How does cold fusion work?

A scientific paper by Defkalion Energy sets our their theory behind the desk-top reactor.

1. Powdered nickel is loaded with hydrogen and heated its Debye temperature – which is the temperature which maximizes the vibration of the individual molecules in the nickel lattice.

2. The hydrogen molecules (H2) are dissociated into a plasma by a spark from a spark plug. In the plasma the H atoms (consisting of a proton and an electron) are excited into elliptical orbits. Due to the elliptical orbit, the electron comes very close to the proton at one end, and so is screened to appear like a neutron (no charge).

3. Driven by the lattice vibration and the pulse of plasma from the spark, the screened H atom is driven into the nucleus of a Ni atom, producing Copper, Zinc, and other transmuted byproducts, and copious heat.

That’s their theory.


  1. Screaming out loud July 25, 2013 9:38 am

    Every serious scientist knows that lab results, measurements and reports is worthless unless you can taste the product.

  2. davids99us July 25, 2013 10:05 am

    Please say more.

  3. Pat Frank July 27, 2013 7:14 am

    Hi David — generally, the 1s electron has its highest density at the nucleus in any case. So, I don’t see how an elliptical orbit changes anything important.

    It sounds like they’re describing an excited H atom, with the electron promoted up to a 2p orbital, which is rather elliptical. However, the 2p orbital is further from the nucleus than the 1s ground state, so that seems to be contradictory to their process.

    In other news, iron has the most stable nucleus of all the elements, which is why it’s the terminal product of stellar fusion. The 3d transition metals go Fe, Co, Ni, Cu, Zn, which is also the nuclear stability series. Here’s a picture showing that iron has the greatest binding energy per nucleon.

    Cobalt, Ni, Cu and Zn decline to the right. So, that means their theory has it that Ni absorbs a nucleon and turns into Cu and Zn, which are less stable, but the process releases energy. Doesn’t make a lot of sense.

    But maybe something else is happening. If their process really produces net energy, something is going from higher energy to lower energy. Maybe they just don’t know yet what that is.

    • davids99us July 27, 2013 7:28 am

      Hi Pat. There would be a range of reactions after absorbing a nucleon, and there are a number of Ni isotopes to start from. If an alpha is emitted after absorbing a proton then Ni and Zn would go back to lower energy elements.

      Elliptical orbitals seems to be a Defkalion idea and at least they are conventional science. Quantum theory predicts a non zero probability that the electron is inside the nucleus with eliptical orbits but could an electron be inside a proton?

      • kuhnkat July 28, 2013 9:26 pm


        careful, you are skirting my current favorite read, Miles Mathis’, theories!!! 8>)

        Miles suggests the electrons orbit individual protons rather than a complete nucleus. More freedom for oddities. If you have time and haven’t run across his papers before, it is interesting reading:

        Sadly I don’t have the expertise to give a better evaluation of his work.

        • laterite July 28, 2013 9:32 pm

          Its a huge rabbit-hole, isn’t it?

  4. Pat Frank July 29, 2013 9:16 pm

    Hi David,

    The Chem/Phys Handbook says there are 5 stable isotopes of nickel (58, 60, 61, 62, and 64), and all of them have a positive cross section for thermal neutrons. Of the radioactive products, Ni 63, 65, 66, and 67 all decay by B- emission, which means they transmute into copper.

    Copper 63 and 65 are stable nuclei. Copper 66 and 67 decay into zinc 66 and 67, which are stable.

    Nickel 59 decays by electron capture into cobalt 59, which is stable (it’s the 100% natural abundance isotope).

    So, the proposed reactions don’t seem plausible, though I freely admit to being a total nuclear naif. :-) I’m not saying that nothing interesting is going on, just that a cursory examination seems to imply it’s something different than proposed.

    • laterite July 30, 2013 5:40 am

      Yeoug Kim has some good papers with a different theory, that the Columb barrier is overcome by a niche-like behaviour that I might do a post on. This one goes into possible Ni reactions suggesting:

      (i) ANi(2p(S=0), p) -> A+1Cu, with even A=58, 60, 62 and 64.

  5. AlainCo January 4, 2014 10:16 am

    By the way, if you are still interested in the subject, still doubting, or needing solids arguments for skeptics I advise you that fantastic book
    Excess Heat by Charles Beaudette :

    this book seems to be the best, very document, and it put back the question at the right place, in calorimetry and what is science in the real world.

    even out of cold fusion it is a deep explanation of the pathology in epistemology.

    It describe with details and arguments what any engineer, chemist, biologist,geologist, knows , and what many nuclear physicist have forgotten.
    real science.

    by the way it list the only 4 critical papers agains Fleischmann result, and the unchallenged quality of McKubre isothermal flow calorimetry in closed cell, confirming the correct but tricky isoperibolic calorimetry of Fleischmann open cell…

    it also list the incompetences, false requirements, misbehaviors, lack of ethic of physicists and their watchdogs.

    hope this helps.

  6. AlphaThinker January 11, 2014 1:27 pm

    I don’t understand one thing. All the LENR devices are “Energy Catalyzers”, it means that you have to give some power to the device in order to receive an higher power. Fine. Why don’t build just an “Energy Producer”, using part of the output power as input power again? An Energy Producer could give a better proof of the LENR: you have just one output cable that gives power to the world, so you have the proof that there is a net energy production. If you run the device long enough to exclude a chemical origin of the excess power, you can give a proof to the world that the device is working, even if nobody sees any actual proof of nuclear reaction (radioactivity, transmuted atoms, etc…).
    Instead, with an Energy Catalyzer, it’s far easier to “cheat” since for an observer it could be tricky to know how much power is given to the device. I am sure that when we’ll have a box with just one cable that gives power to the external world, everybody will be immediately convinced that the device is working. I am afraid we will need to wait for DEMO to see this.