The tipping point in the search for clean energy sources

Original author: Tom Darden
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Tom Darden

Opening remarks by Tom Darden at the opening of the 19th International Conference on the Study of Cold Synthesis (LENR), which was held April 13-17, 2015 in Italy, Padua. The conference was supported by the Italian Ministry of Economic Development, in one of the largest halls in Europe, the Palazzo della Ragione . Over 500 participants.

It is a great honor for me to be here today to appeal to those of you who have done so much to change the way you solve the energy problem and the needs of the environment, and change science. I am the founder of Cherokee (editor's note - Cherokee Investment Partners, the fund controls more than $ 2 billion), and I was asked to tell you who we are and why we created Industrial Heat as a source of financing for LENR inventors. Unlike many of you, I am not a scientist, I am an entrepreneur, but we support a wide range of innovations. As Peter Drucker wrote:
entrepreneurship sees a big social task - to do something differently, and not just do something better than it has already been done
To do better than already done is to, say, make coal-fired power plants a little more efficient. [or] Instead, you just make them unnecessary. Thank God there are those who, like you, have the courage to make a coup.

In 1921, experts determined that the flight range limit had been reached. In 1932, it was determined that nuclear fission was hardly possible. And in the 1950s, when I was born, they believed that environmental pollution is a necessary part of economic development.

A paradigm shift is not easy, especially in science. Thomas Kuhn wrote in The Nature of Scientific Revolutions that they are usually supported by crises of our time. If you are at the forefront of a paradigm shift, your colleagues will attack you and the institutions that defend the status quo will attack you.

We feel we must undermine the two central business paradigms.

First: the traditional spirit of environmentalists that we should strive to be “less bad”. But William McDonough, the leading American environmentalist, said in his book Cradle to Cradle that being “less bad” does not mean being good, it is still being bad, just a little less. If you are driving a car to a cliff, it will not help you just slow down - you need to turn around and go in another direction.

We need a solution that, in its essence, does not pollute the environment, and not a solution that only reduces pollution.

Second: let's cast doubt on the deficit assumption. In fact, we live in a world of plenty, at least energy. Unfortunately, due to the inefficiency of modern society, the world is suffering from energy shortages, at least in some regions. Why do we burn oil and gas, which give only a small fraction of the real energy enclosed? By doing so, we throw almost all the mass of carbon into the pipe. We are scattering this mass around the planet. Carbon and heavy metals can be very useful, they do not have to be waste, but they are if they are in the wrong place: CO2 in the air is a pollutant, carbon in a tree is not. Heavy metals can be extremely useful if they are not in the wrong place, for example, in agriculture. lands in China or in our oceans.

We need a whole new paradigm. This encouraging vision was at the beginning of our work at Industrial Heat.

When I went to school, there was an environmental crisis in the USA. Most of them have already forgotten about this, or even never knew, but when I was young, periodically the industrial rivers of our cities caught fire due to emissions into them, and sometimes in our most polluted cities people drove cars in the afternoon with their headlights on. Our air pollution was as severe as air pollution in China in some cities. That was America when I started thinking about my place in the world.

I was thrilled when I saw the first photograph of our living planet from space. Many of you will remember this - ironically, we never saw the Earth, because we lived on it. We could see that it was a living planet. I felt that I had to do something for this. Later at the university I wrote my dissertation on acid rain, air pollution from coal-fired power plants. My first job was at the Korea Institute of Science and Technology in Seoul, where I worked on pollution from household coal used for heating and cooking. I have seen pollution in East Asia. I returned and went to Yell to become a pollution lawyer, but in the United States, while practicing law, some people think this is something boring, and I fell into this category, but, fortunately, I got a job at Bain and Co.,

In 1984, I converted brick factories from fossil fuels to biogas, which came from plant waste. For the most part, we abandoned coal, with the exception of electricity, and I became obsessed with the idea of ​​finding a way to abandon coal there. Everything was unsuccessful. In 1985, I discovered soil pollution in our brickworks, from decades of oil use. I found some professors at Virginia Tech University nearby, professors who were dealing with soil bacteria, and we started growing bacteria that consumed pollution in the ground. I invested in their business through system technology and we founded Cherokee Environmental to clean contaminated soil along the entire east coast, and after a few years we cleared 15 million tons of dirt. That would be enough

We began to buy contaminated areas to clean them. We earned $ 2 billion from this by buying and restoring land. We owned 550 properties in the USA, Canada and Europe, including an oil refinery not far from here (Trieste).

Some people think that Cherokee is a real estate company because it owns a lot of land and it does own it, but the driving force is our desire to solve the pollution problem. I saw that we could deal with pollution by working with sensible scientists from Virginia Tech. We did not have internal scientific innovations - we are businessmen, not scientists, but we understood that we could find scientists who have ideas. So we expanded the business. We continued to do this with other professors. Between 1985 and the present, we have founded or invested in more than 100 venture companies or startups. They concerned the pollution of water or air, or the management of energy distribution in networks; almost all of these ideas were not ours - they belonged to others.

My initial goal was to reduce pollution, and we went outside the country to transfer technology, since it was abroad that the main pollution was. I regularly visit China and advise authorities and business leaders on pollution control methods and processes. They say that 19% of their territory is too polluted to be used for agriculture. This is mainly due to air pollution - they fall on the ground and infect it. Obviously, this is a huge social problem. I started doing this in the former Soviet Union in the 1990s, and we also explored this in the Middle East, India and Indonesia, concentrating on the most polluted places. To cope with global environmental problems, solutions must be universal - they cannot be only for Europe or the USA.

At the beginning of this decade, Cherokee began a relatively stable part of its history. The next generation of executives was prepared, who were ready to conduct business, and ongoing projects went smoothly. My children were 20-30, and I spent time with them and my wife for the first time in 35 years. I modified my plane, planning to devote more time to flying.

And one day I received a random call about cold fusion. I did not really believe this, because I remembered well the exposure of Fleischmann and Pons years earlier, and thought that the question was closed. Then, after 30 days, I received another request, not related to the first, from another group, so we started to do some research, and then after another 30 days I got a call from another group. After all, we invested in 100 startups, but at that time we did not receive requests for investing in cold fusion or LENR: and here at once there were three with an interval of 30 days. We funded two of these three groups, and then, as many of you know, we became copyright holders of the technology of Andrea Rossi [Jan. 24, 2014].

Then we organized grants for university research groups and continued to fund additional teams. We envision an ecosystem of collaboration with great scientists working together to develop many of the systems and technologies that society needs to move away from polluting fossil fuels. Our goal is to give clean energy to those who need it in the first place, especially in the developing world. We also do not believe that there is only one solution, we believe that there are many solutions to this problem. To embody this vision, we determined that a business approach would be the most effective strategy; we also considered many others.

I know that many of you felt that there was a business and was antagonistic to your work. I understand it. But remember that commerce has long established itself as the primary agent of change in any technical undertaking. We attract large companies, and we all need them in order for our ideas to be ubiquitous. We want to collaborate with many larger companies, and we want to help others do this. We founded Industrial Heat because we believe that LENR technology is worth sticking to even if we are not successful. We are ready to make mistakes, we are ready to invest time and resources to see if this can be an area of ​​useful research in our search to solve pollution problems. At that time, we were not particularly optimistic, but the global advantages were obvious.

We had some successes and we expanded our work. We collaborated and invested in researchers and developers. Scientists compete, dreaming of being the first, and they expect to openly share their discoveries in order to speed up the process. They want to safely share their work in an environment where what they do really matters and where they get what they deserve. They want to know that their work will be paid and their ideas will be appreciated, they will advance, and they will be honestly rewarded. We allowed ourselves to create this type of environment in Industrial Heat. We believe that we may end up on the verge of a paradigm shift - and this will create new opportunities for innovation and entrepreneurship to advance the causes of abundance instead of scarcity and continue to urge to be just less bad.

When I look into the hall, two feelings fill me, one of which is warm and positive, and the other cold and sad. You have given your lives to your research; in spite of the difficulties, you have made great changes for the world. Thank you for your years of hard work and progress. Every day I think of you and I am inspired by you. At the same time, I want to say how sincerely I regret that society has attacked you for the past three decades. How Fleishman and Pons were treated, how official institutions and the media treat you, will go down in history as another example of scientific infanticide, when entrenched interests kill deviated descendants ... this is, apparently, a dark component of human nature, and - ironically, we are in Padua, the city of Galileo. But despite this patience, you are devoted to your work. Thank you for your firmness and for your efforts in the face of difficulties. In the face of difficulties, we must continue with good faith, goodwill, good intentions and sincerity, driven by the best angels of our nature, not yielding to the behavior of others.

We must also not be limited by our mind; ironically, the expert who predicted that the flight range was reached in 1921 was Orville Wright, the inventor of the aircraft, and the expert who said the fission of the core was incredible was, of course, Einstein. We must be vigilant so that our mind is always open. Your time has come: the hysterical fear that has swept China and India, where they report air and water pollution, creates a huge demand for new ideas that are less limited by the past. Secondly, the increasing success reports of many of you continue to offset the skepticism of the skeptics. But this will not give advantages to either us or society if we succeed, but lose our battles. Let us support each other in order to put the needs of society and the needs of others in the first place while we think about how to achieve victory.

You are able to give the world a healing gift. Many will also get the opportunity to have income from this. I am a businessman and I believe that business is usually the most effective way to achieve social and environmental reforms. As well as for the embodiment of technology. But we must always think, first of all, about the needs of others, the needs of society, the needs of our planet. I do not want success at the cost of someone's deprivation. My goal is to widely and impartially disseminate your knowledge in the world, seeing that you will receive respect and rewards for your efforts.

No matter how defiant it sounds, but we have reached a turning point. The potential of your work is great. Signs of progress are very significant. Here is our simple manifesto: to convey to our descendants a world better than we got. Widely available, inexhaustible clean energy can make the greatest contribution to this goal. This manifesto is our promise. This promise is for you, for those who walked before you, for our children, and for the children of their children. Thanks.

Performance video:

Conference program

Translation is done by the Journal of Emerging Science Trends .

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