I would like to clarify some points in response to Mark David Butler (Forum, Sept. 7) concerning his criticism of the comments made about "cold-fusion lingo" (Forum, Aug. 30).
First, an editor had deleted a salient paragraph, which stated, "In a Canadian TV broadcast (CBC Prime Time News) in 1993, Fleischmann, showing a cell, states, `This cell is producing 150 watts of energy.' " As Butler correctly states, a watt is not a unit of energy. It makes no sense to say watts of energy. The statement is devoid of any meaning, and to repeat it ad nauseam for five years is an affront to intelligence.Butler outlines an ideal experiment that generates a constant amount of power over a period of time. In this case, the energy output is simply the product of the time rate of energy output and the time. In the case of cold fusion cells, much energy has to be pumped into the cell, sometimes for days, before the cell begins to produce more power than the power required to continue running the cell. Any claims of excess energy must account for all the energy that has been put into the cell prior to operation and during operation.
To clarify this point, assume we operate an automobile engine that produces 400 horsepower for one hour. The useful energy output is then 400 horsepower-hours. But more than 400 horsepower-hours of energy came from the gas tank because of energy losses due to friction and heat out of the exhaust pipe. The power and energy ratios are far from being the same, because the energy stored in the gas tank took eons of time to store. Once the gas tank is empty, is it still a 400 horsepower engine?
Any known source of power, including Utah Power, depends on a source of energy, which ultimately derives the energy by the conversion of matter into energy. Incidentally, are the units we purchase from Utah Power units of power or units of energy? Is it not significant that the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office classifies the Pons and Fleischmann applications as perpetual motion devices and refuses to grant a patent?
Barton J. Howell
Salt Lake City