J. Electroanal. Chem., 304 (1991) 271-278 Elsevier Sequoia S.A., Lausanne
Helium production during the electrolysis of D2O in cold
B.F. Bush and J.J. Lagowski
Department of Chemistry, University of Texas, Austin, TX 78712 (USA)
M.H. Miles * and G.S. Ostrom
Chemistry Division, Research Department, Naval Weapons Center, China Lake, CA 93555 (USA)
(Received 15 February 1991)
Our interest in the “cold fusion” process [1,2] was piqued by the apparent lack of systematic
investigation into the composition of the gaseous products produced during the electrolysis of D2O. A critical issue
in determining whether or not the cold fusion process exists is the quality of the evidence concerning the
composition of the gaseous products. The low intensity of neutrons has prompted proposals of other fusion
processes such as d + d → 4He + γ  and p + d → 3He [4,5]. Accordingly, we report the results of experiments
designed to detect helium in the effluent gases from electrolysis reactions at palladium cathodes while
rigorously excluding possible helium contamination from other sources. The calorimetric electrolysis
experiments reported here were performed at China Lake, and the analyses designed to establish the
composition of the effluent gases were performed in Austin.
The effluent gas from calorimetric electrolytic cells designed to detect excess enthalpy [6,7] was
collected with the rigorous exclusion of air, and passed through an activated charcoal cryofiltration system (Fig. 1)
to remove all gases except helium . The first stage of the cryofilter acts as a cryopump to sweep any
helium entrained in the effluent gas into the filtration system, while the second stage of the cryofilter removes
any D2 that gets past the first stage.
study. The large amount of He observed in this experiment (Table 2) is likely to be within an order of
magnitude of this theoretical estimate of helium production.
Our cold fusion experiments show a correlation between the generation of excess heat and power and
the production of He, established in the absence of outside contamination. This correlation in the
palladium/D2O system provides strong evidence that nuclear processes are occuring in these electrolytic
experiments. The major gaseous fusion product in D2O + LiOD is 4He rather than 3He. No helium products are
found in H2O + LiOH experiments. These results add to the accumulating evidence for cold fusion that
involves 12 countries and more than 70 laboratories .
We would like to thank Drs. Joseph M. Nunez and John F. Martino for assistance in the dental
film experiments. We also thank Dr. Richard A. Hollins for encouragement, helpful discussions and assistance
in electrochemical calorimetric measurements. One of us (G.S.O.) expresses appreciation for an ONT/ASEE
post doctoral fellowship. We would also like to thank the staff of the analytical services laboratory at The
University of Texas for technical discussions that made it possible for us to perform these studies. Finally, we
gratefully acknowledge the generous financial support of the Robert A. Welch foundation.
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