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How to get the right catalyst?

Written by Robert Greenyer on .

There is a lot of debate around what catalysts lead to successful LENR, one compound that seams to crop up again and again is various Iron Oxides - Bob Higgins has talked about the importance of this and has even published a way to process Nickel and Iron Oxides into what may be part of an effective LENR fuel mix.

With respect to the recent report by Ólafsson and Holmlid, Ecco mentioned this

"Holmlid used Shell 105 catalyst (Fe2O3-K based with >8% K content) - and only that (!!) - as an ultra-dense Rydberg state Deuterium generator because it's convenient to use, cheap and apparently because it works out of the box without further treatment (as also confirmed by Sveinn Ólafsson on LENR-Forum)."

So there is an off-the shelf catalyst that just works for production of ultra-dense Rydberg state Deuterium - well that is all very well - but how does that teach us anything about what goes into making a catalyst and why?

Well, this paper from early 2010 (before Rossi's first demo), written by 
Sreelekha Benny, Department of Chemistry, University College London in the Johnson Matthey Technology Centre has a great discussion on Iron Oxide catalysts and dopants, note that Parkhomov had nearly 3.7% Mn and over 20% Al in his fuel by atom%

Catalyst Study

From page 102
Doping magnetite with Al3+ produces the most negative defect energy of -4.63eV but from page 104 you can see that Mn3+ has the lowest solution energy.

From page 111
Look at where Al and Mn cation dopants sit on the plot

From page 116
"It has been reported that Al2O3 exists as a separate phase in the hematite bulk with a high thermal stability and that the catalytic activity increases with temperature"

From page 122-123
"The ions with similar radii as Fe3+ such as Cr3+, Mn3+, V3+ and Ti3+ possess similar solution energies and they form solid solutions in the bulk of hematite, whereas Al3+ is soluble in the surface. The bigger ions, Y3+ and La3+ would be expected to form separate oxide layers." 

Note that Al3+ is the only dopant soluble in the surface.

Again, from page 123
"Finally by comparing all these energies, Al3+, Mn3+ and Ti3+ could be suitable alternatives for Cr3+. However, Ti3+ is not considered due to its anticipated electron transfer with Fe3+ and a tendency to remain in the Ti4+ oxidation state. As Al3+ is harmless and the behaviour of Mn3+ is similar to Cr3+, these two dopants have been chosen for further study."

So, the suggestion by this author is to only study Al3+ and Mn3+ which as said above, is both present in Parkhomov fuel

In the next section they compare these two as dopants with the problem child Cr, the stability and the effect of magnetic fuel in ferro and para magnetic states.

Very interestingly, on page 149
"To conclude this part, the Fe-Al-O solid solution is meta-stable with respect to the separated phases and the mixed solution will only exists at very high temperature. The calculated results verify the results reported by some authors18,21 that the solution is stable above 1600K."

That's 1326.85ºC

From page 151

"In the preparation of active WGS catalysts, the precursor material, hematite is reduced to magnetite." 

Could the initial slow release of H2 from LiAlH4 perform this function if hematite is included?

From page 174
"The Al3+ - doped system has the most disorder at low temperature, while the Mn3+- doped system shows the most extensive disorder at high temperatures."

From page 202
"Aluminium shows a particular tendency to promote oxygen vacancies even if they are in the tetrahedral sites, suggesting that the presence of aluminium will enhance the surface [catalytic] reactivity by producing oxygen vacancies more easily."

From Page 203
"Addition of impurities affects the stability of the surface; for example, the presence of aluminium and divalent manganese increases the surface stability, whereas, chromium, aluminium and manganese in their trivalent oxidation state should make the surface more active by promoting oxygen vacancy formation. Aluminium-doped magnetite leads to highly stable surface encouraging large surface area. "

From page 207
"It is generally accepted that the role of chromium in the WGS reaction is to prevent sintering, increase the surface area of the catalyst and suppress the over-reduction of the active catalyst" 

Could Aluminium play a similar anti-sintering role on Nickel also?

In fact, could any of the above work in a similar way with Nickel, but doesn't that take us back to Raney-Nickel?

And with the addition of Lithium, what compounds and structures are made with Iron Oxide, manganese and Aluminium - maybe the battery business has the answers?


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0 #64 axil 2015-10-08 19:17

You said:

"What if Lithium, as a penetrating corrosive agent (especially in the case of Nickel), is accelerating the embrittlement/c orrosion process so that eventually, yet at a quicker rate than normal, the right nanoscale structures can appear on the metal?"

This is a good observation. This fits in with the fuel preprocessing that Rossi has done as seen in the Lugano test. The 100 micron nickel particle that the preprocess method produces is covered with lithium throughout its entire surface area. During preprocessing, the application of lithium at high temperatures might erode the surface of the nickel particle(S) to form nanocavities as happens in palladium at high hydrogen loading levels. Maybe the crack idea of Ed Storms holds merit.

Parkhomov uses a low quality powder with lots of carbon on the surface. Lithium processing might erode that carbon and leave nano cavities on the surface of the nickel powder as occurs in palladium at high hydrogen loading. Maybe the Russian nickel powder is good because it is so poor in production. A powder with abundant carbon content might be the best type of powder to use.

Furthermore, the surface of the nickel powder becomes saturated with lithium to the point where lithium is no longer consumed in nickel alloying. When the reaction begins with LAH, lithium is no longer consumed and remains free and available for the LENR reaction to use.

Another thing that could be happening in the high carbon surface preprocessing of Russian nickel powder is that lithium carbide is formed on the surface of the powder. These lithium compound might produce both lithium and hydrogen Rydberg matter during the reaction stage through a desorption process.
0 #63 axil 2015-10-07 06:14
I also found this article that explains how the Rydberg matter catalysts work.

Maybe someone might be kind enough to explain this article to me in simple terms.

First-principles studies on K-promoted porous iron oxide catalysts

0 #62 axil 2015-10-05 19:39
High temperature lithium corrosion seems to be presenting a major problem in material engineering of the LENR ceramic tube reactor. Using a metal tube is problematical because lithium dissolves metals through a voracious alloying process and ceramics are short lived because lithium readily combines with oxygen, nitrogen, and carbon until a saturation point is reached. When a lot of lithium is needed that saturation point might not occur until after the ceramic tube has failed.

I would bet that Rossi is trying to find a lithium resistant material for the tube of his new the E-Cat-X reactor. Very high operating temperatures that the E-Cat X is running at makes lithium vapor corrosion intense.

One solution to this very difficult high temperature corrosion problem might be to uses a ceramic that contains lithium that has already reached the saturation level. "LITHIUM DISILICATE GLASS" might be resistant to lithium corrosion. A test of this material that is an alternative ceramic material used in dental crowns might be worth testing for high temperature lithium corrosion resistance.

http://sgiglass.com/ is a supplier and fabricator of this material. Such a fabricator might be tasked to produce a tube made from this material.

This solution might be out of the price range of the typical replicator.

Another idea is to use this glass as a surface coating just a few nanometers thick on both the inside and outside of a refractory metal tube using vapor disposition. Because we would be using a minimum of bulk material this method would not cost too much to do if the replicator can do it himself. The expansion of the coating would need to match the expansion coefficient of the refractory metal that is being used(tungsten?) .
0 #61 EccoEcco 2015-10-05 04:32
@Robert Greenyer: hi and thanksthanks. I was unsure whether to use Ecco2 or not. As it would have been slightly awkward (ecCO2? ECco2?) and perhaps ecco-unfriendly , I opted for EccoEcco.
0 #60 Robert Greenyer 2015-10-04 20:01

Welcome back Ecco, Love the new name! Better than EverEver!
0 #59 EccoEcco 2015-10-03 14:16
If needed (since suitable ones, with no more than 1-2% wt. potassium content also seem hard to easily find - too much K apparently negatively affects ultra-dense hydrogen formation), iron oxide-potassium catalysts could be manually prepared from hematite, potassium carbonate and a "structural promoter" (needed to increase surface area and avoid sintering), such as chromium oxide or aluminium oxide. The mixed compound is calcined at a relatively high temperature (~600 °C), then partially reduced. This final partial reduction step is what makes the catalyst active. The process should be in some ways similar to Bob Higgins' sintered nickel-iron powder process as described here. Using Ni wouldn't be needed however:


The processed powder could be compressed into pellets as some Russian researchers are doing with titanium powder. This would make handling easier. Lithium could still be used as a hydrogen getter somewhere in the reactor for inducing a continuous and more or less controlled hydrogen flux over the hydrogen splitting iron-potassium catalyst.

A related read:


The main precursors of the technical catalyst are hematite (Fe 2 O 3 ) and the promotor potassium carbonate (K 2 CO 3 ) which are mixed and calcined. Small amounts of other metal oxides like Cr 2 O 3 , are added as structural promoters to stabilize the catalyst morphology and prevent sintering. Promotion of iron oxide with potassium enhances the reactivity of iron oxide by an order of magnitude and reduces the formation of carbonaceous surface deposits (here shortly called coke) that deactivate the catalysts
0 #58 axil 2015-10-01 20:41
I have been looking into alkali metal dispenser technology.


In some embodiments, an alkali metal dispenser composition of the present invention comprises:

a. an alkali metal source that comprises rubidium;
b. a getter for alkali metals that comprises gold;
c. a reducing agent that comprises carbon; and
d. an alloy, wherein the alloy comprises rubidium atoms from the alkali metal source (a) and gold atoms from the getter (b).

There are many chemical variations of this formulation current in the alkali metal dispenser business.

From the Lugano test report at the very end, the fuel mix that Rossi used included a number of elements in his fuel mix that were a puzzle. It is a puzzle that begs to be solved. Those elements might have been part of his lithium dispenser method. Rydberg matter may require that the alkili metal be ionized and reconvened as in vapor disposition. This may be why Rossi added those seemingly unrelated elements to his fuel mix. They may first combine with lithium at low temperatures, then re-emit the alkili metal in ionized form at higher temperatures from which Rydberg matter condenses.

It might be advantageous for the replicators of the Rossi reactor to look into how these alkali metal dispenser work. One concrete example of one is the iron oxide potassium catalyst that Holmlid uses in his experiments.

Also, the dirty and impure materials used by Parkhomov may be the key to why his reactors work and our clean replications do not.

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