Thursday, April 7, 2011

The steam engine of the 21st Century?

My excitement remains, as the implications are nothing short of miraculous: nuclear energy without hazardous radiation. For the sake of life on earth, threatened by our stupid species, I am praying that it is real.
50 gms of nickel and 0.11 gms of hydrogen gave the energy equivalent of burning 3 liters of oil.

I don't know that any of my friends are science wonks, but regardless, here are the details of the operation from the report of the Swedish scientists: You should skip to the last 2 paragraphs if numbers scare you or bore you.

Surfing around, I found some complaints about the lack of MSM coverage in the US on this -- my take is that it is just the imperial attitude (rapidly becoming a provincial attitude as the empire fades) that there is no news unless we make it.

Prior to startup, the hydrogen bottle with a nominal pressure of 160 bars was connected for a short moment to the device to pressurize the fuel container to about 25 bars. The air of atmospheric pressure was remaining in the container as a small impurity. The amount of hydrogen with the assumed container volume of 50 cm3 is 0.11 grams of hydrogen. The electric heater was switched on at 10:25, and the meter reading was 1.5 amperes corresponding to 330 watts for the heating including the power for the instrumentation, about 30 watts. The electric heater thus provides a power of 300 watts to the nickel-hydrogen mixture. This corresponds also to the nominal power of the resistor.

Initial running to reach vaporization.
The temperatures of the inlet water and the outlet water were monitored and recorded every 2 seconds. The heater was connected at 10:25 and the boiling point was reached at 10:42. The detailed temperature-time relation is shown in figure 6. The inlet water temperature was 17.3 °C and increased slightly to 17.6 °C during this initial running. The outlet water temperature increased from 20 °C at 10:27 to 60 °C at 10:36. This means a temperature increase by 40 °C in 9 minutes which is essentially due to the electric heater. It is worth noting that at this point in time and temperature, 10:36 and 60°C, the 300 W from the heater is barely sufficient to raise the temperature of the flowing water from the inlet temperature of 17.6 °C to the 60 °C recorded at this time. If no additional heat had been generated internally, the temperature would not exceed the 60 °C recorded at 10:36. Instead the temperature increases faster after 10:36, as can be seen as a kink occurring at 60 °C in the temperature-time relation. (Figure 6). A temperature of 97.5 °C is reached at 10:40. The time taken to bring the water from 60 to 97.5 °C is 4 minutes. The 100 °C temperature is reached at 10:42 and at about 10:45 all the water is completely vaporized found by visual checks of the outlet tube and the valve letting out steam from the chimney. This means that from this point in time, 10:45, 4.69 kW power is delivered to the heating and vaporization, and 4.69 – 0.30 = 4.39 kW would have to come from the energy produced in the internal nickel-hydrogen container.

The experiment was continually running from 10:45 to 16:30 when it was stopped by switching off the heater and increasing the cooling water flow to a maximum of 30 liters per hour. On two occasions during the steam production phase, David Bianchini tested the radiation level which did not differ from the normal level in the room. The temperature at the outlet was controlled continually to be above 100°C. According to the electronic log-book it remained always between 100.1 and 100.2 °C during the operation from 10:45 to 16:30 as can be seen in figure 7. Between 11:00 and 12:00 o’clock, control measurements were done on how much water that had not evaporated. The system to measure the non-evaporated water was a certified Testo System, Testo 650, with a probe guaranteed to resist up to 550°C. The measurements showed that at 11:15 1.4% of the water was non- vaporized, at 11:30 1.3% and at 11:45 1.2% of the water was non-vaporized. The energy produced inside the device is calculated to be (1.000-0.013) (16:30-10:45) 4.39 =25 kWh.

Since we do not have access to the internal design of the central fuel container and no information on the external lead shielding and the cooling water system we can only make very general comments. The central container is about 50 cm3 in size and it contains 0.11 gram hydrogen and 50 grams nickel. The enthalpy from the chemical formation of nickel and hydrogen to nickel hydride is 4850 joule/mol [6]. If it had been a chemical process, a maximum of 0.15 watt-hour of energy could have been produced from nickel and 0.11 gram hydrogen, the whole hydrogen content of the container. On the other hand, 0.11 gram hydrogen and 6 grams of nickel (assuming that we use one proton for each nickel atom) are about sufficient to produce 24 MWh through nuclear processes assuming that 8 MeV per reaction can be liberated as free energy. For comparison, 3 liters of oil or 0.6 kg of hydrogen would give 25 kWh through chemical burning. Any chemical process for producing 25 kWh from any fuel in a 50 cm3 container can be ruled out. The only alternative explanation is that there is some kind of a nuclear process that gives rise to the measured energy production.

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