Thursday, July 17, 2014

The Peak Oil Crisis: Better Than Fire

In addition to following the twists and turn of the world’s energy situation, I have been tracking the reporting on developments concerning several “exotic” and therefore controversial energy sources whose proponents say would be far more cost-effective than current alternatives to fossil fuels such as wind, solar and nuclear.

The reason for this interest is that if one believes global warming is caused by carbon emissions, then it certainly looks like there will not be much left of human civilization in a century or so. While the use of “conventional” alternatives is growing, the demand for energy to fuel economic growth is so great that it seems likely that, unless some outside force intervenes, mankind is going to burn fossil fuels until it is no longer economically possible to do so.

What is clearly necessary is some source of energy that is so cheap and easy to produce and so environmentally clean that everyone on earth will want to use the new energy source as soon as possible.

Fortunately, there are a handful of people out there who really are a few steps ahead of academia, government officials, and the mainstream media in the effort to save mankind from what is shaping up to be a many millennia-long disaster. In the past I have written about cold fusion or in the current jargon, low energy nuclear reactions (LENR). This technology is still alive, well, and seems destined to produce some commercially viable prototypes in the near future.

However, last week a company up in New Jersey call BlackLight Power and its founder announced a breakthrough which could be just what the world sorely needs in addition to touching off a new era in the history of mankind. I stress could for all the evidence is not in yet and useful prototypes have yet to be built, but BlackLight’s founder and inventor of the technology, Randall Mills, seems unusually forthright in his claims that there has indeed been a breakthrough on the exotic energy front. For those of the “its too good to be true” bent, keep in mind that discoveries do happen from time to time – electricity, internal combustion, and smart phones to name a few.

About 20 years ago Randall Mills announced that a more compact form of the hydrogen atom existed in the universe which he termed a hydrino. This form of hydrogen had its electron circling its proton at about 1/4th the distance from the nucleus as in a conventional hydrogen atom and therefore had much less energy. Mills went on to say he believed that the dark matter which makes up the bulk of the universe was composed of these compact hydrogen atoms which neither absorb nor emit light making them very difficult to detect. At the cosmological scale dark matter is only known to exist because of its gravitational pull on other mass. As most of the visible universe is composed of hydrogen, it seems to make sense that the invisible part is hydrogen too.

When Mills announced his hypothesis in 1991, it was, of course, denounced by the scientific establishment as ridiculous for if another form of hydrogen existed, we surely would have discovered it decades ago. To make the ensuing controversy still worse, Mills claimed that the accepted version of quantum mechanics had it wrong in its description of just what an electron is and that the classical physics of Newton and Maxwell works at the atomic as well as the cosmic scale. Such a claim is heresy of the first order in the land of the scientists so Mills and his hydrinos were quickly forgotten.

From mankind’s perspective, however, the interesting feature about the existence of two forms of hydrogen is that in converting the conventional hydrogen atom to a hydrino a spectacular amount of energy is released – on the order of 200 times as much as when hydrogen is joined with oxygen to form H2O. Thus began the 20-year search for the Holy Grail of our civilization – a way to transform hydrogen into hydrinos and release lots of energy.

As with the Wright brothers, all Mills had to do was to build a machine that took in water and send commerical amounts of energy out, then his thesis would have to be accepted. It took 20+ years to develop the theoretical basis for such a machine, but for the last six months Mills has been demonstrating crude prototypes to selected audiences. Fortunately for the rest of us, these demonstrations and considerable information on what is taking place have been appearing regularly on the internet. Although some remain skeptical, the length of time Mills has been working on this project, the size of his organization, the scale of his financial backing and the verification of his science by external laboratories strongly suggests that his claims are valid.

Mills’ machines are remarkably simple. After 20 years of research he has developed a metallic powder that will also absorb moisture (hydrogen) from the humidity in the air. A tiny amount of this damp powder is subjected to a low voltage, high amperage current and the hydrogen in the powder is zapped, for want of a better word, into hydrinos with a blinding flash of light. The hydrogen-depleted powder can then absorb more moisture from the atmosphere and be reused indefinitely.

While the mini-explosions that take place in Mills’ device are spectacular, they certainly were a long ways from a technology that might save the world until two weeks ago when he announced that the energy emitted from these “explosions” is mostly white light. The white light emitted is at least 50,000 times brighter than that of sunlight as it reaches the earth’s surface and given the latest in solar cell technology, can easily be converted into prodigious amounts of electricity using only the humidity in the air as the fuel. One design is anticipating that a one-foot cubic device will be able to produce 10 million watts of electric power.

To quote Mills, “nature has just given us the best gift that we have ever had, this is better than fire.” More

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