Cold Fusion, Comedy?

By: David Zweig

February 28, 2012 (Updates at end of article)

The press release said "NanoSpire is currently seeking investors." So I sent a couple of e-mails to the company asking a few questions. After all, what do I know about cavitation, transmutation, and desktop supernova explosions? I, along with other individual investors on a private forum, invest in small companies, but we don't really understand this type of technology.

That press release was put out as part of a quest to raise $5 million in new venture capital, and in their emailed response to my inquiries as a potential investor, they hinted at all types of deceit and/ or criminal activity within the field of cold fusion.

Few were spared. Mentioned were officials at the Naval Research Lab, and NASA. Also, many of the other cold fusion scientists. Even a reporter and a venture capitalist were pulled into the drama, at least tangentially.

As for myself and other potential investors, maybe we can reach out to the larger internet audience to help us complete our due diligence. Go ahead and post your comments here on my blog.

I wanted to post on my blog the emails I received back from NanoSpire. As a courtesy, I told them about it, as follows:

I think your discovery, if it works out, could become one of the most important in the history of technology.  

How has been the response to your press releases seeking investors? In order to share the type of information investors contacting your company may be seeking, I have posted on my blog the answers you furnished me when I made my inquiries.

Hopefully, this will provide much needed publicity for your company, and help you launch products that can solve the world's energy and resource needs. Your "roasting" of various players in the industry was hilarious, I don't think anyone will take it personally, since no one was spared; it may actually help publicity about your company go viral, like a David Letterman monologue, while at the same time getting the more serious information out there that the public needs to see.

NanoSpire then requested that I not post its replies to my inquiries, since they consider them confidential. NanoSpire thought they could have expectations of privacy, as part of negotiations with a potential investor. This is strange, because I've sent questions to the investor relations departments of many other companies I've been interested in investing in, and they are happy to have their responses shared; after all, they are in the publicity business. I didn't negotiate with NanoSpire about anything; I asked them how much they were looking to raise and what they were going to do with the funds (question 16, below).

The company stated last year that "Unlike Focardi and Rossi, [it is] willing to disclose all the details, so that it will be eventually understood and allow people to make up their own minds." (See 10/18/12 update, below.) They also already have protection with their patents. The only area of objection I would think would be where they give their opinions on competitors and government agencies, and I won't post those. Only their edited responses are shown; highlighted in blue.

Monday, February 20, 2012 9:37 AM

1. The press release states that “capital and operating cost far lower than… other LENR-based technologies” with “a coefficient of performance (COP) of 3.4 times more energy out than in.” Why would the cost be lower than other LENR, when the MIT 2012 demonstration had a COP of 14 and Defkalion claims a COP of 20?

The COP by itself does not determine the cost effectiveness of the system. The capital cost for this system was only around $200, the cost of the centrifugal pump and the drilled aluminum plate. This cost was using retail priced components, the price would drop further buying the parts wholesale. The rest of the plumbing is PVC and negligible in cost. The operating cost is the cost of replacing the aluminum plate and the electricity to run it. Individual trenches created by the crystals have demonstrated COP's in excess of 10,000 X, the use of a pump was just a quick way of testing the proof of principal. A laser powered system is expected to produce a COP that could be as high as 1000X or more. I believe with a few deign changes the pump powered system will match or exceed the 20 COP seen in the other LENR systems.

2. Other LENR requires palladium or nickel, and possibly separate hydrogen, and the palladium or nickel needs to be replaced every six months. With your system, what needs periodic replacement and how often?

The aluminum plate will need to be replaced probably once a month (<$10). I estimate that the centrifugal rotor will need replacement probably every two months (~$20).

3. In your system it looks like ordinary water is the only chemical input. Is the water tap or distilled? Is this something the customer can refill himself?

Ordinary tap water works fine.

4. What was your initial purpose in using coiled perforated aluminum plate for the reactor core? Was it to receive the heat from the reaction and radiate it outwards?

The coiled aluminum plate is the reactor core. Any material will work, conductive materials work better and aluminum was chosen because it is soft and would reveal the trenches more easily for study. The drilled plate creates rows and columns of induced charge from the presence of the positively charged crystal. The crystals were observed to carve trenches following their induced charges along rows and columns, with very little activity in other directions. The coiled up plate helped reflect neutrons back into the core, raising the level of nuclear reactions, both fusion and fission.

5. The aluminum becomes covered in diamond. How often does the aluminum need to be replaced?

6. Can the diamond be easily taken off and the aluminum reused?

The diamond was fused to the surface of the aluminum plate. They could be separated easily by melting the aluminum away.

7. Can the transmuted particles be easily removed from the diamond coating that they are imbedded in, so that the diamond is “clean” enough to be sold to the diamond industry?

A system designed to enhance diamond production without producing the heavier elements is possible and under consideration.

8. Why were ALL of the transmuted particles short-lived isotopes? Doesn’t a supernova produce things like plutonium and cesium that stay radioactive for much longer time periods?

The reactor produced both short and long lived isotopes, as I pointed out in the article, not all short-lived isotopes.

9. Is your system hot fusion or cold fusion? When water bubbles pop, doesn’t that create small energy spikes with temperatures that can be twice the temperature of the surface of the sun, and wouldn’t that qualify as hot fusion, albeit on a much smaller scale than a hydrogen bomb?

This is hot fusion produced as a byproduct of zero point energy accelerating the crystal to relativistic speeds. Heavy element fusion only occurs at temperatures in the neighborhood of a billion degrees K. The transmutation occurs in front of the crystal bow shock as it plows through the material at high speeds. Ordinary cavitation bubble collapse produces temperature of 100,000 degrees K and pressures of 10,000 atmospheres (as measured by others). This is higher than the surface temperature of the sun, but 100 times less than the temperature required to initiate D-D fusion, which occurs below the surface of the sun where the pressure and temperature are higher.

We do not harness the collapsing bubble directly. the bubbles are collapsed near a surface to produce high speed jets that emanate from within the assymetrically collapsing bubbles. The impact of the reentrant jets against a hard material produces far more pressure than the collapse of a bubble in the free stream of a liquid. I solved the one-hundred year old problem of cavitation erosion prediction. My equation, validated against ASTM G32 cavitation erosion data, is 98% accurate at predicting the depth of a hole produced by reentrant jet impact as a function of material properties. This equation shows that the impact of the jet forms a thin layer where van der Waals pressure dominates, so that the actual pressure is really many gigapascals, sufficient to ignite D-D fusion in medium hardness materials and goes even higher with very hard materials. No new physics required to justify D-D fusion. Only the accelerating crystal (The LeClair Effect) can produce higher pressures that ignite heavy element fusion.

10. “The transmuted particles”… “none resembled earthly abundances.” “Most importantly, all the rare earths, precious metals and many other key elements were produced in high concentrations, greater than typically seen in most naturally occurring ores.” “The transmuted elements were produced as chips up to one millimetre in size, in gram amounts“. Grams or ounces per ton are common measures used to evaluate mining drill cores. Let’s use gold, silver, and copper as examples. The concentrations of these three elements produced by your system equate to how many grams or ounces of each element per ton of chips produced? Did each chip have its own element, or were most of the seventy elements mixed together on each chip? If the elements need to be separated, how difficult would that be to do? Can it be processed in an ordinary smelter just like mined ore?

[Note: LeClair has a plot of the various elements produced and their atomic concentrations, and also has this available plotted as a mass concentration. You'll have to email the company to see if they are making these plots available by email request]

11. Were the cavitation bubbles that were part of the system causing fusion, produced by a rotor or by a laser gun?

The reactor described used a centrifugal pump to genertae the bubbles, but I've done it with a laser as well.

12. When you demonstrated your system for the NRL in Washington, DC, you were injured by radiation for a second time. After you were injured from your earlier testing, I am sure you wanted to be adequately protected for any subsequent demonstrations. Why were the precautions taken during the NRL demonstration not adequate? Do you feel confident that you know now what precautions need to be taken for future testing and demonstrations?

...We didn't know how strong the neutron flux was at that point, we found out the hard way. Proper radiation shielding would take care of that problem, but this isn't something you would use in its current form in a residential setting. We think we could redesign it to extract heat form zero point energy without triggering fusion.

13. Rossi uses thin lead shielding, and Defkalion uses a shielding that isn’t even lead. How much shielding (and what type) do you expect will be needed for your final product, and would the extra cost make your system less competitive?

Cheap PVC absorbs far more neutrons than lead and quickly decays to background (half-life 56 minutes). The gamma radiation would still require lead or beryllium shielding, but the output of gamma is low to moderate. I haven't calculated the additional incremental cost, but it should be low and comparable to other LENR systems producing the same level of output.

14. Is RF (radio frequency) a part of your system? I would assume not, since unlike Rossi you do not have to get the water crystals to penetrate a metal such as nickel.

No RF is required...

15. So, we have ordinary water, a reactor core of coiled perforated aluminum plate, and either a rotor or a laser gun powered by electricity. What else is needed for your system to operate?

It's all described above and in the executive summary, its as simple as it gets, probably why no one ever discovered it previously. [Note: NanoSpire's executive summary is posted here].

16. How much money are you looking to raise from investors? How will the funds be used?

We want to form a joint venture that we will license the technolgy into... The funds will be used to produce viable beta hot water heaters, both pump driven and laser driven, for commercial and industrial use... The economics and technology of cogenerated transmuted material production will also be assessed. The transmutation is more valuable than even the heat produced, just producing the rare earths alone makes the process highly desirable. [Note: Two days after this was emailed to me by Nanospire, they released this news: "Nanospire has announced that its investigative study on fusion created by cavitation in water has come to an end." Question: Given all of NanoSpire's excitement, and for a technology that the world badly needs, why suddenly did their studies come to an end?]

Tuesday, February 21, 2012 9:26 AM

1. Even if Rossi is not using nickel, do you think other LENR researchers could be successfully using nickel? How about palladium?

The Ni-H reaction is probably real, but low output... I don't believe any of the lattice based LENR theories... They argue fusion happens inside the metal, I say it happens on the surface of the electrodes from cavitation reentrant jet impact. Plasma discharge that is observed on the surface of the anodes during operation means that cavitation must be taking place and because its happening near the surface reentrant jets must form and hit the electrode. Pits are observed on electrode surfaces containing transmuted elements. One thousand hours of operation of a 3 watt electrolysis PF style cell produces 100 ppm concentrations of the same elements I produce using my device with 1000 times the power running for one hour. I do it with only cavitation and no electrical discharge, this points towards the common origin - cavitation. The lattice based theories go through all these convoluted arguments about how the lattice produces D-D fusion, but offer no explaination as to how the heavier elements observed in their experiments form, a far harder behavior to explain. The lattice would melt under heavy element fusion conditions so their theories do not fit the data. My theory covers all observed behavior in my system as well as theirs, no lattice or electrochemistry required.

2. Reading between the lines, are you saying that palladium and even nickel might work with hydrogen to produce LENR, but those methods would not produce the commercially viable amounts of energy claimed?

[Note: You'll have to ask NanoSpire directly if you want to find out what their response was to this question.]

3. And that those who claim large energy gain using those methods, must be using a different method if they are achieving those gains? Just Rossi, or also Defkalion and Mitchell Swartz? If this is true then each will be found out soon enough.

...I used a 1/2 Hp centrifugal pump as a cavitation bubble generator. To force the pump to cavitate, I placed the fill resevoir at a level below the inlet of the pump. I also used a small inlet hose and further choked the flow with a valve placed at the pump inlet... The gamma output is low... I put a riser on the outlet to help force the cavitation bubbles to collapse before leaving the system...

4. And that they are either actually using the LeClair method, or they are not really achieving the large energy gains that they claim?

Anybody's guess if they are using the LeClair Effect, since there is no supporting data being shown and no independant verification allowed.

5. It is encouraging that Steve Krivit has an open mind about your research, even while he is dubious about Rossi, Defkalion and (erroneously) criticized Swartz. As far as independent testing by government agencies, he doesn't trust NRL, but seems encouraging about NASA. Have you approached NASA about conducting an independent test? Based on the testing they were going to do for Rossi, if you pay NASA for the testing (about $50,000; maybe more for additional shielding), they would almost certainly do it. If NASA can successfully replicate your tests, then it would seem lots of funding offers would follow.

[Note: Steve Krivit's website, New Energy Times, has more on NanoSpire, here and here. Search the pages by pressing ctrl-f and entering "LeClair". Krivit might now have a different opinion; see Update 10/18/12, below.]

...I'm not a nuclear physicist, but I studied atomic physics as part of my specialty in fluid mechanics and my Master's thesis was on nuclear power generation. I also worked on nuclear weapons at Lockheed Missiles and Space... [Note: I deleted most of what was in the answer to this question. I would hate to think that what they wrote that they assumed took place actually happened. Ask the company about it and see what you think. As for the government's position, read various comments (here) by David Nagel, former senior official with the Naval Research Lab.]

6. About the radiation, there are two different types: First, the radiation from the explosions. I guess that is taken care of by the shielding and dissipates fairly quickly. Then there are the radioactive isotopes, of which some are long lived. Why didn't the hazmat unit pickup readings on them when they arrived on the premises? Don't some have half-lives in the thousands of years? Aren't some, like plutonium, so hazardous that just a few atoms can cause serious effects? Wouldn't they contaminate and be expensive to separate from the other elements?

The radiation hazmat team did find radioisotopes, but tried to pass it off as "naturally occurring". It is important to note that most of the samples didn't not nucleosynthesize the heaviest elements and those that did only produced barely detectable traces above uranium. I am sure that since this happened on it's own that the process can be controlled or terminated before undesirable elements are produced. It also appears likey that the zero point energy can be produced without triggering any nuclear reactions at all.

7. If the aluminum is changed every month, is that based on operations running continuously 24/7 for the month?

I have done a total of 8 hours of combined operation of the various reactor designs we tried. The longest ran for two hours and showed no appreciable wear. All produced heat immediatley upon hitting the switch and produced heat continuously. If I had ran this 24/7 for a month we would all be dead.

8. Scaling of operations: In a single test, how many crystals were shot off? Simultaneously or in sequence? Will you scale using more pumps (or lasers) in larger vessels, or keep the same setup used for the test but with thousands of vessels operating simultaneously in the same room?

...I know how to scale this up without the bother or expense of going massively parallel. The laser powered version I expect to produce megawatts out of a desktop sized unit. A pump produces thousands of cavitation bubbles per second, but they are various sizes and not all are properly aligned or produce jets. The laser powered sysytem will be far more efficient....

I don't really know how things stand. My hope in posting this is to bring out the best in everyone involved in Cold Fusion/ LENR: scientists, government, academics, reporters, and investors. World changing technology is at stake.

[There is more about NanoSpire on the Vortex thread and at Talk-Polywell. Contact information for NanoSpire is listed at this link.]


2/22/12: A new NanoSprire press release states: "Nanospire has announced that its investigative study on fusion created by cavitation in water has come to an end." It's good that they have stopped testing for now. During the nuclear fusion reaction that occurred when they did their test, "Hundreds of wave trains and vortices appeared everywhere and are permanently burned into walls, objects and trees surrounding the lab." [See 10/18/12 update, below.] Well, according to Google maps (25 Jesse Daniel DR, Buxton, ME) the Buxton Vehicle Registration is located about five hundred feet from the lab, so I hope none of the people getting their cars registered got irradiated when the desktop supernova occurred.

4/30/12: NanoSpire was featured in an article on Sterling Allan's site. Ed Storms, who is mentioned in many of NanoSpire's press releases, answered some questions for the article. Here is a comment I wrote:

Mark, can you post the original lab result document (showing the official stamp and/ or insignia) for each lab? The next step would be to get an independent qualified geologist/ scientist to write an expert opinion on whether the results show "usual" or any kind of earthly abundances, or show supernova abundances. Even with these 2 documents, an independent demonstration will probably be needed to attract investment (remember, you said cost and shielding should not be a problem).

As for Ed Storms, I have a lot of respect for his contributions in this field, but I am sorry to say that he is providing evasive answers here. Can you see that for whatever reasons he now wants (needs?) to distance himself from your work, but still wants to be polite about it? NanoSpire is better off dropping him from its press releases, and relying on an expert opinion, instead.

5/4/12: One of the problems is that the longer an independent demonstration is delayed, the more all the interesting pieces of the story seem to have been fit together.

I suppose the delay could be due to lack of funding, although the company has stated that the cost of running the device itself (including the cost for shielding) would be low. This leads to skepticism (rightfully) by scientists ,investors, and the community of alternate energy enthusiasts.

How about raising awareness with the general public, to jump start funding? The stories surrounding this company have everything that a reality show producer would be looking for:
(1) Being able to create materials including DIAMONDS, GOLD AND SILVER out of ordinary water.
(2) Allegations that an experiment was possibly RIGGED to fail for purposes of suppression.
(3) The inventor, tenacious in his work, endured radiation poisoning TWICE.
(4) The mystique of creating a desktop SUPERNOVA; the stuff of stars.
(5) The allure of a new cheap form of energy, out of shielded NUCLEAR EXPLOSIONS, BOTH FUSION AND FISSION, inside the desktop device.
(6) A rural Maine setting, including many artifacts from the experiment, and numerous pictures.
(7) Possible interviews with lab technicians, scientists, medical personnel, and others who were involved with the stories.

The series could culminate with a live demonstration. A well known skeptic could be asked to choose five scientists as observers. A $1 million prize could be awarded to the inventor, if a threshold amount of new elements are created and excess energy created exceeds a certain ratio.

5/20/12: I just read an article about NanoSpire that contains a lot of errors. The correct location for where the second test was performed, was the Naval Research Lab. I do not think there was any shielding used in that test, other than that provided by the PVC pipe material used as part of the experiment. It does not appear that all information has been made pubic as to how to do the experiment, since no one has come forward claiming to have replicated the results. The water jet does not "pull the cavitation bubble behind it", since by the time the water jet appears the cavitation bubble has already burst and disappeared.

5/27/12: Interesting article about Impulse Devices, a company which is still only at the stage of investigating the possibility of producing the type of fusion from cavitation which NanoSpire claims to have already performed. Impulse claims it is the world leader in Extreme Acoustic Cavitation; apparently using a different method of achieving cavitation than that used by NanoSpire. I am not aware of any current news prompting the publication of this article. The US Department of Defense grant money mentioned in the article may have been received by the company as far back as 2007.

10/18/12: Steve Krivit's two links, above, are for his New Energy Times issue #36, and the comments posted for that issue. There was a third link which showed emails received regarding that issue, but Krivit apparently recently removed from that link the following emails dated 1/31/11 from LeClair as well as Krivit's response:


To the Editor,

I would like to set the record straight and say that Steven Krivit, up to this point, was highly supportive of my discoveries. I’m surprised and disappointed that he would say that I was careless about the use of the word fusion. Steven allowed me to legally record the three hour long interview he had with me. In it, he repeatedly states his belief that I really accomplished what I claim, igniting fusion in ordinary water, with no heavy water or palladium required. As a highly accomplished fluid dynamicist who worked in the prestiguous Lockheed Missiles and Space Fluid Dynamics Group, I’m not afraid to say that my knowledge of physics and mathematics rivals anyone else in the field. At the tail end of the interview, Steven exclaims, “You did it, your really #%@ing did it!!!” We have been under attack from all quarters from those seeking to dicredit us and spread disinformation.

I will be glad to provide relevant excerpts from the transcript to protect my reputation and a fulldescription of our work to a serious journalist, willing to showcase the tremendous discoveries I have made. Unlike Focardi and Rossi, I am willing to disclose all the details, so that it will be eventually understood and allow people to make up their own minds. I feel Steven Krivit owes me (and Serge) an apology for making such a pointless and untrue remark. I have complete confidence that the truth about the LeClair Effect will become known with time. We have the courage and the knowledge to stand up against all the detractors. We will never give up the fight.

Mark LeClair,


[Ed: I apologize for inappropriately attributing your word choice to your educational background. I never believed you accomplished "fusion." You are misstating facts. Based on what you described and have shown to me, I believe you have accomplished a clear demonstration of low-energy nuclear reactions. Your work appears worthy of much credit and support, though your claim of fusion at room temperature does not. I applaud and support your courage and persistence, and I encourage your continuing success.]


I have just spoken with Steven Krivit and I accept his gracious and sincere apology. He points out that he feels we accomplished LENR, not “fusion”. That’s fine, it is semantics as far as I’m concerned. I do stand by my claim of fusion being triggered by the zero point energy release in the experiment. It was supposed to be a hot water heater powered by cavitation designed to extract zero point energy, the fusion release was an unintended byproduct. I claim fusion because I observed nuclear tracks and mass transmutation of the elements, confirmed by SEM_EDAX. XPS and LA-ICP-MS (mass spec). We saw the presence of nearly every element in the periodic table imbedded into a diamond matrix covering the core of the experiment. The transmuted particles were so radioactive they cooked the clear plastic dishes they were placed in after the experiment. This stopped a week after the experiment, a clear sign of short-lived isotopes, the mass spec anaysis confirmed this. Mass spec is the gold standard and showed the transmuted particles followed supernova isotope ratios (All 80 or so ratios were close to one) and none resembled earthly abundances. All of this is hard to rationally explain as other than being generated by nuclear fusion. There were other many other profound effects we observed that were not subtle as well and equally hard to explain. The experiment gave off powerful crested cnoid de Broglie Matter wave soliton wave packages that were doubly periodic and followed the Jacobi Elliptic functions exactly, mostly in the form of large doubly-periodic vortices. Hundreds of wave trains and vortices appeared everywhere and are permanently burned into walls, objects and trees surrounding the lab.
Mark LeClair,

Has Steve Krivit changed his opinion regarding NanoSpire, now that these emails no longer appear on his website?

Read my next article: Cavitation Transmutation: Take This Viral!. Future updates will be posted there.


  1. If any of the scores of clean unlimited energy claimants had anything they would either:
    1. Release it to the world and instantly become immortalized as those who eliminated energy and resource conflict, as those who brought peace on Earth. They could forget the engineering of the technology, their financial future would be assured from the story alone.
    2.Bring in a reputable scientist to validate the technology, such as
    He is a fan of Rossi and is surely willing to help advance such a momentous development.
    3.Publicize their claim to the maximum.

    Since NanoSpire do none of the above I suggest you move on.
    best wishes

  2. Brillouin Energy Corp. (BEC) is developing the ultimate in clean green renewable energy. The process uses the H out of ordinary H2O to build Helium. It produces no penetrating radiation or long lived dangerous waste.

    Be sure to check out our Phase 2 results paper at
    We achieved this having raised only $450K and the device is not even complete yet.

    BEC has already exceeded twice the thermal equivalent energy out as electrical energy fed into the boiler or (2X) under stable controlled operation. A Professional Engineer specializing in heat flow analysis has verified this claim. Tom Claytor at LANL was able to independently verify nuclear reactions by designing an experiment based on the information in our technical PowerPoint at
    BEC expects to far exceed that making the technology a valuable industrial heat source that can dramatically reduced the use of carbon and fission based heat sources (i.e. coal, oil, gas, and existing nuclear). At 10x the technology can generate electricity and at 15x it will fit under the hood of a car for a hybrid electric vehicle with no toxic or green house emissions and virtually unlimited range.

    I have recently figured out additional IP to fully control a dry version that can directly replace the boiler in existing dirty coal plants about to by shut down by the new EPA rules.

    If you know people investing in green energy they should look at

  3. From the interview conducted by Sterling D. Allan of Pure Energy Systems with the cavitation process inventor; Mark LeClair, I get the impression that LeClair wants to develop a more traditional nuclear reactor along the lines that provide radiation protection and centralize economies of scale type heat production.

    But he seems to be fixated on water as the cavatation medium. I believe that this fixation on water is a mistake. As history has shown, water is not an optimum solution for a more traditional type of nuclear reaction technology.

    Cavitation in water has severe limitations. The temperature range at which cavitation occurs in water is limited to occur below the boiling point of water and is more productive in heat generation at the lower end of the liquid water temperature scale.

    Also increased water pressure over ambient is destructive to cavitation efficiency where the best performance is achieved at ambient atmospheric pressure.

    A water based reactor design was conceived and tested early on in the history in the development of nuclear reactors. This type of nuclear reactor was called the Aqueous homogeneous reactor.

    For a description and some history about the Aqueous homogeneous reactor see:

    To get around its many problems, it was replaced by the molten salt reactor. This type of reactor uses fluoride salts as a coolant and a fuel carrier.

    Molten fluoride salts and water are nearly identical when it comes to the performance of pump based cavitation.

    This is where LeClair must go to make best use of his effect.

    I described such a reactor design using thorium as a breading stock and cavitation as a neutron source back in 2009 called the Ultrasonic LFTR.

    Many of the cold fusion threads have been removed from this site but to my surprise this thread remains.