Italian Inventors Enter ‘Cold Fusion’ Arena


An “Energy Catalyzer” is the new item on the energy frontier at the time of this writing. Italian engineer Andrea A. Rossi and Professor Sergio Focardi of the University of Bologna announced a technology for a reaction that produces excess heat—at low cost and in quantities that would make it commercially useful. It involves a catalytic reaction be­tween nickel, hydrogen, and some secret elements, but they avoid calling it “cold fusion.” At this time it looks like the Italians do have a viable technology that uses commonly available materials, doesn’t produce carbon dioxide, doesn’t produce radioactive waste, and will be economical to build.

Will their government support their venture, or at least refrain from interfering? As reported on Rossi’s website and by researcher Sepp Hasslberger, the Italian inventor already knows what happens to an energy-related technolo­gy that vested interests consider disruptive to their profits. In the 1970s and 1980s Rossi was building garbage dispo­sal facilities that burned household garbage and used the recovered heat. He also learned how to turn garbage into fuel that could be burned in the same way as coal, oil and gas. By 1989 his company, Petroldragon, was making 20 tons of fuel oil a day. Then the attacks began.

Government bureaucrats began by taxing his fuel as if he was producing alcohol, making his fuel extremely expen­sive. Perhaps they feared loss of some fuel-tax revenue, but the tax rate they hit Rossi with was overkill. Rossi fought the unjust tax, and then the bureaucracy ramped up the level of challenge. The bureaucrats claimed that the garbage stockpile in his factory wasn’t raw material for his process but instead was a fraudulent attempt to hide and treat tox­ic garbage. He of course had no license for toxic garbage because he wasn’t doing that.

So instead of being thanked and encouraged for trying to produce an ecologically sustainable fuel that didn’t come from petroleum deposits, Rossi was imprisoned on trumped up charges. Later, after one of his companies was forced into bankruptcy, he was again imprisoned—for not paying his creditors.

Despite those traumatic experiences, it seems that he is one of those relentless inventors who doesn’t give up. His Energy Catalyzer doesn’t involve burning fuel. Only a tiny amount of hydrogen gas is consumed, which indicates a low energy nuclear reaction, not hydrogen combustion. Rossi and Focardi’s announcement didn’t bring much positive attention from the mainstream media. In January those institutions either stayed away from the story or gave it the usual misleading spin. For instance, in referring to the 1989 announcement in which electrochemists Stanley Pons and Martin Fleishmann claimed to have demonstrated cold fusion, recently wrote “but their experiment could not be reproduced.” That was true only for a matter of months around 20 years ago. However what I consider the most outrageous un­truth in the PhysOrg article is this: “Since then, all other claims of cold fusion have been illegitimate.”

Whoever wrote that hadn’t done their homework. All the writer had to do was to go to a serious website such as and see the huge collection of published scientific papers from laboratories around the world, many announcing excess heat and even transmutation—changing one element into another.

The Fleischmann/Pons effect did indeed stretch accepted science beyond what was known about fusion, and pre­stigious hot-fusion laboratories did fail to reproduce the effect during the months after the announcement, but is the media stuck back in 1989? Over the years the Fleischmann/Pons process has been replicated hundreds of times with variations. I’m fed up with knee-jerk journalists repeating the so-called received wisdom. For instance, last month a writer in a British Columbia business magazine tossed off the phrase “the cold fusion hoax of the late 1980s.” Such phrases have created an unwarranted character assassination of the electrochemists Martin Fleischmann and Stanley Pons, whose mistake was in prematurely announcing their discovery—not hoaxing.

Meanwhile back in Italy at a press conference in Bologna attended by about 50 invited guests, Rossi and Focardi demonstrated their device. After a brief warm-up, its reaction chamber starts self-heating and they claim it can pro­duce 12,400 watts of heat power with an input of just 400 watts into the electric heating element. They are well be­yond the research phase; the plan is to start shipping devices for industrial use this spring and start mass production by the end of this year.

The Italian scientists also claim transmutation, saying that their fusion reaction produces copper as well as cheap power. (They estimate that electricity can be generated at a cost of less than one cent per kilowatt-hour— significantly less than coal or natural gas power plants.)

It isn’t the everyman’s backyard project, however; you’d have to have a nuclear expert involved in building an En­ergy Catalyzer of this type. Rossi and Focardi say that the reaction produces radiation, which indicates that it’s at the level of atoms’ nuclei. However they add that the radiation is completely shielded by lead so that none of it escapes the apparatus. No radioactivity is left in the fusion cell after it’s turned off, so there’s no nuclear waste.

Sepp Hasslberger reports that Rossi’s reactor can be run without problems in an industrial environment. “It is ex­pected that industrial-sized reactor units will be mounted in shipping containers for easy transportability. It will be more difficult to obtain permits for individual household-type units, because of the requirement for complete auto­matic and safe operation under all circumstances. For now, trained personnel that care for maintenance are still nec­essary, so household units seem to be about a decade in the future yet.”

Early this year Rossi wrote on his blog that there will be no more demonstrations before the start-up of his company’s proposed one-megawatt power plant.

At the 2011 International Conference on Cold Fusion, held in India, one of the leading scientists looked back at reasons why the “cold fusion” field got off to a poor start besides the fact that in 1989 most of the experiments failed to produce excess heat. The mainstream physics community, believing that cold fusion should act like hot fusion, still can’t get over the fact that these experiments don’t release neutrons. “We’re still searching for respectability in the scientific community,” said Professor George Miley.

Vortex-tech Pioneer Exits

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that inspiration strikes in various parts of Earth. Another branch of advanced re­search originated in Europe during the 1920’s. Austrian naturalist Viktor Schauberger discovered how to build tech­nologies based on the fact that vortices create special effects and properties in nature. In more recent decades my friend William Baumgartner taught workshops on the basic theories of Schauberger’s “implosion technologies” and did related experiments such as showing how light can be generated from specially constructed water flow assem­blies, unless the water is polluted or has been deadened by being piped through great lengths of ordinary water pipes.

Sadly, we’ve lost a leading experimenter, author, inventor, and longtime researcher. William Baumgartner left the physical world on December 29, 2010. I lost a wise mentor who was a special soul, and the world lost much of his vast store of insights about the works of Schauberger, Walter Russell, John W. Keely and Nikola Tesla.

Eighty years ago he was christened Walter Baumgartner, but changed his name to William in 1993. As a teenager in Bavaria, he had felt closest to truth when out skiing the Alps or mountain climbing. So after studying mechanical engineering at Technisches Institute in Zurich, Switzerland, his love of nature led to a dream of living off the land in a trapper’s hut in northern Canada. He emigrated in 1954. The dream gave way to the immigrant’s reality of working in a sawmill on Vancouver Island and studying English on the side. Then he landed a job as an electrician on power dam projects. Later he would read books such as the Schauberger biography Living Water and see the importance of letting a river run naturally in unfettered spiraling movements. He learned there are workable alternatives to hydro dams or polluting sources of energy.

Someone in Vancouver introduced Baumgartner to Nikola Tesla’s patents and articles, long before many people knew about Tesla. The young immigrant got an opportunity to repeat Tesla coil experiments and pulsing-the-earth experiments after a fortunate job change; supervising a pumping station for natural gas left him with spare time. He had machine shop tools, and papers from John Searl of England, so he built two Searl-type rotating magnetic disks. That was the first of many projects in which he built prototypes of energy devices in order to learn what worked.

His friend from Vancouver was more interested in Tesla memorabilia, but agreed that money for research was needed. Their plan was that Baumgartner would write and sell information by mail order to raise money for research. They advertised in Popular Mechanics and were surprised when up to 40 letters per day addressed to Tesla Research Centre showed up in the local post office. Most of the mail was from California, which led to contacts in the field then called “free energy” when he later lived in California.

One contact sent Baumgartner a page out of Walter Russell’s book Atomic Suicide and noted that Russell (1871­1962) had met Tesla occasionally in New York. That was the beginning of Baumgartner’s thorough investigation of Russell’s experiments and Russell’s many writings about the background invisible geometry of the universe. Baum­gartner eventually traveled to Virginia to visit the mansion called Swannanoa where Walter and Lao Russell had es­tablished a University of Science and Philosophy. Russell’s widow gave Baumgartner access to a wealth of information and an extended stay. Baumgartner’s research path later took him around the world, from Mexico to Australia and also to the UK and to Europe as a consultant.

He pioneered in New-Energy print media by publishing the magazine Energy Unlimited from 1977 to 1987, fol­lowed by Causes newsletter co-written with Rhetta Jacobsen. They were teaching workshops when I met them in 1986.

Baumgartner described the vortex as “Nature’s Tool with which it creates anything it chooses.” Human technolo­gies can copy natural processes, he said, if we recognize nature’s movements. “In the center of the vortex you have the invisible shaft. The shaft accumulates ether energy. You have to create a steady flow out of the void, or space fab­ric, or ether or whatever you want to call it.” He coined a name for that process: vortex mechanics.

He was certain that the etheric energy of the vacuum of space is very real. “With our machinery today we dissipate this force so it never accumulates or flows steadily.”

His hands-on work was varied. Over the years he built large hydraulic turbines, Tesla’s mechanical oscillator, ozone equipment, a pancake-shaped generator, a levitating platform and other projects such as the Baumgartner Im­mersion Heater. From 1977 on, Schauberger’s work was never far from his mind. Across the Atlantic from the vision­ary Russell who saw the hidden geometry of space, Schauberger had been the hardware designer who brought vortex­ian mechanics into manifestation.

When William was living in Albuquerque, New Mexico, around 1993 I visited his workshop where he was con­structing Schauberger technology he called Twister Pipes.

He had to fabricate molds for the unique twisting, indented pipes, and when the pipes were formed he used varia­tions in his turbines. The theory was that tornado power could be contained in channels shaped like the spiraling in nature. When air, water, or another medium spirals through, its vortexian movement creates an inward-pulling centripetal force that moved a machine’s metal shaft. He was also learning more about principles behind the inventions, such as the compression principle of nature that Russell described.

William Baumgartner worked with Schauberger’s successors in Europe; they commissioned him to build proto­types. Toward the end of his life, Baumgartner concluded that there were easier approaches than Schauberger tech­nology, such as magnetics.

He was a visionary who never stopped learning and expressing uplifting concepts that would help people glimpse the larger realities of new and ancient science.


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