Dick Smith offers $1 million for proof of cold fusion technology

Australian Skeptics patron, Dick Smith, will give $1,000,000, with no strings attached, to an Italian inventor if he can prove his cold fusion invention works.

“I do not want to know how the unit operates, nor to have a share in the profits from any sales,” Smith says. “My satisfaction will come from knowing that if the unit is successful, some of the world’s greatest problems – especially in relation to climate change – will be solved.”

Cold fusion technology (now described as low energy nuclear reaction) promises unlimited, clean, cheap, safe, and waste-free energy, but to date no-one has been able to develop a properly working system.

Smith says that the energy catalyser (ECAT) technology invented by Andrea Rossi of Bologna has been through a number of tests, some of which have been endorsed by international scientists but others which have proved unsuccessful or inconclusive, raising doubts that the technology works as described.

His criterion for the proposed test is to repeat a demonstration from March 29, 2011 at which two Swedish scientists were present, and who apparently endorsed the technology.

But Ian Bryce, chief investigator for Australian Skeptics (Smith is patron of the group) has suggested there may be an alternative to how the technology seemed to work.

Bryce says that a mis-wiring of the ECAT could have provided the same energy that the scientists thought came via a cold fusion reaction.

Smith has asked that the same Swedish scientists (if available) be present for the retest, as well as a third person to assist with the measuring equipment used to test output and ensure its accuracy “so that there are no doubts that the scientific community will accept the results”.

Rossi has touted the technology for some time, and has sought licensees to distribute the finished product internationally. It was one such prospective licensee from the NSW North Coast who first alerted Smith to the ECAT in the hope that he would invest $200,000 in a distribution deal.

Rossi says he expects to have ECAT units for sale by the end of this year. But Smith says he is not concerned if the technology takes some time to finalise development, just that it is proved to work in the first instance.

Smith says that the advantage of his offer is that Rossi “can show the sceptics (I am presently one of them) that the unit actually works as you have claimed”.

“You will receive attention from around the world and a well-deserved Nobel Prize. I will consider I have had value for my money as the person who actually proves that your unit works (or doesn’t) – an issue that will be resolved for all time.”

Smith has said his offer is open for Rossi to accept until close of business on February 20, 2012.