Francesco Piantelli has been granted a European patent for his nickel hydrogen low energy nuclear reaction (LENR) process. The patent EP 2 368 252 B1 could present major problems for Andrea Rossi’s Leonardo Corporation and Defkalion both of which are trying to patent similar nickel hydrogen LENR processes.

Picture of Piantelli's LENR apparatus from Italian website 22passi

Documents posted online indicate that the patent was granted on January 16, 2013. It is titled “Method for producing energy and apparatus therefore.” A brief description states: “The present invention relates to a process for producing nuclear reactions between a metal and hydrogen that is absorbed in the crystalline structure of the metal. Furthermore, the invention relates to an energy generator that carries out such reactions.”

The patent itself specifically mentions both nickel and hydrogen. This could create trouble for Rossi because Rossi’s ecat LENR technology is based upon work Piantelli did with Rossi’s partner and former professor Sergio Focardi in the 1990s. Rossi has mentioned that eCat is a nickel-hydrogen LENR process. The Defkalion Hyperion LENR device is reportedly based upon Rossi and Focardi’s work. Piantelli and Focardi were both formerly professors at the University of Bologna which Andrea Rossi attended.

It is entirely possible that any patent application by Rossi or Defakalion could be thrown out because it violates the patent. It isn’t known how this patent application will affect Francesco Celani’s LENR device or the Martin Fleischmann open sourced LENR effort which is making use of it. Rossi has an Italian patent for his process but hasn’t been able to get a US or European patent for it. The relationship between this patent and George Miley’s US patent for his nickel hydrogen LENR process is also unclear.

The patent application lists Francesco Piantelli as the inventor. It lists Silvia, Piantelli, Luigi Bergomi and Tiziano Ghidini as the proprietors of the patent. Piantelli is working with an Italian company called nicHenergy SRL that is based in Milan. Some online reports indicate that nicHenergy plans to sell shares in another company called Metal Energy which will commercialize Piantelli’s process.

Roy Virgilio who has been identified as an associate of Piantelli’s in the Italian press has stated that Metal Energy will build a laboratory that will be used to do research to develop generators based on Piantelli’s technology. The investors in the company would be repaid with profits from the sale of the generators or licenses from the technology. The generators will be in the 100 watt to seven kilowatt range.

The patent should make it easier for Piantelli to get investment in his process. The patent will provide some of the validation that venture capitalists require. It might also validate the work of Cold Fusion Energy Inc., a consortium of international LENR researchers that includes Pinatelli, Miley, Celani and Peter Hagelstein of MIT. nicHenergy’s relationship to the coalition is unclear. The website for nicHenergy is still under construction.