Andrea Rossi's E-cat fusion device on target.

Guest post by Ric Werme

Six months ago I posted, with Anthony’s consent and misgivings, Cold Fusion Going Commercial!?. It’s time to take a look at how Dr Rossi and his Energy Catalyzer are doing. In a word, Wow. There’s a huge amount of information and blogish speculation on the web now despite there being still very little in the mainstream press. There’s a new blog that looks pretty good, other new blogs I haven’t checked out yet, existing blogs have a lot of information, and it may be quite a while before I get back to teasing information out of Rossi’s blog.

E-Cat device testbed

Several E-Cat units in a testbed. Water, hydrogen, and heat go in, steam comes out as nickel fuses with hydrogen to make copper. Photo by Prof. Levi via nextbigfuture.com

First, a quick summary. Andrea Rossi, associated with the University of Bologna, took research from Sergio Focardi and scaled it up with a nanostructured nickel substrate and an undisclosed (but supposedly inexpensive) catalyst that fuses hydrogen with nickel releasing heat and some gamma rays. A demonstration unit in January took 400 watts in and put 12 kilowatts out, boiling some 8.8 liters of water in 30 minutes. He says units have run for months heating his laboratory, designs that don’t need a continuous source of input heat can be built but are unstable and difficult to stop. The reactor produces copper, but it’s still unclear just how hydrogen is overcoming Coulomb repulsion without needing particle accelerators or pressures akin to the center of a star.

In January Rossi announced that a 1 MW reactor was going to be the first commercial development. That is proceeding. Manufacturing rights have been split between Defkalion Green Technologies S.A. in Greece and AmpEnergo Inc. in the USA The former gets Europe, Asia, and Africa; the latter gets the Americas and Caribbean.

Defkalion is building the 1 MW reactor based on an array of small modules similar to those used in the January demonstration. Ampenergo may use a similar approach, but may not be producing modules yet.

Let me do the rest of this in a question and answer format:

Umm, what is this good for? What am I supposed to be excited about?

Ah, a very good question. I’m going to take a very conservative approach to the answer, i.e. squash the hype. First and foremost, all the usable energy this produces is heat. The major limitation of this is the maximum temperature the reactor can run at, Rossi says they keep it at no more than 500°C. Modern power plants can produce steam at 600°C and a pressure of 250 bar. While this is unobtainable from from the Rossi device, it could be used in a two stage boiler – an E-cat stage to get the temperature up to several hundred degrees and a conventional plant to finish it.

So the E-cat device by itself would have to run at a lower temperature and the laws of thermodynamics mean that the E-cats alone will have to run at a lower efficiency than conventional plants. Let’s assume for now that the E-cat device can’t heat water to a point where it can be used efficiently in a steam power plant. Let’s ignore that lower efficiency may not preclude it from being cost effective. Let’s also ignore combined heat and power systems.

So then all we have is something that produces a lot of something that the existing power plant operators would call waste heat. Portable heat at that – the 1 MW pilot reactor will fit in a 20′ x 40′ container (6 x 12 m). What’s that good for? Industrial-sized space heating for one. A long time ago I read that genetic engineering would have a greater impact on the agricultural business than on human medicine. Ever since then, I’ve looked at the Ag business as really big business. One big consumer of propane is drying grain post harvest for shipping, storage, etc. A little corner of the AG world in New England is maple sugaring. Typically 40 units of maple sap is boiled down to 1 unit of syrup. Some processors do it the old fashioned way with wood fires (usually scrap maple!) or the not so romantic oil burners. There are reverse osmosis systems for removing the bulk of the water, but it has to be finished (and cooked!) in a boiler. Why not have nuclear powered maple syrup?

Patios, sidewalks, driveways are sometimes heated to keep them snow free. Some airports and cities have big melters that pay loaders dump snow into and propane heaters turn it into water to dump down the storm sewers.

There are a whole lot of things you could code that would fry the arch-conservationists, like heating entire roads or keeping open air swimming pools open through the winter.

My favorite idea is small scale, but incredibly practical – Antarctic research stations need to stock up on enough fuel oil during the summer to keep warm during the winter. A heat source that is refueled once a year would thrill the physical plant personnel.

Energy production needs energy, and the E-Cat could fit in to some current applications (assuming the applications are still viable). Distilling ethanol from the biological fermenters used to convert corn to ethanol is one. Another providing the hot water used in oil sand and oil shale extraction. Currently that’s provided by burning natural gas, and there may be plenty of that associated with the source that it’s remains the sensible heat source.

So, the answer is that simply heat is well worth getting excited about.

Yeah, but what about me?

Rossi is concerned about keeping some of the intellectual property a trade secret. That, and concerns about shutting down the reaction made me assume that the home heating market would be the last to develop, but Defkalion is planning a small box that can hold 1-6 5 kW modules for a combined heat and power application, including residential use. If I recall correctly, a typical residential oil burning furnace burns oil at the rate of one gallon per hour. That’s 40 kW, so yeah, If the fears for some brutal winters come true, Defkalion may be very busy!

Dude, what about the US, you keep talking about Greeks!

Well, living in New Hampshire, I’m pleased to report that Ampenergo is located in NH. The principals are Karl Norwood, Richard Noceti, Robert Gentile, and Craig Cassarino.

Robert Gentile was the Assistant Secretary of Energy for Fossil Energy at the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) during the early 1990’s. That’s okay. He is/was President of Leonardo Technologies Inc., an Ohio company that may have been set up by Rossi and is related to the Leonardo Corp in Bedford, NH. The links are weird, I haven’t figured them all out.

Richard Noceti co-wrote a paper titled Synthesis of Hydrocarbon Fuels using Renewable and Nuclear Energy and is listed as National Energy Technology Laboratory and LTI Associates. That’s good.

Karl Norwood is the President of The Norwood Group, a large real estate company based in Bedford NH. Hmm. His Linked-in entry says “Karl Norwood’ss [sic] real estate experience is multi-faceted, from multi-family to office and industrial properties. In business for over 40 years, he has been actively involved in all forms of commercial brokerage, negotiating on behalf of both landlords and tenants.” Whoa, shouldn’t we have a few manufacturing folks here?

In January, I went looking for the Leonardo Corp and was surprised to find it shared the same phone number as Norwood Realty. So I stopped there one day in January and the receptionist gave me Craig Cassarino’s phone number and said he was in Brazil that week. I eventually called him a month or so later. He knew little of cold fusion history or other research that went on in New Hampshire, he’s more of an international business consultant. Exportnh.org says “Craig Cassarino has spent decades focused on sustainability of resources in both New Hampshire and Brazil, so it’s very fitting that now, as New Hampshire’s Commercial Consul for Brazil, he is serving as a resource for Granite State businesses interested in doing business in Brazil.” Oh my.

So it sounds to me as though Ampenergo will be a middleman between sub licensees and Rossi. I’m sure they have lots of contacts to work with. Frankly, I expected to find something like a General Electric throwing hundreds of engineers at designs of all scales and dozens of scientists to build higher temperature devices, better heat flow management, figure out the nuclear physics, etc. Perhaps GE is, but are doing so quietly. At any rate, look to Defkalion for early results, perhaps Ampenergo can get factories set up throughout the Americas (or just in Brazil) later. I think the modules for the 1 MW reactor are being made in Florida.

How about producing electricity with thermocouples?

A “classic” thermocouple relies on the relative ease of moving an electron from one metal to another in a heated junction. They’re used in gas fired boilers, temperature sensors, etc. To get a decent amount of power requires a lot of wires. Something I wasn’t very familiar with until I started researching this is semiconductor thermocouple that uses lead telluride. Recent research has improved its output by adding some dopants that produce points where it’s easier for heat to knock off an electron. Rossi is very interested, but I suspect that there may not be enough tellurium to go around. I have a small thermoelectrically powered fan that you put on a wood stove. It also serves as a good guess about the smoke stack temperature, as the hotter the stove gets, the faster the fan spins.

Cute device, pretty pricy. I’m sure there will be good applications, but overall I don’t think it’s thermocouples are efficient enough, inexpensive enough, and raw material plentiful enough.

I hear it’s a scam.

Well, suppose it is, we’ll find out soon enough. I think it’s likely for real, but there are several other opinions and red flags worth keeping in mind. If it is a scam, it’s a heck of a complex one.

The obvious opinion is it’s all been faked or that Rossi, et al, are seeing what they want to see and it’s all a fantasy. Early LENR devices had so little excess heat that it took painstaking measurements to find it. The device Rossi demonstrated produced so much heat that there’s simply no question it was producing heat. Even the input power, supplied by a piece of lamp cord, is nowhere near the 12 kW that was being produced. (On a 230 VAC source, that lamp cord would have to carry 50 amps to bring 12 kW into the test device. 50 amps generally requires AWG 10-11 gauge wire.) Other parties, including Swedish nuclear experts have concluded the device is real and is too small to provide the demonstrated energy chemically.

There are detractors, primarily science journalist Steve Krivit. He’s a longtime follower of the cold fusion/LENR scene and is quick to point out it’s not “real” fusion. He visited Rossi et al in Italy, burning bridges along the way. There’s a personality conflict, I think Krivit was looking for a science discussion about how it works and if it works, while Rossi was taking time out of another busy day building a 1 MW reactor expecting it will work much like his smaller modules, because they’re using many of them.

Krivit’s trip to Italy left both sides annoyed with each other. From that page, follow the subsequent posts to the actual interviews and observations of the system.

Krivit states “Thus far, the scientific details provided by the E-Cat trio have been highly deficient and have not enabled the public to make an objective evaluation.

Rossi retorted later, “Mr. Krivit has understood nothing of what he saw, from what I have read in his ridiculous report.

Krivit’s focus is on the boiling water test, and thinks that the output steam flow was “wet” – that water droplets cam out with the steam. Rossi set up another demonstration with much higher water flow to stay with liquid water, and measuring the flow and temperature gain. The results showed more heat release than before.

What sort of “red flags” should I be aware of?

Here’s a list, some are holdovers from cold fusion history:

  • It sounds too good to be true.

    And therefore requires extraordinary results.

  • Scientists have come away impressed, but scientists are lousy at spotting fraud.

    It would be nice if James Randi would take a look, there are a number of doubters on his discussion board. However, so much energy comes out of the device that it can’t be powered from the wall outlet, can’t be battery power, can’t be burning hydrocarbons (that second test released the equivalent of burning 7.9 gallons of gasoline). There’s not much else it could be, e.g IR lasers or microwaves.

  • What’s with Rossi’s legal problems in the past?

    I haven’t read too closely, but Rossi was involved in a trash to oil project that didn’t get very far, but some accounts point to corrupt Italian officials shaking down a company that was beginning to make money. (I’m shocked!) Those issues may be one reason why Rossi is working with Defkalion, a Greek company.

  • And how about Ampenergo in the Americas?

    I’ll contact them in a while. They’re going to have to move and move quickly. At least they didn’t spend much time on a name. 🙂

  • If Rossi were a real scientist, he’d describe the catalyst.

    Yeah, but he’s an inventor/entrepeneur. He’s focused on getting a product out, one that he wants to protect until things are more established. He may talk about it more in November after the 1 MW reactor is shipped.

  • And how expensive is the catalyst.

    Rossi says it’s cheap. There’s some other work that used palladium on carbon, I wouldn’t be surprised if the nano structure is from nickel on carbon fibers or even just charcoal. It may be his biggest advance is increasing the surface area of the nickel.

  • This converts nickel to copper, which isotopes?

    Uh, can I get back to you on that? Sergio Focardi says that what is produced does not match natural copper. Physicists from Sweden say “the used powder is different in that several elements are present, mainly 10 percent copper and 11 percent iron. The isotopic analysis through ICP-MS doesn’t show any deviation from the natural isotopic composition of nickel and copper.” If the copper produced has the natural percentages of 69.17% 63Cu and 30.83% 65Cu, that’s a big red flag and and means either the result is contamination with natural copper or that the processes that make copper in the E-cat are similar to the natural processes, which should involve exploding supernovae.

    On the other hand, if the ratio is different, then that’s very strong evidence that copper is being produced through nuclear chemistry.

    No one seems to be talking about the iron. Iron is a couple steps before nickel, and that suggests alpha particle emission, but that’s more common with very heavy elements.

I’m still reading, I want to know more!

A remarkably amateurish but informative video was created by Nobel Laureate Brian Josephson at the University of Cambridge. I think it exists because there just wasn’t a decent video introduction. Is it an appeal to authority if the authority is yourself?

A blog dedicated to Rossi’s Energy Catalyzer has appeared as http://www.e-catworld.com/. It’s run by Frank (admin). I think I know who Frank is, but he never replied to my query. I think it will be a good source of information.

In a July post from Pure Energy Systems, there’s a list of Web sites focused on the E-Cat device. I’ve only had a chance to look at a few. (The last is one I found elsewhere.)

e-catworld.com

ecatnow.com

ecatfusion.com

ecatreport.com

ecatnews.com

coldfusion3.com

energycatalyzer3.com

ecatpoll.com

nickelpower.org

An interview with Sergio Focardi gives a really good background on developing the E-Cat. Focardi doesn’t know what the catalyst is, but suspects it’s involved in splitting molecular hydrogen into atomic hydrogen (ordinary hydrogen is a molecule with two atoms).

Wired had a good summary of LENR research in 2006. One person referenced, Les Case, was a solo researcher in New Hampshire and longtime acquaintance of mine. He died of natural causes a year or so ago.

What’s next?

The next big step is the completion, testing, and delivery of the 1 MW reactor. After that, Rossi might have time (or might be surrounded by reporters) and be willing to talk more about what’s inside.

I’m just amazed that the mainstream media haven’t picked this up. I don’t know how much of it is bad memories from the science by press conference days of Pons and Fleischman, and how much is pursuing more important stories, like which celebrity is entering or leaving rehab. When they do pick it up, they may overhype it, but it’s easy to show that maintaining a high standard of living requires access to cheap energy.

While the E-Cat device will not supplant many current uses for petroleum products, it doesn’t have to. It wouldn’t take much of a demand reduction to chase the speculators out of oil, and it could help reduce the cost of producing products from crude oil to refined fuels.

Whatever happens, our “interesting times,” as the Chinese curse goes, are about to become more interesting.

Advertisements

  Subscribe  
newest oldest most voted
Notify of

“There’s one born every minute.”

Aaron

From the article…
“First and foremost, all the usable energy this produces is heat.”
With exception of solar, hydroelectric, and wind power, which are a minute fraction of our total energy production, the majority of power plants (coal, nuclear, natural gas) produce heat to drive turbines.
If this cold fusion device only produces little heat then a highly pressurized reactor system could be developed to take advantage of pressurized and heated steam to drive electricity producing generators.
Though I do doubt such a device is possible though.

My money is on the E-Cat being a scam even though better physicists than I (e.g. Brian Josephson) giving it some credence.
http://chiefio.wordpress.com/2011/06/03/can-a-definition-shuffle-steal-cold-fusion/#comment-18535

G. Karst

I agree, 500 celsius is equal to 932 fahrenheit, and that is nothing to sneeze at! Large turbines may be somewhat problematic, however, plenty of other uses, can be put to immediate use.
Of course, not much more can be said until the entire process is known and understood. Proprietary concerns may hinder/slow this juncture and delay advanced improvements – which is a shame. If this is as advertised?? GK

R. Shearer

Why wouldn’t controlled blank experiments be done? Why wouldn’t a calorimeter be used? Why would brass fittings and copper tubing be used in the apparatus when copper is supposed to be one of the products?
There is a least one report that the copper isotopes are in a natural ratio. I watched a video of Rossi and he needed a calculator for performing subtraction and he totally bastardized significant figures. The amount of steam produced does not appear to be consistent with the claimed heat release, which is difficult to assess because a calorimeter is not being used. It would be much better to use a non-metal apparatus to get away from the possibility of incidental contamination.
This thing smells even though I wish it were true.

Slabadang

Steam engined cars!!! mmmmmmmmm

F. Ross


“First and foremost, all the usable energy this produces is heat. The major limitation of this is the maximum temperature the reactor can run at, Rossi says they keep it at no more than 500°C. Modern power plants can produce steam at 600°C and a pressure of 250 bar. ”

While one can only hope that the device really does work as advertised, if it really does work what would preclude the use of the lower temperature/pressure steam to operate a less efficient electric generator?

re cold fusion.
Not even wrong.

AnonyMoose

I’m skeptical, but will be quite happy if it is real.
“If the copper produced has the natural percentages of 69.17% 63Cu and 30.83% 65Cu, that’s a big read flag and and means either the result is contamination with natural copper or that the processes that make copper in the E-cat are similar to the natural processes, which should involve exploding supernovae.”
“Should” involve supernovae. Maybe some astronomers need to look for situations where this reaction can also happen…whatever this reaction is.

KR

I try to keep abreast of fusion research. Much is tied to the “cold fusion” concepts of Fleischmann and Pons – I haven’t seen much motion on those. Sadly, I would put the E-Cat into that category.
But folks might be interested in the Polywell (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polywell) electrostatic fusion developments. This is based on the Farnsworth-Hirsch Fusor, From some of Dr. Bussard’s work (he came up with the “Bussard Ramjet” concept, and had quite a resume in fission/fusion research), but without the central electrode that caused ~98% of high energy ions to cancel out.
This is funded by the US Navy, always interested in power supplies for subs and capital ships. They created the first serious power reactors (Nautilus submarine), and I expect they are going into this with clear vision of the possibilities.
I don’t know if this will work out – but if it does, a lot of other problems just drop off the map. Keep watching this over the next 2-4 years…

Bruce

Well if it works I’ll give credit to E E (Doc) Smith, who was only 1 atomic mass unit out.

I wonder what the world’s nickel supply (not in the core) is like. Good news for Canada, I suppose. Metamaterials have unusual properties that could result in a geometry that forces a proton from hydrogen into a nickel nucleus. Maybe.
It has long been said that if someone found LENR that worked, they should just make units and sell them. Apparently that is what Rossi is doing. If it isn’t a money laundering operation or something else.
What is going on, of course, might not be fusion, but if it produces usable energy cheaply, is that a problem?

ew_3

If you live in a cold winter environment, even if the device only gives you heat, you’d be way ahead of the game. Simple systems tend to keep costs down.

Grey lensman

Geothermal power plants work very well with steam at 500 degrees. They use a simple heat exchanger to convert wet steam to a dry gas suitable for lp turbines.
QED

Does it have to be a nuclear reaction? Wouldn’t it be simpler to assume Rossi has developed (deliberately or otherwise) some sort of battery with the extra copper coming from a copper electrode? Does the device use copper tubes of any sort?

cirby

Heck, if it’s real (and I’m still REALLY doubtful of this), you could get a huge amount of good just by using the thing to boil water for desalination. Putting out water at 500 C leaves you with the fairly trivial process of catching the steam and condensing it into extremely drinkable water, with a good amount of Really Hot Water left over for all sorts of uses.
Heck, a steady output of fairly reliable steam can be used to drive a helluva lot of things. Like vehicles. The current state-of-the-art GE Evolution diesel engines only put out about 3.2 megawatts of power – it could be really cost-effective to return to modern-design steam locomotives hauling smaller trains with zero effective fuel costs.
If…

u.k.(us)

Call me skeptical.
At no point was there a mention of GE.
To not sell to GE, says it is open source or not economical.
The stock market has not moved.
Nobody is getting excited.
What do I know ??

j.pickens

Even if we accept the claim that fusion is occurring, I cannot fathom what would limit the temperature of the reactor to being below that of live pressurized steam.
Has anyone heard a cogent explanation of this supposed limitation?
I would think that it would be hard to keep the temperature from climbing precipitously, and the problem would not be that of too low a reactor temperature, but of keeping it from running away.

Fascinating, Ric… Thanks for keeping this information coming.

Brian H

KR;
As competition for PolyWell, check out LPPhysics.com — privately funded, far closer to scientific breakeven, much smaller and more deployable and dispatchable generation, etc. And a fraction of the cost per Watt and per kwh.

Claude Harvey

You’re being “had” folks and all the usual warning signs are clearly in evidence.

dwright

Skeptical is what it is.
I do allow myself the luxury of hope on occasion; Like a certain fictional character named Jubal Harshaw, I feel free to self-debate atheism vs agnosticism on alternating odd and even days with the leftover days dedicated to intelligent design. Unless a leftover day is Friday, being Pastafarianism day where I drink copious amounts of beer and wonder why I moved out of the city (and the corresponding lack of strippers) In the name of the Flying Spaghetti Monster and the Blessings He Bestows with a touch of His Nodular Appendages R’Amen.
Bonus points for Sci-Fi fans – name the novel for +1 internets.
Seriously though if this is real, it’s huge, if not, another scam.
Whatever, I hope I got a smile out of someone.
[d]

LK

The obvious reason to believe that this is a hoax is that it is coming out of GREECE.
I dont mean to demean the Greeks, but while the ancient Greeks are responsible for much of our science and laws, modern Greece is a basket case of lazy tax avoiding cheets and bludgers who have contributed nothing to the world in the past 1000 years – except better ways to defraud the system and take naps.
I hope I`m wrong.

Tad

Scam.

Some Guy

A) It sounds like a scam to me (99.5% sure)
B) The process by which copper is created in a supernova is the p process, which is simply adding successive protons to a nucleus. If you just add protons to the nearest stable nickel isotopes, you end up with both mentioned copper isotopes (eventually). However, conversion of nickel into copper is ENDOTHERMIC, you lose energy in the process (going through intermediate stages doesn’t help, either, net in > net out).

TRM

Sounds similar to BlackLightPower.com and their energy production devices.
Even if it is low grade heat that can’t run a conventional steam generator would it be enough to run Stirling engines? I’m not sure how much heat you need for those but I vaguely remember that you need a hot side around 250-300 C to prevent the engine from becoming too bulky. 500 C would be more than enough.

jaymam

So it uses up nickel 64, and 1 kg of nickel would produce 23 terawatt hours of power.
It would not take very long to analyse the copper isotopes produced. Why has that not been done yet?
If it’s not a scam, regardless of whether this is a useful source of power, there would be a huge new area of experiments using other materials. I suggest that all the funding for AGW be immediately transferred for that research!

Andrew30

If it works, it works, if not, keep looking and trying other things.
People did not need to understand How fire burned at the molecular level to make use of it. It worked and they used it. If this does work, it is useful, both as a source of energy and a source of funding for CERN et. al.
We shall see.

Graeme W

j.pickens says:
August 4, 2011 at 8:39 pm
Even if we accept the claim that fusion is occurring, I cannot fathom what would limit the temperature of the reactor to being below that of live pressurized steam.
Has anyone heard a cogent explanation of this supposed limitation?
I would think that it would be hard to keep the temperature from climbing precipitously, and the problem would not be that of too low a reactor temperature, but of keeping it from running away.

The most obvious explanation is that excessive heat interferes with whatever the catalyst is doing. In effect, if it gets to hot the reaction ‘blows itself out’. That’s just a guess, of course.
I’m reserving judgment. I’m happy to wait until the end of the year to find out what’s going on. It appears there will be something significant happening at the end of October. Either a working 1MW reactor, or a non-working supposedly 1MW reactor….

anna v

I commented in the previous thread on this, extensively in the discussions, and have not changed my mind that if the device will work and give energy, the theory will follow.
I have asked a related question in a physics.stackexchange forum, on alternative explanations of extra energy ( no answers).

ermerdr

His US patent IMO is not enabling and his EU patent has been rejected. So if this works it may turn out that it can be produced by anyone.
It’s also likely to be a scam but at least things are interesting.

If this is for real it is world changing.

Brian H,
The Gallumping Dromedary thanks you for that very interesting link to LPP. I spent many years producing instrumentation for fusion research but eventually came to the conclusion that fusion was the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. No matter how hard one tried, practical “Inertial Confinement” and Tokamak machines were always at least 30 years in the future. I gave up in 1975 but the situation seems rather similar 46 years later with the NIF and ITER.
Against my better judgement as a physicist I wanted Fleishman & Pons to succeed. Today I am rooting for the likes of Rossi and LPP while being sceptical about what they claim. They bring to mind Douglas Adams and the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (1979):
“….It startled him even more when just after he was awarded the Galactic Institute’s Prize for Extreme Cleverness he got lynched by a rampaging mob of respectable physicists who had finally realized that the one thing they really couldn’t stand was a smart-ass.”
There is a nuclear “pot of gold” with a little more credibility and it is called the LFTR, “What fusion wanted to be”:

http://energyfromthorium.com/

dwright

Mod I either messed up or got snipped or spam filtered, anyways, until I see a functional low pressure steam or forced glycol application I’m skeptical as well. Iv’e kept half an eye open to this new tech and dare to hope, but without going through the same old press releases I honestly can’t be bothered.
BTW we heated a castle with 12-15 psi, 500C should achieve that. If not then tell me about K/J of heat energy delivered through a simple ex-changer/ delivery sys.

Jim

This results are complete nonsense. Posting promotional puff pieces on
this sort of garbage devalues the reputation of the WUWT web-site blog.
The physics of fusion is sufficiently well understood so as to rule out
the possibility of room temperature fusion by sticking electrodes in
water.

j.pickens,
If you ask me to design a machine that can appear to vaporise 8.8 liters of water in 30 minutes I would use the technology that brews our coffee; lots of steam but basically very little of the water is vaporised (540 calories per gram). You can produce steam by resistance heating and use it to propel liquid water into the receiving container.
This is what Krivit was thinking when he pointed out that the steam was “wet”.

Bobalooga

Bruce, I thought I was the only one who read E.E. “Doc” Smith! As science fiction, it is horrible, but I positively devoured his works as a 10-12 year old. He expanded my vocabulary quite a bit in the process.

RockyRoad

Answers to several of the above questions:
“There’s one born every minute”.
Actually, it has taken over 20 years to get to this point, and Pons and Fleishman weren’t the first to delve into “cold fusion”, not by a long shot. Others had been working on it for decades before Pons and Fleishman, including Farnsworth.
As for the temperature limitations, it has something to do with the components the E-Cat is built from. There are reports that Rossi has pushed an E-Cat to the point that it melted the nickel, which does so at 1453 degrees centigrade.
It is my understanding that calorimeters have been used to measure the heat. But Rossi ran an 18-hr test that elevated a measured flow of water from 15 to 20 degrees C, with heat production that any 9-th grade student can calculate.
Steam Engine cars: Check out this reference: http://www.cyclonepower.com/works.html
Instead of using a flame, the heat source could be one or more E-Cats. (I’ve said my dream car would be a Rossi Ferrari Cyclone.)
As far as the isotope ratios, Rossi has a one-year contract with Bologna University to determine what the heck is going on inside the unit—hot fusion physicists deny anything is going on, but Rossi looks past their blackboard of 100-year-old equations and expects to find something new. (Amazing how myopic some physicists are.)
It is estimated that the world’s nickel reserves (proven, probable, possible, whatever) would provide enough raw material to generate current total levels of power for over a million years. Certainly that’s longer than all the fossil fuel resources combined and long enough for this observer.
The process does indeed have to be nuclear—likely of a new type. You can rule out batteries, chemical, RF, lasers, etc. etc. The amount of energy produced is proportional to the mass of fuel lost in the nickel to copper/iron conversion.
After the Pons and Fleischman’s debacle, cold fusion research fled the US and set up shop primarily in 6 countries: Japan, China, India, Italy, Greece and Israel. Some work continued here in the US and in several other countries. With the Rossi work, more countries are now joining the club although India did drop out for a while. There’s a report of a unit assisted by Russian scientists that uses zircon and hydrogen as the fuel and the end products are in the platinum-group family.
It is my understanding that Rossi has a 5-yr backlog on orders. It is also my understanding that a number of companies (perhaps even GE?) are working on cold fusion devices but that they wish to keep such efforts under wraps until the skeptical climate about cold fusion dissipates. Rossi’s 1MW unit, due the last week of October, should help dispel much of that skepticism.
J. Pickens is right—the design uses an outside electrical source to help control the reaction, which can run away and melt the unit if left uncontrolled. By the way, they’ve got the lead shielding needed for operations down to just 3mm. None of the fuels going into the E-Cat are radioactive and none of the byproducts leaving it are radioactive, either.
Recently there was talk that re-charging the device would cost about $30. This may be in multiple units (I understand it takes anywhere from 100 to 125 E-Cats combined to form their 1MW power plant), which would cost from $3,000 to $3,750 every 6 months, although they’re reportedly working on a charge that would last a full year. I don’t know of a single base-line energy source where the fuel is that cheap.
Greece just happens to be the largest producer of nickel in Europe and the fabrication facilities they’re planning to build will be located in their nickel mining district, which makes sense.
I’ve calculated that to produce all the world’s electricity using a 30% heat to electricity conversion factor based on a standard Carnot cycle, and even including a 30% transmission loss, which wouldn’t apply in this application because of the distributed nature of the generating plants (hey, you could put one in every neighborhood if you wanted to), it would require about 15% of the annual mine production of nickel. It might even make nickel mining profitable again (the economic downturn has dropped nickel prices from a high of $24/lb to around $12/lb, where it will stay until steel production increases, or Rossi’s E-cat utilizes a significant portion of the output.
The $200 to $300 million to fund Rossi’s venture has been raised through a private placement. Sorry, at this point you can’t buy stock in these two ventures even if you wanted to.

joshua Corning

“A demonstration unit in January took 400 watts in and put 12 kwatts out, boiling some 8.8 liters of water in 30 minutes.”
“experts have concluded the device is real and is too small to provide the demonstrated energy chemically.”
I am pretty sure 50 ml (size of chamber) of Metallic Sodium could bring 9 liters of water to a boil.
The idea that a chemical reaction cannot put out the kind of energy that is being claimed is moronic.
[snip ~ac]

RockyRoad

One more thing to think about: Mention was made of using this E-Cat heat source to convert salt water into fresh using the standard distillation process. A paper presented at a recent conference on LENR proposed a much more radical approach–that of blasting the salt elements with a LENR process that converted them to other volatile elements that simply bubbled out and away, leaving fresh water behind in the process. It was determined that this would be a much more economical way than using a whole bunch of heat to do the job.

pat

I don’t believe any of this. But I love to study it as long as I am not told I am to be subject to a socialistic economic system because this may actually cut down on electricity cost in the year 2050. And I am too stupid to understand that a consensus means it may not be questioned.
And I hope it is real because I love stuff coming from nowhere.

Douglas Dc

If true, this is one of those :”day the world changed .” moments. I would love to see
the World powered by something simple easy to monitor and produce.
Then, to the Stars…

Don K

“So the E-cat device by itself would have to run at a lower temperature and the laws of thermodynamics mean that the E-cats alone will have to run at a lower efficiency than conventional plants.”
I think this E-Cat thing is almost certainly a scam. But in the unlikely event that it isn’t, does it matter all that much if the reactor is a bit thermodynamically inefficient? It’s not like one would be paying $100 and up a barrel for the fuel. If it actually is generating energy from nuclear transformations, the amount of fuel required to generate substantial heat would likely be miniscule.

anna v

A Rossi is replying in the blog http://www.journal-of-nuclear-physics.com/?p=501 .
The reference paper to the same blog is no longer available but gives 403 error.

Steve

Do explain, Claude.

Dr. Dave

I, too, smell a scam. Without more detail I’m inclined to consider this a load of hooey. I guess we all can wait and see.

G. Karst

500C steam just means the turbines must be a little bigger and double the the steam extracted for re-heaters. Reheaters take wet steam out of progressive turbine stages and reheat it (another fusion unit?) and re-inject it, into another stage. This keeps the steam quality at design level. Expensive additions but not prohibitively so. GK

I think you are underselling potential based on very early technology. Its only limited to low temps now because of thermal runaway which is a problem in any strongly exothermic reaction. Give it time and good boiler engineers and they will get superheated steam like any existing compustion plant.

SteamboatJon

If this E-cat works I can see another use. Heat may be converted to electricity at lower temperatures, the link below takes you to a site that talks about power from 168 degrees F (from a hot spring). Not producing huge amounts, but enough to power a resort and on the link it says they saved about 228,000 gallons of fuel over the first 26 months of operation (or $650K in savings). http://energy-alaska.wikidot.com/chena-hot-springs-resort-geothermal