Guest post by Ric Werme
Today is the customer test of Andrea Rossi’s 1 MW fusion reactor in his facility in Bologna, Italy. While Rossi initially expected to provide streaming video of the test, the customer nixed that because they didn’t want their people on a public video. (The customer has still not been identified.) Rossi also promised hourly updates during the test, but that didn’t happen, nor did I expect it too. In any major customer attending test, you just don’t take time off for that – the customer is far more important today than is the rest of the world!
I did promise in Tips & Notes to create this post this evening to provide a discussion forum, and a few details have made it out to warrant this post.
Bottom line – the customer will buy the reactor. The only thing that looks like a data point is that it was producing 470kW with zero heating power in (self-sustain mode). Given that one metric for a successful test was to produce at least 6X the input power, it certainly passes that test!
Rossi did get one blog post up (edited to convert all-caps to proper-caps and fix an obvious typo):
October <28th, 2011 at 10:37 AM
First information regarding the 1 MW plant test:
We started regularly the test this morning . Everything is going well so far. The 1 MW E-Cat is working in self sustaining.
Tonight I will publish the non secret report that the customer will release.
Warm regards, I have to return to the plant. Sorry, I cannot answer to the many comments I am receiving. I will publish them probably I will never find the time to answer.
Warmest regards to all,
That’s pretty much all there is from Italy so far. I don’t know if people measured 1 MW in powered mode, I assume somewhat more information will be released later this evening.
The naysayers are going strong, with comments like suggesting the customers consultants are in on the scam, and many calls to denounce the secrecy behind this test. Hey guys, this is a sales test, not a public event.
Even Jed Rothwell is upset:
[Vo]:Dismaying rumors about October 28 test
I have heard that observers of today’s tests are only being allowed to look at the equipment for a few minutes at a time, and they are not being introduced to the engineers who are taking the data. They are not being given a chance to establish the bona fides of these engineers, or to confirm that they are fully independent from Rossi.
If this is true then it goes without saying these results will have zero credibility.
If this is true then Rossi has once again taken a golden opportunity to convince the world his claims are true, and used it to make himself look like a crook.
I hope this is not true.
Whatever happens, I am sure we will get the full story. The reporters there can be relied upon to tell us the truth. If they are not allowed to interview the engineers and they cannot independently confirm the data, they will say so. I am sure Rossi knows they will tell the truth, so it seems unlikely he would impose such outrageous conditions. Unfortunately, he has often done outrageous things, such as telling people they are not allowed to measure the temperature with their own instruments.
I’ll update this later tonight. In the meantime, discuss away, but please keep in mind this was not a science demonstration, not a public demonstration, but a step along the path to the first sale.
Also, keep in mind what this isn’t – it’s not an efficient electrical power system. The output is hot water or low pressure steam. While that can be turned into electricity, thermodynamics says it can’t be very efficient. There are plenty of applications for this sort of process heat, and that makes a fine initial target market.
Other sources of information include:
Sterling Allan from PES is on site.
One of the first independent blogs on the E-Cat.
This is Rossi’s blog, where he expected to post hourly updates. He approves posts there, and he’s been too busy to do that.
Here are links to reports from two people who were observed the test:
It ran for 5.5 hours producing 470 kW, while in self-looped mode. That means no substantial external energy was required to make it run, because it kept itself running, even while producing an excess of nearly half a megawatt. Rossi explained the reasons for this in the presentation he gave, which I videotaped and will be posting later.
Early in the day with a glitch showing up, Rossi said that they had to make a decision about whether to go for 1 MW output, not in self-sustain mode, or with self-sustain mode at a lower power level. The customer opted to go for the self-sustain mode.
Mats Lewan of NyTeknik reported:
According to the customer’s controller, Domenico Fioravanti, the plant released 2,635 kWh during five and a half hours of self sustained mode, which is equivalent to an average power of 479 kilowatts – just under half the promised power of one megawatt.
Rossi explained this with the customer’s priority to achieve self sustained mode, which supposedly makes the process more difficult to control than when electrical power is supplied to support the reaction.
“We had to decrease the power during self sustained mode as the temperature rose too much”, Rossi said after the test.
UPDATE: I’ve allowed Ric Werme to post articles on this, with trepidation (as he noted in his first and second article on it), on the outside chance that there’s something of value here. I wrote in the first article:
Foreword: I gave Ric Werme permission to do this essay. I don’t have any doubt that the original Cold Fusion research was seriously flawed. That said, this recent new development using a different process is getting some interest, so let’s approach it skeptically to see what merit it has, if any. – Anthony
After learning of some background on the inventor (which I wasn’t aware of before today h/t to Lubos)I have very large doubts now. While Wikipedia isn’t the best reference, if there wasn’t some truth here in this reference, I expect it would be removed as libelous:
Petroldragon was an environmental technology company, which through the 90’s aimed to develop oil, coal, and gas from organic waste. It was founded by, and used patents of Andrea Rossi, and Sergio Focardi. In the late 90’s the company was found guilty of dumping environmental toxins, as well as tax fraud. Its assets were seized. 
News of the Rossi procedure, patented in Italy, was reported by major newspapers. Jimmy Carter showed his interest in the technology, and offered Rossi a permanent entry visa to the United States. After ten months’ work and a financial investment of half a billion Lire, Petroldragon had a facility that produced twenty tons of fuel oil a day, transforming one hundred tons of organic waste.
In 1993, the company created the Petroldragon Formula 3 racing team – racecars powered by waste-derived fuel that were able to compete with cars powered by the most common petroleum products.
In the late 90’s the company was found guilty of dumping environmental toxins, as well as tax fraud. Its assets were seized, as well as Rossi’s personal assets, and Rossi was arrested and imprisoned.
The track record of the man (combined with the current cloak of secrecy) suggests that this may very well be a scam. Unless there’s some open access and independent documentation of success, I’m going to prohibit any further articles. As I’ve said in comments, we try out ideas here. Based on what I know now, I think this one needs to be put aside as unworkable, and very possibly a scam until such time it is proven. When/if it is proven as scam or factual, we’ll have another report. -Anthony
Update by Ric:
I told Anthony I’d pull some stuff together looking at the allegations in better detail. It appears the only decent source of information is from a web site Rossi created a couple years ago to address the Petroldragon saga. The events in question mostly occurred before the Internet, so there isn’t as much out there as I thought. If you believe Rossi stuck Italy with huge amount of abandoned waste, you won’t believe Rossi’s explanation. If any Italian readers can comment on the events from their memory, please do.
Rossi’s web site is http://ingandrearossi.com/ . While there is an English translation there, a better one is at Steve Krivit’s http://newenergytimes.com/v2/sr/RossiECat/RossiPetroldragonStory.shtml
A timeline seems to be the best way to summarize things:
1971 to 1996: Created Dragon, a division of his family’s business and
manufactured waste incineration and smoke purification plants.
1978: Awarded patent for a process to convert organic waste material to oil.
Started Petroldragon to commercialize it.
198?: US President Jimmy Carter offered Rossi a permanent entry visa to the
United States to develop the process in the US.
1990 (this year doesn’t make sense): Bought Omar Refinery to process oil from Petroldragon into products for
1987: Raw materials for Petroldragon had been considered “secondary refuse matter” They were reclassified “toxic waste” as were all products derived from them. “In a very short time, all equipment was sequestered. The government then determined that tanks used for storing incoming raw materials were illegal dumps of toxic waste.”
“What followed was Rossi’s arrest and imprisonment, without any possibility to save the companies. The massive media smear campaign was successful in suddenly wiping out companies whose brand value was estimated at 50 billion lire (around 30-35 million USD in 1987) and which employed 150 people.”
The saga continues on with references to infringing on petroleum based producers and crime organizations entering the waste management business.
He continues “In the past 17 years, Rossi has been in 56 trials, forcing him into deep debt because of the financial disaster, and it is still not completely paid off.
Of all 56 prosecutions, the ones which led to imprisonment ended with acquittals; only 5 of the prosecutions for tax crime ended with convictions (with some custody imprisonments). All of the other prosecutions ended with acquittal or for statute of limitation. The same Petroldragon and Omar customers, even those who suffered factory seizures or prosecutions because of involvement with Rossi’s companies, testified as witnesses in favor of the defendant.” (The customers had products derived from “toxic waste” and those without waste handling permits were now in violation of the 1987 law.)
2000: During a journey back to Italy from the U.S., when he landing at Rome airport, he was served an arrest warrant for bankruptcy of Omar company and immediately imprisoned.
2009: Went back to the U.S. permanently and he directed the development of a new energy source. (I don’t think this refers to the E-Cat.)
As for the gold trafficking, all I can find points to an ingandrearossi.com page that is only in Italian. The Google translation is as difficult to read as any, but Rossi says the gold was recovered in the Petroldragon effort and claims “And documents deemed illegal sales of gold? All regular! Documents for import and export of precious? All regular! Cash payments? The money laundering? No trace of irregularity, because all economic transactions were made with credit and non-transferable checks, never cash!
The prosecution of Ariano Irpino, even myself, and acquitted all defendants in the investigation, not even get to trial on the grounds that: ‘… lack the evidence necessary to sustain the allegations in a process …’.”
So, was Rossi imprisoned? Yes. Did he break the law? Yes, but mainly because the law changed out from under him. Was he convicted? Yes, on less than 10% of the charges, and they were tax law violations, not a confidence scheme. Is he an evil person out to pull off the scam of the century? Probably not, as he seems to have not run afoul of the law before 1987. Does all this mean we should throw up our hands and write off Rossi’s LENR invention. I don’t think so, though it certainly adds a red flag. How about all the other evidence supporting LENR? I don’t think so. Does Lubos Motl know more about LENR than any of us? Probably, but I’m not convinced he’s right. Is Rossi or LENR too controversial for WUWT? Possibly, but I think it should remain because there are too many experiments with interesting results to be able to dismiss it.