The following comment was posted on the Journal of Nuclear Physics by TheFutureIsNow, and the poster subsequently made contact with me and gave me permission to repost it here. I was able to ask some follow-up questions to which he provided responses.
For a little context, TheFutureIsNow had previously asked Andrea Rossi if he had observed plasma balls in the E-Cat, and Rossi responded “yes”.
January 9, 2019 at 1:10 PM
Through my online research I’ve discovered that the existence of a fire ball (plasma ball) with a double layer on the surface (protons in the interior and electrons on the outside) is critical for the negative resistance phenomena to take place. The plasma ball acts almost as a capacitor or a source of energy to sustain the negative resistance. During this same time period, the plasma ball sustains itself by absorbing radiant energy (mostly heat) from the general plasma environment and begins to produce a self-generating oscillation. This oscillation is basically the conversion of heat into electrical current by the plasma ball.
Due to the production of anomalous energy (in various forms) allegedly generated by a number of different devices producing plasma balls, it is logical to assume that in addition to zero point energy extraction LENR reactions are taking place near the double layers where positive ions and electrons can interact. If this is the case, this amazing self organizing plasma structure in the QX would take the heat generated, convert it to electrical current, and project this electricity through the discharge. A portion of this electrical current (perhaps a significant amount) is converted in the general plasma into heat and light! What remains can be collected as electricity.
No steam boilers, no thermo-electric panels, no photothermalvotaic devices with tiny gaps: the plasma ball ON IT’S OWN converts the heat generated by LENR into electricity. The light and heat are primarily massive losses, but future versions of the QX could be designed to minimize the production of heat/light and boost direct electrical output.
So fundamentally to maximize the energy produced by the plasma ball (if LENR produces a significant portion of the heat) the proper fuel mixture should be utilized. The first step seems to be choosing one or more noble gases. Argon is obvious the FIRST choice. However, additions of other gases like neon could also optimize the formation of the plasmoid.
Next, once the noble gases have been selected, we need to look at the fuels that would be undergoing nuclear reactions. The two most obvious that come to mind are hydrogen (protium with no neutrons) and deuterium (with a neutron). My understanding is that deuterium has a higher cross section for nuclear reactions than hydrogen. Moreover, in spinning up the plasmoid, adding some quantity of deuterium would allow for another layer of positive ions to form with a different mass.
Finally, we need to think about what the hydrogen and deuterium would interact with, in addition to possibly themselves. My guess is that lithium is an ideal fuel for a number of reasons. Basically, in a large number of experiments by different parties, it seems to be susceptible to nuclear reactions with hydrogen/deuterium at very low energies (a few hundred eV) far below what is predicted by traditional nuclear physics (hundreds of KeV minimum). Another fuel that should not be totally ignored are the NANO-PARTICLES produced via sputtering from the electrodes. These metal particles of nickel, manganese, or potentially even other metals such as platinum could also undergo nuclear reactions, although at a lower rate than lithium.
Everything else is basically about helping sustain resonance (design of the power supply so it acts like a tank circuit), possibly applying low powered frequencies to the plasma ball after the initial pulse to help sustain it, and to keeping the plasmoid free floating and away from the electrode surfaces which would produce massive erosion.
Q: Where is documented the existence of a fire/plasma ball with a double layer?
A: There are an abundance of mainstream scientific papers that describe the production of “fireballs” or “plasma balls” in DC plasma discharges during the transition to a negative resistance zone in which a reduction in voltage can lead to an increase in current. These papers also describe how the fireballs (basically macroscopic plasmoids) have a double layer consisting of interior positive ions and exterior electrons. The various conditions by which these fireballs can be produced and how they can be manipulated is also discussed.
Here are some selected links:
“Comparative studies performed on “fireballs” formed in direct current and high frequency discharges”
by M.Sanduloviciu, C.Borciat, V.Melnig and C.Gherman
https://apps.dtic.mil/dtic/tr/fulltext/u2/a357742.pdf (see p. 172 of this document)
“Mechanism behind self-sustained oscillations in direct current glow discharges and dusty plasmas”
by Sung Nae Cho
“Negative Differential Resistance of the Discharge Plasma through Fractal Space-Time Theory” by Maricel Agop, Dan G. Dimitriu, Silviu Gurlui
Q: What do you think causes negative resistance?
Negative resistance is caused by the creation of a plasmoid or fireball in the creation of an arc discharge. The double layer becomes a source of ions that can feed the plasma and allow for the negative resistance to take place. If it were not for the plasma ball, there would be no negative resistance.
Q: What is a meant by a “double layer” and why do you think it is significant?
Any transition from a glow discharge to a true arc discharge (with positive resistance) will require the discharge going through a negative resistance zone. Mainstream scientists are now able to explain how the double layer of a fireball or column of plasma is what provides the energy that powers the negative resistance. Without such a fireball, the negative resistance would not take place. Basically, the fireball is constantly absorbing radiant energy (such as heat from the plasma) and storing it up like a capacitor and then discharging it to allow for the negative resistance effect. The double layer is the portion of the fireball that interacts with the overall plasma in the tube. When it comes to LENR, the double layer of such a plasmoid is where nuclear reactions can take place. The heat from the reaction is then absorbed by the fireball which then transforms it into electrical current. These “self sustaining oscillations” can then produce electricity, heat, and light.
Q: What do you think is the difference between zero point energy and LENR?
3) Zero Point Energy and LENR are two different phenomena but they may possibly both take place in reactors like Andrea Rossi’s SK. Zero Point Energy could be defined as energy extracted from the vacuum of space which is filled with limitless energy. Some calculations have been made by cutting edge scientists like Harold Puthoff that a tiny area of empty space (for example the space in a coffee cup) contains enough energy to boil away all the world’s oceans. LENR energy could be defined as energy collected after matter is made to undergo nuclear reactions. However, in the conditions present in the SK, both types of energy could plausibly be produced. For example, some researchers in the field of zero point energy claim that sudden non-equilibrium and non-linear motions of electrically charged particles (ions) can cohere the active vacuum which results in electron-positrons pairs being extracted. The positrons could then annihilate with electrons in the environment to produce energy. However, this is only one mechanism by which it’s plausible that energy could be extracted from the vacuum.
Q: Where do you think the excess energy in LENR comes from?
I think the excess energy comes from both nuclear reactions (probably the bulk of the energy) and potentially the extraction of electron-positron pairs from the active vacuum. In the E-Cat SK, the non-linear and non-equilibrium conditions involve sudden accelerations of ions that may allow for the vacuum to be manipulated. My guess is that in the future we will be able to design LENR systems to control the ratio of power extracted from LENR reactions vs. the vacuum.