This article is marked as 'retired'. The information here may be out of date and/or incomplete.
A man named Randell Mills claims that his company, Blacklight Power, has produced a prototype power generator which only uses tiny amounts of water as fuel, gives off very little waste, yet produces a thousand times more heat than conventional fuel. The key, he says, is a form of hydrogen atom called a “hydrino,” comprised of only one electron and one proton. He claims that the hydrino’s electron orbits its nucleus slightly closer than normal, and that the formation of hydrinos from conventional hydrogen releases huge amounts of energy.
But according to the theory of quantum mechanics, the rules which describe the behavior of atoms, Mills’ hydrino is physically impossible. The theory allows for no variation from the fixed distance between the electron and the nucleus in hydrogen. If Mills turns out to be correct, the entire field of quantum mechanics will be thrown into question.
From the Guardian article:
Rick Maas, a chemist at the University of North Carolina at Asheville (UNC) who specialises in sustainable energy sources, was allowed unfettered access to Blacklight’s laboratories this year. “We went in with a healthy amount of scepticism. While it would certainly be nice if this were true, in my position as head of a research institution, I really wouldn’t want to make a mistake. The last thing I want is to be remembered as the person who derailed a lot of sustainable energy investment into something that wasn’t real.”
But Prof Maas and Randy Booker, a UNC physicist, left under no doubt about Dr Mill’s claims. “All of us who are not quantum physicists are looking at Dr Mills’s data and we find it very compelling,” said Prof Maas. “Dr Booker and I have both put our professional reputations on the line as far as that goes.”
Tens of millions of dollars have been invested in the research, including some from NASA’s institute of advanced concepts. Blacklight Power hopes to have a small unit for heating homes available within four years, followed some time later with a scaled-up version to be used in power plants to produce electricity for communities.
As is true with all outlandish claims of clean alternative energy, it is wise to bring a biggie-size grain-o’-salt, and to practice extremely cautious optimism. It will be cool if it comes to fruition, but that’s a big IF.