Free marketers and global warming alarmists alike should be heartened by the handful of companies that claim a zero carbon emissions commercial energy plant based on a safe cold fusion (CF) reaction. An Italian company demonstrated a product called E-Cat in 2011, and a Greek company named Defkalion also provided a profession demonstration of their Hyperion product.
The distain for CF by the mainstream government-funded research community and the lack of government funding support is well known. Cold fusion results are routinely and categorically rejected by physics and engineering journals and there has been virtually no support from government funding agencies, except for the military.
Meanwhile, the lack public benefit from government subsidies of green energy sources is an embarrassment. Subsidies for renewable sources such as wind and solar – $88 billion in 2011 – dropping due to political backlash from increasing electricity prices. Hot fusion research over the last 50 years – $50 billion – is no closer to break-even, let alone a working power plant.
One could argue that funding research on government priorities has been deeply harmful to research. If young faculty members in physics find a field promising, but can only secure grants in government-determined priority areas, they are incentivized to focus on politically motivated fields. Keep activists out of research funding!
Nevertheless, the field has progressed thorough the efforts of professionals working in their spare time and amateurs experimenting in their garages, though marked by contradictory experimental results and outright mistakes, secrecy and paranoia by wanna-be entrepreneurs. There are dozens of theories, but none of them properly tested. Defkalion ICCF18 slides show a realtime mass spec system being designed which they hope will nail down what is happening in the NiH fusion processes.