Russian Journal of Nuclear Physics, but this no longer exists. The Rossi site also, at a glance, gives the misleading impression that the site has a broad purpose, as a journal of nuclear physics would, but a closer look reveals that the site is for the near-exclusive promotion of Rossi's work.

I cannot state anything with confidence about the Rossi and Focardi work. However, I have examined, in scientific papers and experimental data by Piantelli, the claims of excess heat, evidence of nuclear emissions and transmutations to my satisfaction.

What has occurred now? Has Rossi developed a functional understanding of this LENR system? I think he has.

But the time-honored question to ask in all situations like this is, What is the total energy balance? Anybody who gets excited about this public demonstration without such information is vulnerable to deception. The next questions to ask are, Exactly how has the energy been measured? And by whom?

A power measurement – without the total energy balance – is virtually meaningless. Without answers to these questions, this experiment and demonstration could easily be a scam. Sadly, I have been a first-hand witness to deceptions.

The red flags with Rossi have been up for months.

In October 2010, a New Energy Times reader in Italy sent the following to me:

“I imagine you are aware that Rossi’s patent [application] [pdf] has been [partially] rejected [pdf] in a preliminary report by the patent examiner. Piantelli also published a new WIPO patent [application] a few months ago too.

“I wish Rossi well in his endeavors although I also feel he’s claiming as an invention merely the scaling up of Piantelli’s pioneering work. Any working devices ought to be good news for mankind regardless [of] who discovered what first. If anything works, we will all get some share of the glory (and perhaps profits?).”

Today, another New Energy Times reader in Italy sent the following to me:

“Pay close attention to Andrea Rossi; he has a dirty past. Twenty years ago he was arrested for illegal importing of gold from the Swiss.

“Not only that, but in the 1980s he was involved in a scam with industrial waste. It is a complex thing to explain, but the scam cost the Lombardy region € 25 million. He honestly does not convince me as a person, and I am not convinced about the test done at Bologna today.

“Check this link: http://it.wikipedia.org/wiki/Petroldragon

“In friendship, I suggest you be careful, I smell something burning.”

According to the link, in 1995, Rossi was jailed for conspiracy to engage in tax fraud for his involvement in a business that was trading precious materials between Switzerland and Italy.

Rossi responded to my initial blog posting. His comment is here. I found his comment that his "process has nothing to do with the process of Piantelli" surprising.

After watching the boom and bust of Russ George’s promised 1 kiloWatt fusion-powered heater and the millions of dollars lost by small investors to Innovative Energy Solutions Inc., I have learned to approach such promotions with care.

Rossi also provided a link to his own version of the Petroldragon story. It said that he worked to turn waste into liquid fuels, developed a thriving business, then suddenly was shut down by the government.

According to Rossi, the government designated his business a toxic waste producer, fined him, placed numerous bureaucratic impediments in his way, seized his assets, and forced him into bankruptcy.

His said that, for 17 years, he endured a staggering 56 court trials and is still paying off his debts.

According to Rossi, the charges against him resulted from his financial difficulties, his bankruptcy and the closing of two of his companies. He said that 51 trials ended with his acquittal.

The remaining five trials ended with convictions, according to Rossi. He said that the judicial system used the convictions to justify the fact that he had already served time in jail. Rossi said that he is the victim of persecution.

Despite the government crackdown, Rossi said, former customers who were using his liquid fuel testified in his favor even though they were cited for damages by the government for their association with him.

Related Links:

Account and Photos by Daniele Passerini 
il Resto del Carlino story


Previous ArticleTable of ContentsNext Article