back to article TRANSMUTATION claims US LENR company

Yet another set of astonishing claims is being made for yet another “low energy nuclear reactions” (LENR) technology. A Californian outfit called Solar Hydrogen Trends is claiming to have a highly efficient process using solar energy to produce hydrogen from water. Specifically, in this release the company claims to turn one …

  1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

    I can't even be bothered to compute how much the energy difference is between 414 watt hour and the actual energy needed to split 200 kg of Oxygen nuclei.

    1. James Micallef Silver badge

      no transmutation at all

      as the paragraph before last says: "200,000 litres should weigh 18 kg."

      and from the 3rd paragraph "If the SHT barrel was equivalent to a 159 litre oil barrel, the starting water had only around 18 kg of hydrogen and 141 kg of oxygen"

      So it's simple electrolysis, there was 18kg of hydrogen in the original water that's now been extracted to 18kg (200,000 l, or 2000 m^3) of H2. According to this:

      current industrial electrolysis consumes 2.94 kWh/m^3 of hydrogen produced, so would require 5880 kWh.

      This statement from the release: “the external energy needed to make these 208,678 litres of pure hydrogen ... averaged at 414 watt hour = 4.6 volts x 90 amps.” is missing an essential part of the release, which is that teh process was completed in 1 hr (without that qualification you just have 414W for an indeterminate time, adding teh 1hr qualifier brings us to the claimed 414Wh)

      "[the performance of the test system] increased to 127 cfm or 215,800 liters per hour"

      So they are basically saying that on an experimental / non-industrial test rig, they required 414Wh to do what the current best industria rigs requires 5880kWh to do.

      That is an extraordinary claim, and as such requires extraordinary proof.

      1. Brad Arnold

        Re: no transmutation at all

        Here's your "extraordinary proof" buddy. OTH, I suppose you can just keep howling for more because you can't wrap your head around it.

        1. bachcole

          Re: no transmutation at all

          I believe that Andrea Rossi's E-Cat is real. I find that the SHT claims to be just a little too much even for me. I would require a lot more confirmation before I would believe it. Rossi has just one "little" hurdle to get over: fusion by getting around or under or through the Coulomb barrier. SHT has a whole bunch of hurdles to get over. I will not put them down like some moral retards do here, but I will await more confirmations before I will even get excited about it. Right now, it is just a little bit embarrassing; I wish that the author had not used the acronym "LENR" to describe it.

        2. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

          Re: no transmutation at all

          Here's your "extraordinary proof" buddy.

          Hilarious. (I know picking on Brad is a bit unfair - unarmed man and all that - but it's hard to pass this one up.)

          That link is a bunch of cheerleading from a site that exists to lead cheers, a press release, and a one-page document purporting to come from a commercial environmental-measurements firm (TRC Environmental). None of that constitutes "proof" in any useful sense of the word. Of course, in Grownup Physical Science we don't talk about "proof" anyway, except in the context of formal abstractions (mathematics).

          Even assuming the TRC Environmental report is genuine, that they're a reputable company (cursory inspection suggests yes), and that they did a competent job, all they did was hook up some instruments to power input and vent output, and report them. They did the lab tech's job.

          The actual mechanism is a black box. There's nothing to show it wasn't just a tank of hydrogen gas and a regulator. There's no actual analysis. There's no control. There's no reproduction by uninterested third parties.

          This isn't extraordinary evidence to support SHT's claims, and it's not even science. It almost makes it to the level of grade-school Science Fair.

          (On the other hand, "Extraordinary Proof Buddy" is a good euphemism for a hip flask full of moonshine.)

  2. KrisMac

    SHT is commonly used in SMS's

    to mean SHiT... I guess prescience happens...

  3. Fun Fun

    Why bother reporting this?

    Because it is a US company, it must be exceptional?

    If it was a Nigerian company, would the Reg report?

    Take a closer look at EmDrive. It is worth the effort.

    1. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

      I thought I recognised this as previously debunked junk

      I went to the website, pointed my browser at 'theorypaper9-4.pdf' and got and empty file. wget says 403 forbidden so the EmDrive fully lived up to my expectations. There is a 'principle of operation' page. The diagram has changed since last time.

      Before, the magic chamber was a triangle, and the mathematics showed that the force on the roof was smaller than the sum of the forces on the other two sides. The mathematics conveniently used scaler addition, even though all three forces were in different directions. The correct mathematics would have summed the vertical components of the three forces and got the inconvenient result of 0. Despite the glaring defect in the mathematics, the project was still funded by the UK government.

      This time, the picture is a trapezium, and the hand waving fuzzy argument talks about an EM wave with a 'large velocity difference at the reflector surfaces'. Electromagnetic waves all travel at the same velocity in vacuum. To get a velocity difference, you need two different materials, or a mixture of materials that smoothly changes composition with distance. As reading the theory is forbidden, I can only guess at the technique used to hide the defective mathematics. The way I would do it is to focus on the radiation pressure from reflection at the two ends and not mention the force on the (unshown) graded material in the middle.

      1. MacroRodent

        Re: I thought I recognised this as previously debunked junk

        What gets my BS detectors going about emDrive is that the proposed machine is so simple that replicating the results should be feasible even by fairly modest laboratory equipment, and it shouldn't cost much. Get a tunable microwawe source, then do some metal bending. So why don't we get a flood of success reports?

        1. Vladimir Plouzhnikov

          Re: I thought I recognised this as previously debunked junk

          "So why don't we get a flood of success reports?"

          Well, so far there has been a successful Chinese test which nobody has taken seriously and, last year, a successful preliminary test by NASA APPL, which has been conducted in normal atmosphere, unfortunately. I am waiting with interest for the results of a vacuum test in (hopefully near) the future.

          1. phil dude

            Re: I thought I recognised this as previously debunked junk

            Quite. And if you need to get excited, just realize there is plenty of physics left to be explained!!

            This might have something to do with it (the "EM drive", not what this article is on about)...

            I too, want some *really* competent experimental setup to quantify it...


          2. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

            Re: I thought I recognised this as previously debunked junk

            Well, so far there has been a successful Chinese test which nobody has taken seriously and, last year, a successful preliminary test by NASA APPL

            There are always successful Chinese tests and successful tests by NASA or ex-russian researchers now living in Lithuania.

            Then nothing happens. Until the news cycle wheel turns again.

    2. Brad Arnold

      I agree the Em drive (which creates thrust without using fuel, and will inevitably be a major development in space travel) is phenomenal. But, like LENR from this company, the Em drive had TWO valid third-party validations, and people still doubted it, until (and many still do doubt it) NASA validated it too.

      1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

        the Em drive (which creates thrust without using fuel

        Sigh. The EmDrive, if it works1, consumes energy, which has to come from something. Whatever that something is, it's going from a higher energy state to a lower one, which makes it "fuel" for all intents.

        What the EmDrive doesn't need is reaction mass, since it gets its reaction from electromagnetic radiation, which has no (rest) mass. The advantage of such a drive is that you don't have to hoist reaction mass out of the planet's gravitational well, and don't have to lug around most of your reaction mass for the rest of the trip.

        1Personally, I don't immediately see anything wrong with it. It's expending energy, so there's no obvious thermodynamics objection. Photons don't have rest mass but they do have momentum, so there's no obvious conservation-of-momentum objection. I don't see offhand how it's very different in principle from a standard photonic drive - you throw EM out the back and get a (small) impulse forward. But I haven't looked into it at all, just skimmed the Reg story.

        1. razorfishsl

          So if Photons don't have mass, then why are they bent towards a black hole?

          1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

            So if Photons don't have mass, then why are they bent towards a black hole?

            (They don't have rest mass. But that distinction isn't really relevant to your question.)

            I'm sure this has been asked and answered in any number of Reg comment forums for stories like this one, but the short version is that photons follow the curvature of spacetime, This operates just as predicted by general relativity, as has been demonstrated by e.g. the Pound-Rebka experiment.

  4. Alan Birtles

    4.6 volts * 90 amps = 414 watt hours? no, try 414 watts per hour, they don't say how long they run their kit for so there is no way of knowing how much energy they actually use!

    1. Andrew Carter

      No, guess again. P=VI. Power is measured in Watts. That's it. So the -power- is 414 Watts, not Watt hours and not Watts per hour. 1 Watt is 1 Joule/second. So you can multiply by time to get a measure of energy in Joules.

    2. James Micallef Silver badge

      It's not in el Reg article, but in the linked press release it says they got teh claimed volume of gas in 1hr of operation. So you are right, 4.6 volts * 90 amps = 414 watts, not watt hours, they need to clarify 414 watts X 1 hr = 414 watt hours

  5. Mystic Megabyte


    Now I can has solar powered jetpack.

    1. frank ly

      Re: Whoopie!

      Be careful not to fly too far away from the sun.

      1. cray74

        Re: Whoopie!

        Isn't the problem usually the opposite? Fly too close to the sun and structural adhesives in the dorsal flying apparatus exceed their operating temperatures?

  6. Longrod_von_Hugendong

    Clever people to dumb people....

    interface issue - The clever people tell the marketing people something, this happens...

    and we get a dumb press release.

  7. bonkers

    Oxygen transmuting to Hydrogen

    This is worse than filing the corners off 50p's to get 10p's.

    The binding energy per nucleon in Oxygen is 8MeV, for Hydrogen it is zero.

    So, per gram of oxygen, or of hydrogen, you need 8M x e x Ea = 7.68 x 10^11 Joules

    - or about 200kWh per gram, in money terms (at 10p per unit) £21,000.

    The economics are, take 200kG of water plus 4 billion quid and you have 200kg of Hydrogen to sell.


    1. Vladimir Plouzhnikov

      Re: Oxygen transmuting to Hydrogen

      The economics here is - give them a million bucks, they will say "thank you" and disappear.

      It's simply a scam.

      1. Robert Helpmann??

        Re: Oxygen transmuting to Hydrogen

        How to make a million bucks:

        1) Start with two million bucks

        2) Give half of that to these guys

      2. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

        Re: Oxygen transmuting to Hydrogen

        The economics here is - give them a million bucks, they will say "thank you" and disappear.

        Yes, but note their process seems to be much more efficient than the E-CAT's - they're attracting interest from the loonies with far fewer "tests". Surely that's an advance in the state of the art?

        1. Vladimir Plouzhnikov

          Re: Oxygen transmuting to Hydrogen

          Yes, but I'd say still a long way from the prowess of your typical Nigerian 419er...

        2. FredZarguna

          Re: Oxygen transmuting to Hydrogen

          The number of potential customers born every minute has not changed.

  8. Vic

    Whatever else might be said of these claims...

    the process of transmutation of oxygen into hydrogen in the last test was more active utter bullshit.


  9. Joe 35

    "Ignoring that issue"

    Errrrmmm..... why would you ignore the issue of producing 200kg of hydrogen when you started with 18 and in total only have a mass of 159kg?"

    Why indeed would you even read on past that point?

    1. Tim Bergel

      Re: "Ignoring that issue"

      "Why indeed would you even read on past that point?"

      Because it's fairly clear from elsewhere that they actually only got 18 Kg of hydrogen?

  10. cortland


    Who left out the vowel?

  11. Frumious Bandersnatch


    Wouldn't that involve messing with the number of protons and neutrons in the material, as in transmuting lead to gold? If "transmuting" isn't the right word to describe breaking of chemical bonds, I vote for "transmogrifying" in honour of Calvin & Hobbes.

    1. Vic

      Re: transmutation?

      I vote for "transmogrifying" in honour of Calvin & Hobbes.

      I thought that was Red Dwarf...


      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: transmogrification?

        The Oxford Dictionary says Transmogrify comes from the 17th century:

        I don't know which word in the dictionary would be the most appropriate to describe the SHT in this picture.

        1. David Pollard


          Is this some sort of a quantum shift associated with Schrödinger's cat?

    2. Stretch

      Re: transmutation?

      well there are enough of those in one oxygen atom to make 8 hydrogen atoms via fission you would have thought. but that isn't about chemical bonds, and all of the "research" seems to be crap anyway. so yeah sure, transmogrify away.

  12. Mark 85

    It must be August

    In the news world August used to be the "silly season"... aliens, bigfoot, various sea monsters, etc. I guess those have been replaced by tranmorgified physics.

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

      Re: It must be August

      ...and ISIS, GAZA as well as MUH UKRAINE. And the "sanctions" tit-for-tat idiocy (with reimbursements of companies sitting on unsold stock to boot)

      Nuke because my list of people I want to herd onto a ground zero is getting longer and longer.

  13. Brad Arnold

    I don't know why people have such a hard time understanding that a reputable third-party verification means the technology is valid. Frankly, most people posting here are thick as a brick - they don't deserve almost free, clean energy.

    1. DainB Bronze badge

      Reputable ? How do you know ?

      "The names of those test groups remains confidential, as they do now like their names being published."


  14. David Pollard

    The Orion Project Reloaded

    This overunity energy generation has much of the look and feel of Steven Greer's proposals to solve the world's problems, which probably attracted a good few dollars in its heyday.

  15. bachcole

    Transmutations are already here.

    I doubt SHT because of the massive amount of transmutations. I will be happy to see the evidence that I am wrong. However, there are many LENR and LENR+ researchers who do report transmutations, including Toyota, Mitsubishi, Mike McKubre at SRI, and many others.

    Being paradigm nimble is not easy. It is not for the cowardly or the philosophically retarded. Only those willing to look at the evidence with a clear and unbiased mind will see it.

    1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

      Re: Transmutations are already here.

      there are many LENR and LENR+ researchers who do report transmutations, including ... Mike McKubre at SRI


      From the 2004 DoD report "Report of the Review of Low Energy Nuclear Reactions", on which McKubre is the second author:

      The hypothesis that excess energy production in electrolytic cells is due to low energy nuclear reactions was tested in some experiments by looking for D + D fusion reaction products, in particular 4He, normally produced in about 1 in 107 in hot D + D fusion reactions. Results reported in the review document purported to show that 4He was detected in five out of sixteen cases where electrolytic cells were reported to be producing excess heat. The detected 4He was typically very close to, but reportedly above background levels. This evidence was taken as convincing or somewhat convincing by some reviewers; for others the lack of consistency was an indication that the overall hypothesis was not justified.

      Note: "close to, but reportedly above", "for others ... the overall hypothesis was not justified". Transmutation evidence thus far for LENR is not compelling. (And this is fusion transmutation; SHT is claiming fission, with O->H. O->H transmutation should release enough nucleon binding energy to make a nifty hole in the ground. I'm not going to bother to do the math, since I don't believe any of their numbers anyway, but 8MeV per oxygen atom adds up.)

      Here in the world of real science - where people like McKubre work - the standard of evidence is a bit higher than that. Maybe there were fusion products that included transmuted elements. Jury's still out.

      Being paradigm nimble is not easy

      Man, Kuhn created a fascinating religion. Pity so few of his acolytes seem to actually understand his work. (And pity his work is so inherently flawed, but philosophy of science has always been pretty problematic. Take Kuhn plus Thagard's critique, add Latour and the SKS folks, a solid understanding of Bayesian reasoning, and a broad overview of the variety of unconscious fallacies documented by experimental psychology, and you might have a decent first approximation of scientific epistemology.)

      1. bonkers

        Re: Transmutations are already here.

        you should bother to do the "math" - look at my post earlier, the "8MeV per Oxygen atom" sure does add up, its the cost in energy terms of breaking it back down into protons.

        It's worse even than my first calcualtions - there are 16 nucleons in Oxygen, so its 128MeV per atom - and if you do break it down in to Hydrogen, what do you do with all the neutrons?

        Somebody's dropped a minus sign....

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re. transmutations are already here

    Happens all the time in nature, one element changes into another through radioactive decay.

    It is always the case that element number decreases by 1 or 2 however.

    The main reason that EM radiation cannot affect this process is that the electron cloud is too far away from the nucleus and has too small a mass to have any effect which is also why temperature does not affect radioactive decay.

    However, there is a small possibility that under certain conditions if the electrons can be made briefly "heavier" ie by increasing their velocity then there may be a small effect.

  17. FredZarguna

    The problem isn't that the drive uses photons to carry off momentum, but with the claim by the inventor that it DOESN'T work that way. He essentially claims the interior of the drive is a wave guide, and that forward moving photons in the wave guide have greater momentum by virtue of the spacecraft moving forward than photons moving backwards in the wave guide. This gives rise to a net greater momentum imparted to the front of the drive from reflected photons than the momentum imparted by backward moving photons bashing into the back of the drive, thus pushing the spacecraft forward. [In brief: photons don't "go out the back of the drive," but impart momentum by a currently questionable process.]

  18. acsource

    Was it a 208 kg barrel?

    This article assumes a barrel of water to weigh 159 kg, based on 159 liters, the same volume as the traditional barrel of oil. But if the volume was 55 gallons, as is typical for barrels of water, the math seems to work, as the original weight would have been 208 kg. Of course, this suggests that ALL of the oxygen was converted, which would be pretty amazing.

  19. Rudegar

    The critics have spoken. By popular acclaim Rossi LENR E- Cat turns nuclear physics on it's head!

    "We agree that what is reported is amazing. . . something that would set the entire nuclear physics on its head. This goes against all the accumulated nuclear physics knowledge collected over the last 100 years. . . rewrite the textbooks, we believe . . . thoroughly investigate."

    Stephan Pomp, Professor, Uppsala University

    Göran Ericsson, Professor, Uppsala University

    Peter Ekström, Professor Emeritus, University of Lund

    Ane Håkansson, Professor, Uppsala University

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