The National Aeronautics and Space Administration or NASA the US government’s space agency has apparently filed a patent application for a low energy nuclear reaction (LENR) energy source. Joe Zawodny a Senior Research Scientist at the agency’s Langley Research Center made that revelation in a blog entry dated January 14.

Zawodny is the scientist seen in what appears to be an official NASA video promoting what is described as “NASA’s method for Enhancement of Surface Plasmon Polaritrons to Initiate and Sustain LENR in Metal Hydride Solutions a clean nuclear energy for your power operated technology.” These are the words used by a NASA announcer.

In his private blog Zawodny stated that the video was produced in conjunction with a patent application via NASA. Zawodny does mention the patent name or number in his blog.

Here’s what Zawodny wrote:

“If a patent application is filed, a video may be produced to inform the general public of the nature of the invention or innovation. It may be a non-technical piece that communicates what this invention is about and why people might care. Such is the case of the recent video on Surface Plasmon Polaritons.”

So he’s confirming that NASA has filed a patent application and feels confident enough to inform the public about it. It should be noted that the video presents no evidence whatsoever that NASA has a working LENR device. It only mentions a process so it is hard to see what the agency is patenting. Yet there is a patent application.

US application 20110255645 dated October 20, 2011, lists Joseph M. Zawodny as the inventor of something called the “Method for Producing Heavy Electrons.” It lists the patent assignee as “USA as represented by the Administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.” In other words Uncle Sam is applying for this patent.

The patent application mentions low energy nuclear reactions and the Widom Larsen theory. It also states that the purpose of the device is energy generation.

The process described in the video appears to a Low Energy Nuclear Reaction similar to Andrea Rossi’s e-cat and other devices labeled cold fusion. In the video Zawodny describes how it can be used for home heating and water heating purposes and for electricity production. It is interesting to note that this application was filed in March 2011 shortly after Rossi and Sergio Focardi held their first e-cat press conference in January.

Zawodny does not mention Andrea Rossi or e-cat in the video or promote them in anyway. In the blog he mentions Rossi but seems to state that he has seen no evidence to verify Rossi’s claims.

So a US respected US government agency has applied for an LENR patent and has admitted that it is doing LENR research. That certainly makes for some interesting speculation.

One possibility is that NASA is planning to patent this device and commercialize it. Another is that the agency is hoping to get funding from Congress for LENR research. It should be noted that NASA’s budget has been cut in recent years.

The agency could be trying to get energy research funds away from the Department of Energy. The department is not very popular with the Republican Party which controls the US House of Representatives the lower house of Congress. Under the American system the House of Representative not President Obama writes the federal budget. So there are some interesting politics involved here.

It is also interesting to note that Zawodny is not taking any comments on his blog and has claimed he won’t respond to e-mails about the subject. That could mean that his bosses at NASA may have muzzled him.

Another strong possibility is that Zawodny is planning to leave NASA and go to work in the private sector where he could make huge amounts of money peddling his services as an LENR expert. Especially if LENR devices like Rossi’s e-cat start hitting the market.

In the United States unlike Europe it is common for self proclaimed civil servants to move back and forth between the public and sectors. The direction of the movement is usually dictated by the size of the salaries being offered.