The potential benefits of LENR are immense. The case of LENR would perhaps be only marginal interest if the stakes weren’t so high.
The world has a great need for low-cost, abundant, clean, and versatile new sources of energy. Not only would energy from LENR be cheap and virtually inexhaustible, it would also be environmentally secure, with a little or no waste, no hazardous radiation, and no greenhouse gas emissions. LENR may also be flexible in deployment in either (or both) a centralized (e.g., power plants) or a distributed (e.g., home heating) configuration.
LENR is hypothesized to be a type of nuclear reaction that takes place at much lower temperatures than hot fusion, which occurs in the sun and other stars. A nuclear reaction is proposed because the amount of energy released when it occurs is much larger than can be accounted for by chemical reactions. Besides this “excess heat” (or excess power), signatures of LENR include low (non-harmful) levels of radiation, production of helium and/or tritium, and elemental transmutation.
The initial – and most common – explanation involves “loading” of the metal palladium with hydrogen atoms, which enter the metal lattice under proper conditions. However, many other hypotheses have also been proposed. Currently, LENR R&D advances are hindered by lack of an adequate explanation and insufficient reproducibility.
The modern era of the LENR field begin on March 23, 1989, when it was announced by scientists Martin Fleischman and Stanley Pons at a press conference at the University of Utah. LENR was highly controversial from the beginning because of how it was announced and the fact that it does not appear to be consistent with current understanding of nuclear physics. LENR was rejected by the mainstream scientific community during a series of conferences and other events within a year or so.
Despite this rejection, research has continued by many investigators in a variety of settings worldwide. A large and growing body of evidence indicates that LENR is a real phenomenon, and it’s benefits made yet to be realized.
Public policies toward LENR generally followed the rejection and are for the most part negative. The changing landscape of LENR provides the basis for public policy updates both for its support to realize its benefits and for preparing proactively to address its potential adverse secondary impacts. LENRGY performs policy analysis for LENR support and realization utilizing evidence-based policymaking as a foundation. For secondary impact analysis and mitigation planning, LENRGY uses technology assessment methodologies.
Additional information is available from several sources (in progress):