An Italian inventor may have created a machine that can generate so much cheap energy, it would put oil companies out of business. Or it all may be a spectacular scam:

On the last day of the conference, Dennis Bushnell, chief scientist at Langley Research Center, summed up the state of LENR research. Guys like Rossi play a crucial role, for better or for worse. ‘This will go directly from the garage, the Edisonian experiments, to market, bypassing the science and the rigorous engineering research,’ Bushnell said. ‘And there are major investors ready to move on this—an amazing number—given a credible third-party seal of approval. I mean, this can move fast. If we ever get a credible assessment in the kilowatt range’—one kilowatt will power ten 100-watt lightbulbs—’the world changes overnight.’ Bushnell paused and took a sip of water. ‘We have so screwed up this planet,’ he said, raising his voice. ‘This is one of the few things I know of that’s capable for atoning for our sins.’

To my astonishment, after three days of asking every cold-fusion researcher in the house, I couldn’t find a single person willing to call Rossi a con man. The consensus was that he had something, even if he didn’t understand why it worked or how to control it. The more I learned, the more confused I became. Could Rossi actually have something real? The only way to know for sure was to go to Italy.

“Can Andrea Rossi’s Infinite-Energy Black Box Power The World—Or Just Scam It?” — Steve Featherstone, Popular Science