Scientists revisit the cold case of cold fusion

According to a report in the University of British Columbia press, a group of scientists from the University of British Columbia, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the University of Maryland, the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, and Google are conducting a multi-year investigation into cold fusion, a type of benign nuclear reaction hypothesized to occur in benchtop apparatus at room temperature.  We only know about this research because a progress report published in Nature publicly disclosed the group’s collaboration for the first time.

Although back in the late 80s, cold fusion developed a reputation for being something of a scientific fraud, in an era where climate change threatens our very existence, it makes sense not leave any stone unturned in the search for possible modes of generating clean energy.  We thus applaud this current effort to revisit the original claims and seek to ascertain whether or not there could be anything to them.

As the group wrote about their intention:  we came together in 2015 to determine how to produce reliable and accessible experimental data to better inform the polarizing debate about cold fusion that has simmered for three decades.” This seems like a good idea so as to finally put to bed—whether valid or invalid—the claims made back in 1989 that “thermal energy produced during electrolysis of heavy water using a palladium cathode exceeded the energy accounted for by the input electricity and all known chemical processes.

To learn more, read the full perspective in Nature: Revisiting the cold case of cold fusion,” Curtis P. Berlinguette (UBC), Yet-Ming Chiang (MIT), Jeremy N. Munday (UMD), Thomas Schenkel (Berkeley Lab), David K. Fork, Ross Koningstein and Matthew D. Trevithick (Google).


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