Academics Question The Science Behind BlackLight Power, Inc.

He insists that independent laboratories from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) to NASA have corroborated his work in the area of shrinking hydrogen to extract energy.

Park and his colleagues from the APS--including Harvard's Mallinckrodt Professor of Physics Howard Georgi and Steve Chu, a Nobel laureate and a professor at Stanford University, reject Mills' claims.

"It's just silliness," Georgi says, dismissing the possibility of Mills' findings being substantiated.

Perhaps thanks to the work of Park, several scientists have expressed embarrassment at the very mention of BlackLight's hydrogen-power project.

Chu's colleague at Stanford, Professor Doug Osheroff echoes the sentiments of Georgi, pointing out that Mills has chosen a field of experimentation considered by most physicists to be already very well understood.


"Quantum mechanics was invented to understand physics," Osheroff says. "It's never been found to be flawed."

Mills' Vision

The skepticism he has confronted since the founding of BlackLight in 1991 appears only to have strengthened Mills' resolve.

The recent patent woes have not slowed the research at BlackLight headquarters, a 53,000-square-foot former Lockheed Martin airplane hangar in New Jersey, which Mills describes as "state of the art" and values at over $15 million.

Mills says he has 30 people, including 10 Ph.D.s, working full-time to develop plasma cells, surface coatings and a media storage materials--all from the detritus of the hydrogen-shrinking, energy-emitting process.

"These side products could even be more valuable than the clean source of power derived from our method of breaking down hydrogen," Mills says.

He explains that plasma cells are essential for generating electricity; surface coatings shield cars and houses from rust; and the media storage materials made from the shrinking of hydrogen can be used in computer chips.

Finally, Mills describes the gyrotron BlackLight is developing as a "reverse microwave" device that could be used to supply power cheaply to people's homes from a "clean" compound, thus eliminating the need for tradition fuel sources that pollute the environment.

While he has clearly failed to convince most physicists, Mills has recruited a small but fiercely loyal coterie of researchers to sit on the board of his firm.

Among them are Shelby Brewer, an MIT-trained scientist and former deputy director of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission under President Reagan; retired Vice Admiral Michael P. Kalleres of the U.S. Navy, who served as commander of the Atlantic fleet during the Gulf War; and Aris Melissaratos, former director of the Westinghouse Science and Technology Center.

Mills says that Navy has been engaged in research trials following from BlackLight's work on surface coatings, which could be used to protect ships from rust, and that NASA has shown interest in his ideas about using hydrinos to power spacecraft.

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