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For a better perspective of  what cold fusion is, what it can do, and why it is important, the following is an excerpt from "COLD FUSION", the "21st Century" radio show on 4/18/04, by Dr. Bob Hieronimus with guests Dr. Eugene Mallove and Dr. Mitchell Swartz (**, ***). 

Dr. Swartz:  "Cold fusion is the fusion of two heavy hydrogen nuclei to form a helium nucleus at near room temperature.  Cold fusion happens when we take heavy hydrogen and we load it into a metal such as palladium, much as water is loaded into a sponge.  When the hydrogen loading reaches a certain sufficient threshold level, then all of the sites in the metal lattice that are available become filled. If we keep pushing harder, then the lattice continues to fill, and if we continue to push in a sufficient amount, then eventually, if the conditions are correct and if we actually have prepared the metal a little bit, then we know that there are certain sites in the loaded metal where these desired reactions occur.  Cold fusion then does occur.  Under the appropriate conditions, some of these pieces of palladium appear to generate reactions that involve heat directly from the generation of new (de novo) helium-4." 
Crystalline lattice of palladium (left) is filled 
with hydrogen from water (right)

Dr. Swartz: "Unlike the internal combustion engine which generates carbon monoxide, nitric oxide, sulfur dioxide, in amounts all of up to 100,000 tons per day preceding, cold fusion offers the opportunity to generate only for garbage bags of helium at the same energy generation.  It is not even close.  Cold fusion will be the source of energy for this planet, and for interstellar probes, into the future." 

Dr. Swartz:  "For each gigawatt-day a city needs, a city must burn coal at a rate of 9,000 tons per day.  And in doing that, the pollution by this old technology will make 30,000 tons of carbon dioxide (CO2), 600 tons of sulfur dioxide (SO2), and 80 tons of (nitrogen dioxide) NO2, and tons of other contaminants, each and every day.  This exhaust contamination is made in conventional systems day after day.  By contrast, with cold fusion producing the same amount of power,  that is a gigawatt that lasts for a day, that amount of energy production would require only one pound of heavy water containing deuterium to fuel the city's needs,  and that cold fusion process would produce only 4 pounds of helium exhaust. Consider, the product with cold fusion, helium, is environmentally safe and does not produce global warming.  Remember that we let children play with, and even breathe helium, directly from balloons on occasion, to change the pitch of their voice.  This biocompatibility difference between the benign product of cold fusion and the toxic cornucopia of  products of conventional systems is a big and dramatic contrast between the two sources of energy."

Dr. Mallove:  "One important implication of cold fusion is that there are, at least, 300 gallons of gasoline equivalent in every gallon of ordinary water.  If you take the heavy hydrogen contained in one gallon of water, normal water that you drink, or get at the pond or the lake or the ocean, and fuse that heavy hydrogen into helium, which is what is happening in cold fusion.   This gives you heat, and that amount of heat is the equivalent of 300 gallons of gasoline.  That means that in only one cubic kilometer of ocean, we have the energy equivalent of the entire known oil reserves on Earth.  And that means total energy independence from any localized supply of oil plus the environmental benefit of not producing CO2 and  other noxious pollutants."

Dr. Swartz:  "With cold fusion we get to transfer the use of petrochemicals and gasoline into making useful pharmaceuticals and plastics and perhaps even nanomaterials.  Imagine using the atoms in gasoline to make new materials, rather than just burning it into carbon dioxide (CO2). 
How important is this new form of energy production?  For the United States alone, the potential economic benefits resulting from controlled fusion with the generation of safe helium-4 are somewhere between substantial and staggering."

Dr. Mallove:  "With cold fusion, we would have a much more active economy because there would be a need to essentially retool and restructure the entire energy infrastructure of the world, giving thousands and thousands, millions and millions, of new jobs to people.  And giving them more leisure time as well.   There has been mention of the water supply. Fresh water is greatly in need, particularly in third world countries, developing countries;  and if you have a cheap source of energy and its small and portable and safe, then you could use that source of energy to help desalinate water, and to help decontaminate water, of course by evaporation and boiling.  It could also desalinate ocean water.  So as a result, fresh water would be in abundance, presumably in places that now don't have it, and deserts would bloom."

Dr. Swartz :  "The product of these energy producing reactions is helium-4, or simply helium.  We already live in an atmosphere where there is some helium.   If we adopted cold fusion, then [the Kyoto Agreement problems and CO2 pollution and greenhouse effect] would be a moot issue, because the result would be the trading of 30,000 tons of CO2 for a mere 4 pounds of helium each and every day.  The reason I say that the cold fusion helium-4 is de novo is that this helium-4 is created new, fresh, and is generated directly from the deuterium within the loaded palladium.  This new cold fusion-generated helium-4 is not a contaminant, and does not come from the air. We know that now from very careful experiments by Dr. Melvin Miles [US Navy] who used metal flasks as part of his cold fusion apparatus.  The metal prevents contamination, and the samples were then examined by several national laboratories for the presence of increased amounts of helium-4 by the cold fusion.  The new helium was present in an amount consistent with the observed generated energy."

Dr. Mallove:  "We all are empowered when technological devices do work for us that would ordinarily cost us time or money in other areas. Today, we all know that for both heating and cooling we spend a lot for electricity for oil and for natural gas and coal and so forth.  And conventional fission power plants are required to generate electricity.  When there is this new era, it will amount to, we have to be careful using this term, free energy where the fuel to provide the energy will be effectively free, in this case water which is effectively free.  Even if the devices won't be free, when we have large reserves of energy at the disposal of any given human being, then that person or family will be empowered.  Literally empowered.  They will be able to use the time and effort that they normally expend to raise money to pay for basic things such as heating, cooling and electricity on other things.  They will be able to spend that time doing other things whether its leisure or using the saved money toward other purposes.  So it will help, in my opinion, to alleviate poverty in that sense." 
**  The authors thank Laura Cortner, Christy Frazier, Gayle Verner and Bob Weber for their helpful comments and suggestions. 

***   It is with  great and deepest sadness and grief that our friend and cold fusion colleague,  Dr. Eugene Mallove, the first historian in this field, was brutally murdered May 14, 2004  in Connecticut. 
This happened after this broadcast aired. 
The crime still remains unsolved.