Source: EV World
EV World Podcast
Interview of: Dennis Bushnell, Chief Scientist of NASA Langley
Host: J. William Moore
Transcribed by: Steven B. Krivit
[Partial Transcript of Podcast, Excerpts on Low-Energy Nuclear Reactions]
[This transcript is Copyleft 2011 New Energy Times. Permission is granted to reproduce this text as long as the text, this notice and the publication information are included in their entirety and no changes are made to this text.]
"J. William Moore: I’d like to [look at] some of the [energy alternatives] that you think look most promising from your perspective.
Dennis Bushnell: The most interesting, and promising, at this point, in the farther term, but maybe not so far, is low-energy nuclear reactions. This has come out of  years of people producing energy but not knowing what it is — and we think we have a theory on it. It’s producing beta decay and heat without radiation. The research on this is very promising and it alone, if it comes to pass, would literally solve both [the] climate and energy [problems.]
MOORE: I find it extremely exciting that there might be something here, so what is it that you think is going on at the atomic level here?
BUSHNELL: Let me back up a little. [Stanley] Pons and [Martin] Fleischmann came out with an experiment that they labeled “cold fusion” about 22 years ago which had replication issues at the time. Also, all of the fusion theorists came out and said absolutely “This is not fusion.” And, of course, they were exactly correct, this is not fusion.
They’ve gone through 20 years of massive experimentation worldwide, in almost every country, where they’ve been able to produce this effect. But all of the energy produced by these “cold fusion” experiments over the last 22 years didn’t produce enough heat to boil water for tea. So people didn’t get too interested in it and nobody knew what it was.
Back in 2005, 2006, [Allen] Widom [and Lewis] Larsen came out with a theory that said, no it’s not “cold fusion,” it’s weak interactions using the Standard Model of quantum mechanics, only the weak interaction part. It says that if you set up one of the cells, and you don’t have to use deuterium, hydrogen works fine, nickel works fine and you don’t need palladium.
If you set this up you produce an electron – proton connection producing ultra-weak neutrons and if you have the right targets out there you produce beta-decay which produces heat.
At that point, in 2006, 2007 we became interested and started setting up a set of experiments that we’re just about ready to start finally, where we’re trying to experimentally validate this Widom-Larsen theory to find out whether or not it explains what’s going on. And in the process, we used quantum theory to optimize the particular surface morphologies to do this.
Then, as you mentioned, in January of this year [Andrea] Rossi, backed by [Sergio] Focardi, who had been working on this for many years, and in fact doing some of the best work worldwide, came out and did a demonstration first in January, they re-did it in February, re-did it in March, where for days they had one of these cells, a small cell, producing in the 10 to 15 kW range which is far more than enough to boil water for tea. And they say this is weak interaction, it’s not fusion.
So I think were almost over the “We don’t understanding it” problem. I think we’re almost over the “This doesn’t produce anything useful” problem. And so I think this will go forward fairly rapidly now. And if it does, this is capable of, by itself, completely changing geo-economics, geopolitics of solving quite a bit of [the] energy [problem.]
MOORE: I think this was either last week or the week before last, I ran a story on this. I went and took a look at it – they were using hydrogen and nickel, I believe, using hydrogen gas and putting that into this device. In looking at the video and photographs, it looks to be about the size of a fist and that thing was running from about 10:45 in the morning till about 4:30 when they finally turned it off — and generating, I forget exactly what it was — but it was a significant amount of energy in the form of steam.
BUSHNELL: It produces heat and did so for days and was in the 12 or 14 kW range and they [will be] producing, with a large number of these devices, a 1 MW power plant.
MOORE: That’s a pretty exciting thing. Do you think that this theory that was developed — are these NASA scientists that were working on that theory?
BUSHNELL: No, the theory was developed by Widom and Larsen. Widom is a faculty member and teacher at Northeastern and Larsen has a company in Chicago.
MOORE: So that looks promising and so you can take and generate steam, and of course, that’s what a nuclear reactor or coal-fired power plant is all about. They’re just there to produce steam and turn a turbine and produce power.
BUSHNELL: Once you’ve got heat, you can do everything. We looked at using LENR to power a space-access rocket and it had better performance conceptually than a conventional nuclear thermal rocket.
MOORE: Wow! Exciting."
The full audio interview can be listened to here