July 09, 2008

Blacklight Power covered on CNN Money

The working models in his lab generate 50 kilowatts of electricity - enough to power six or seven houses. But these, Mills says, can be scaled to drive a large, electric power plant. The inventor claims this electricity will cost less than 2 cents per kilowatt-hour, which compares to a national average of 8.9 cents.

This site has recently covered Blacklight Powers announcement of a 50kw prototype generator. The new information is that they have over 20 of those units undergoing testing.

The Controversy and theory is NOT "If Blacklight Power is right then Quantum Mechanics is wrong"
The wikipedia coverage of the Hydrino theory indicates that it maybe compatible with the standard theory of relativistic quantum mechanics. H/T to Anodes commenter on reddit for pointing out the Hydrino Theory wikipedia entry

One of the main critical papers is the work by A Rathke, A critical analysis of the hydrino model

Jan Naudts of the University of Antwerp, a supporter of standard quantum theory rather than Mills' theory, whose paper nonetheless states:

A. Rathke has questioned the existence of [the hydrino], claiming that it is incompatible with standard quantum mechanics. All Rathke’s arguments relate to nonrelativistic quantum mechanics. The present paper discusses the problem in the context of relativistic quantum mechanics... The present paper shows that one can find arguments in favour of the hydrino state also in the standard theory of relativistic quantum mechanics.

Another scientist disputing Rathke's analysis, Ronald C. Bourgoin, of the Edgecombe Community College, published a peer-reviewed paper in the journal Advanced Studies in Theoretical Physics, not only supporting the theoretical possibility of hydrino states, but further stating that the general wave equation of quantum mechanics predicts the very same reciprocal energy states as does Mills' theory.

Mills reports that limitations on confinement and terrestrial conditions have prevented the achievement of hydrino states below 1/30, which would correspond to an energy release of approximately 15 keV per hydrogen atom.

Schematic of the Blacklight generator with calorimeter test setup (link to 102 page paper)

While his business has been working on the "BlackLight Process" since its inception almost two decades ago, Mills developed the patented cocktail that enables the reaction - a solid fuel made of hydrogen and a sodium hydride catalyst - only a year ago. Now that the device is ready for commercialization, he says, BlackLight is negotiating with several utilities and architecture and engineering firms, but he won't disclose any partners' names until the deals are finalized.

About 20 of the generators, which look like small copper water heaters turned on their sides, rest on lab benches inside the company's 55,000 square foot headquarters, once a Lockheed Martin facility. BlackLight's 11 scientists barely make a sound as they slip among the cavernous rooms, blue lab coats flapping behind them. The near-emptiness is eerie, but it's also portentous, says Mills: "Within the next two years, we're going to grow to 500, maybe 1,000 employees. This could satisfy a majority of the world's power needs, and the demand is going to be huge."

"He's wrong in so many ways, it's beyond counting," says Robert Park, a professor of physics at the University of Maryland and former spokesman for the American Physics Society. Parks, 77, uses BlackLight as an example of phony physics in his 2002 book, Voodoo Science: The Road from Foolishness to Fraud. He says of Mills, "I don't know of a single scientist of any reputation who takes his claims seriously."

Critics such as Park say the high-profile CEOs on BlackLight's board are following each other over a cliff. He could be right: Both Jordan and Jim Lenehan - a BlackLight investor, senior consultant at hedge fund Cerberus, and former president of Johnson and Johnson (JNJ, Fortune 500) - say they were led to the business by friends. But Lenehan, who does not sit on BlackLight's board, says, "It's no longer a high-risk part of my portfolio. It now has the ability to make a huge difference in the world of power."

Jordan, who earned science degrees from Yale and Princeton, expresses a similar sentiment.

"In the beginning, I thought it was worth putting money into because it was going to be a huge flop or a huge success." he says. "But when they made the breakthrough last fall, I saw the results."

That logic could explain BlackLight's success in garnering investors, despite its lack of scientific approval: While the academic community stresses theoretical backing for a new discovery, the business world is more concerned with practical applications.

Lenehan says, "My point of view is, just do it - generate power. In terms of influencing investors, it's about results."

Jordan agrees: "Theoretically, the bumble bee can't fly - but no one told the bumble bee. Now they're saying this can't be done, but it's happening."

The rest of the world will have to wait for evidence until the fall of 2009, when the business promises to install its cells in power plants.

Blacklight generator 102 page paper.

In this study we made specific theoretical predictions and tested them with standard, easily interpretable experiments. The results of spectroscopic, chemical, and thermal data show that new energy states of hydrogen are formed by the reaction of H with catalysts such as Li and NaH . Furthermore, the power and energy balance data demonstrate that this novel reaction of atomic hydrogen can proceed with high kinetics and yields by using reagents to generate the catalysts such as Li and NaH to form significantly more stable hydrides and hydrogen molecules is a new energy source ready for commercialization. The energy scaled linearly and the power increased nonlinearly to easily achieve over 50 kW. Based on the volume of the catalyst and hydrogen fuel, the power density is among the highest known, (comparable to or higher than that of internal combustion), and the energy balance is greater that that of any know material on a weight or molar basis. Consequently, the mass balance and cost per unit energy is much lower than that of burning fossil fuels. Furthermore, the process is nonpolluting. Since the identified H2 (1/ p) byproduct is stable and lighter-than-air, it cannot accumulate in the Earth’s atmosphere.

39 page spectroscopic observation paper

Hydrino study group

Hydrino theory at wikipedia

New Energy Times which focuses on Cold Fusion indicates that Blacklight Power has not been that successful getting patents


kurt said...

Yes, we will see in fall of next year. Even though I think he is wrong, I wish Randall Mills the best of luck. I would love to see Randal Mill's process achieve success. It will be really entertaining to watch Robert Park's reaction if this is successful.

Robert Parks and much of the physics establishment appears to be quite defensive these days. They should be.

Big physics (and government-funded science in general) really has not resulting in any new products in the past 35 years. We were supposed to have L-5 space colonies and we got NASA, the shuttle, and the ISS. We were supposed to have commercial fusion. Yet, despite spending billions of dollar over the past 40 years, it is still "40 years in the future". Finally, private funding of effective anti-aging biomedical reseach (SENS) is starting to occur, when 40 years of government funded biomedical research (NIH, etc.) has failed to do anything about the aging process.

If Randall Mill's ideas are for real, more power to him. At least he is not mooching off the public treasury for his ideas.

Barba Rija said...

GW, you seem to have a spam filter malfunction. Whenever I open up your web page, ludicrous claims of old junk and already humiliated and debunked thesis such as Mill's, which has 17 years old already and hasn't produced really anything worth of value since then (despite the red herring of his own page showing up the inevitable "revolutionary" theory that solves Quantum Mechanics with Relativity, what does this fellow not solve by himself, really?) open up and fill your web page.

I don't know, but if I would guess, I would probably say that some hacker who is lacking googling abilities is posting when you aren't looking.


Seriously, GW. You should check your filters before posting outright cons. I have no pity for those venture idiots, though.

bw said...

Barba, wait til the end of 2009 and see.
CNN covered them, so why is this coverage invalid/wrong ?

4 articles on blackwater out of 2300. Ignore the 0.3% on that topic. Many other people are interested in it.

I would not mind a $60+ million humiliation.

How much as been spent on tokomaks and how many kwh have been supplied from it ?

Joel said...

I have to say I get tired of seeing scientists "debunk" anything they didn't invent and use theory alone without ever considering the idea that the theorems they worship are in error. Look at Einstein when presented with quantum physics he "debunked" it and ignored it. Today however quantum physics has been validated and is achieving real results.

I'm with Kurt a bit. This seems far fetched, but the investors that backed him must have seen something to convince them to invest millions in his work. Even the wildest actually look before throwing that kind of money at something.

That said lets take the optimists approach... Assume it works as stated. It would be interesting to see if this could be scaled down as well as up. A 10-15KW version would power a vehicle reasonably well, and would also make a dandy backup generator.

If it doesn't science is littered with failed experiments. That's how the vast majority of the science we use today came to be. Though if it fails I'm sure he'll regret the publicity then.

kurt said...

I just read the CNN Money article. It is quite good. Even though I am a serious skeptic of Blacklight Power, I thought the article was quite balanced and objective. I especially like how the article discussed the corruption and self-serving nature of academic and government-funded research. This is spot on and needs to be said far more often.

Randell Mills may be right. He may be wrong. We all get to find out in fall of next year. Certainly the people backing him are of a caliber that are not easily fooled. Their comments with regards to performance being the acid test of a new idea indicate to me that they are level-headed.

One thing you can say to Randall's credit is that he has financed all of this with his own money and the money from private investors. He does not live off of the public treasury, unlike his scientific detractors.

This fact alone speaks kudos to me.

Anty said...

You know how to tell if Blacklight is for real? Look at the board of directors.

Lets see...

1 Asst Sec of Energy
1 Asst Sec of the Navy
1 Air Force Joint Chief of Staff
1 CINCLATFLT (Commander in Chief Altantic Forces)
1 Director of Naval Nuclear Propulsion.

Others in the list are a little bit more murky.

That list is filled with a lot of people that have never failed.


Nickname unavailable said...

There is a very simple way to determine the authenticity of the Blacklight Power system.

Get a copy of their electric bill.

Brock said...

I both hope Mills is right AND that his success doesn't kill Bussard on the vine.

Mills' process (if it works) produces heat, which is then run into a dynamo for electricity. There are conversion losses there. Polywell produces electricity directly.

An efficient economy would use Polywell for main, baseline electric power and BLP for heat (HVAC, etc.) and "smaller than 100MW" devices.

Joel: BLP's Business Applications slideshow used to talk about putting these things in cars a few years ago, but since they've actually made a prototype they've taken that part out. Now they talk about distributed power in the 1 to 10MW range to be placed at "refilling stations" for charging electric cars or for distributed H2 fuel generation. My guess is that the generator they have made is too hot to put under a hood.