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Thomas Grimshaw: LENR Advocacy for a Global Climate Change Solution

Role: Founder and Principal Consultant of LENRGY
Author: Thomas Grimshaw and Barnabas Gwaza
In connection with its Solid State Energy program, the Anthropocene Institute is conducting interviews of selected members of the Solid State Fusion community. In April 2024, Mr. Barnabas Gwaza, an intern at the Anthropocene Institute, interviewed Dr. Thomas Grimshaw about several aspects of LENR (for low energy nuclear reactions, which falls under the umbrella of the broader Solid State Fusion field).

The discussion began with Mr. Gwaza asking about Dr. Grimshaw’s origins and scientific background and continued to cover his journey to the cold fusion field, why the phenomenon matters, and why it was rejected as well as his own interests and accomplishments in the field.

Origins and Background

“I was born and raised in South Dakota,” Dr. Grimshaw said, “into a family of water well drillers.” This background, along with a strong inclination toward technical topics, led him to attend the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology. He received a B.S. in Geological Engineering in the late 1960s. He then went to The University of Texas at Austin (UT) and received an M.A. and Ph.D. in geology. He served as an officer in the US Army during this timeframe. He continues to live in Austin to the present day.

While in graduate school, Dr. Grimshaw decided to study the role of geology in environmental protection and restoration. This was in the 1970s, which is often referred to as the “Decade of the Environment,” when many laws and regulations were implemented to protect air, water, and other resources. He wrote his dissertation on the environmental geology of a growing community in the urban growth corridor between Austin and San Antonio.

Dr. Grimshaw was employed in the environmental field and enjoyed a three-decade career working as a private sector consultant and as a researcher in academia. His work included both planning for environmental protection for new facilities, such as environmental impact statements, and cleanup of disposal sites like hazardous waste sites. He also held positions of increasing responsibility as a project manager.

In 1989, in the middle of his environmental career, Dr. Grimshaw heard about the cold fusion announcement by Fleischmann and Pons. He tracked the developments quite closely for several months. However, when mainstream science came to a negative conclusion about cold fusion, now commonly referred to as LENR, he, like all but a few scientists, stopped following the field and continued his work in the environmental field.

“When hearing you speak about your interest in the environment, “said Mr. Gwaza, “it resonates with me because my grandparents in Nigeria were farmers, and I got that sense of appreciation for the earth and the environment.”
When deciding on a topic for his master’s report, he remembered his earlier interest [in LENR] and asked himself, whatever happened to cold fusion? “When I looked into it, I was astounded by all that was going on in the field!”

Journey to LENR Advocate

After his many years of working successfully in the environmental arena, Dr. Grimshaw decided to take his career in a new direction. Particularly as a consultant, he felt that the field had become political and legalistic rather than scientific in nature, and he began to lose interest.

As a geologist, Dr. Grimshaw had learned a great deal about energy resources. He decided to pursue a master’s degree in energy policy at UT’s LBJ School of Public Affairs. When deciding on a topic for his master’s report, he remembered his earlier interest and asked himself, whatever happened to cold fusion? “When I looked into it, I was astounded by all that was going on in the field!” he exclaimed. He then combined his LENR status findings with his policy development and analysis curriculum at the LBJ School and wrote his masters report on public policy for research support for cold fusion.

Subsequently, he continued to investigate various aspects of the topic as adjunct faculty at the LBJ School and later as a researcher at the Center for International Energy and Environmental Policy and then at the Energy Institute at UT. Starting in 2020, he continued his cold fusion work at his consulting firm, LENRGY (combination of LENR and energy).

His initial interest has been in promoting policies for public funding of cold fusion to realize its potential energy benefits. Subsequently, he recognized that the public interest also called for proactive policies to deal with the secondary impacts of LENR as a disruptive new energy technology.
“Cold fusion is one of the few – perhaps the only – potential solution for Global Climate Change (GCC),” he responded. “It now seems clear that hot fusion isn’t going to be able to meet our energy needs in the foreseeable future.”

Why Cold Fusion Matters

Mr. Gwaza asked Dr. Grimshaw what he thought about the future of LENR. “Cold fusion is one of the few – perhaps the only – potential solution for Global Climate Change (GCC),” he responded. “It now seems clear that hot fusion isn’t going to be able to meet our energy needs in the foreseeable future.” He noted that at the time of the 1989 announcement, LENR’s main potential benefit was thought to be as a supplement to oil and gas, which were perceived to be getting in short supply. This was before fracking had been introduced, and memories of the energy shortages and long gas lines of the 1970s were also still vivid.

With the emergence of the GCC crisis, the picture has changed radically. Now cold fusion is critically needed not only to displace fossil fuels and their carbon emissions, but also as to provide energy to deal with the now seemingly inevitable GCC impacts, such as rising sea levels, water sources and supplies, coastal erosion, and increased intensity of storms. Alluding to his previous experience in the environmental field, he further noted, “LENR energy will be needed for decades to come to clean up pollution of water and land resources from centuries of fossil fuel use.”
Society has a long history of supporting science ... But the conduct of science is very much a sociological process ... what is accepted and what is rejected emerge from the sociology of science. It is normally a self-correcting process in that initial errors are corrected as more evidence emerges.
- Thomas Grimshaw on mainstream rejection of Cold Fusion

Why Cold Fusion Was Rejected

The topic of the rejection of cold fusion by mainstream science naturally came up during the interview. Mr. Gwaza said, “… from what I have seen so far, is that for a long time after (the announcement by) Fleischman and Pons, there has been very little public approval, public interest in cold fusion.” Dr. Grimshaw said he believed the rejection was a total mistake. He noted that society has a long history of supporting science because a great deal of public good has come out of research and development. But the conduct of science is very much a sociological process: decisions on what is accepted and what is rejected emerge from the sociology of science. It is normally a self-correcting process in that initial errors are corrected as more evidence emerges.

The process has failed in the LENR case, not only in the original rejection, but also in failing to take into account the continued research and increasing evidence in the 35 years since the rejection. “This is a long and complex story worthy of deep investigation,” he said, “but the real point now is that the human tragedy of failure to pursue the potential energy and other benefits of cold fusion is significantly amplified by the GCC crisis”.

Dr. Grimshaw’s Cold Fusion Interests and Accomplishments

Mr. Gwaza requested a biography or other information to supplement the transcript of the interview. Dr. Grimshaw responded that nearly all his work in LENR was on his website, lenrgy.com. He has pursued three primary interests – public policy toward cold fusion, support for and collaboration with researchers and other interested parties, and documentation of investigators’ research records while the information is still available. He has prepared more than 90 publications, presentations, unpublished reports, and related documents. “I’ll provide the link to the lenrgy.com homepage and the webpage with a list of publications,” said Dr. Grimshaw.
[Grimshaw's vison for cold fusion] "It would be for cold fusion to overcome its primary problems of lack of reliable reproducibility and insufficient scientific understanding. An empirical cold fusion device that can produce energy and meet human needs would also take care of the negative inertia."

Concluding Thoughts

Dr. Grimshaw maintains a cautious optimism about cold fusion. After more than 35 years of rejection and failure of science processes, a great deal of inertia must be overcome. When Mr. Gwaza asked what was his ideal vision for LENR, he replied, “It would be for cold fusion to overcome its primary problems of lack of reliable reproducibility and insufficient scientific understanding. An empirical cold fusion device that can produce energy and meet human needs would also take care of the negative inertia. The hope is that cold fusion energy could be deployed in both a centralized manner, like today’s power plants, and a distributed way, like backup generators or neighborhood energy sources, which would eliminate grid loss.

At the conclusion of the interview, Mr. Gwaza said, “so this is the end of our discussion.… I had a great time getting to know you… The things we spoke about today really resonated with me, and I’m grateful for the time.” “I’ve really enjoyed this session,” Dr. Grimshaw replied, “it has given me a chance to expound on things that I am passionate about.”

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About Dr. Thomas Grimshaw, Ph.D
Dr. Thomas Grimshaw, Ph.D., is a geologist with extensive expertise in environmental consulting and policy analysis. He earned his B.S. in Geological Engineering from the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology and his M.A. and Ph.D. in geology from The University of Texas at Austin. Dr. Grimshaw's career spans over three decades in the private, academic, and public sectors, focusing on environmental protection and restoration. He has held positions at The University of Texas at Austin, including Research Affiliate at the Energy Institute, Research Fellow at the Center for International Energy and Environmental Policy, and Associate Director at the Bureau of Economic Geology. He also served as Adjunct Faculty at the LBJ School of Public Affairs, where he co-taught energy-related courses.Currently, he continues his LENR research and advocacy through his consulting firm, LENRGY, focusing on public policy, collaboration, and documentation within the field.

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