Many have been watching the gradual development of Andreas Rossi’s “E-Cat,” a device Rossi claimed to produce heat from fusing nickel and hydrogen at commonly used temperatures, as opposed to those in core of a star.
The next big event, the release of a paper reporting on a month-long test in March by a group independent from Rossi and his partner, Industrial Heat, happened today. The results are pretty much what I was expecting and essentially completely positive.
In a nutshell, the device produced so much energy that only a nuclear reaction can explain it, reaction products were seen, but no nuclear radiation was detected.
The test ran with an E-Cat cell in three phases:
1) no fuel charge
This was to verify the test setup measurement equipment could accurately measure both the electrical power into the cell and the heat released from the cell by convective heating and black body radiation.
2) approximately 800 W input power for 10 days, this produced some 1600 W excess power.
3) approximately 900 W for the rest of the test, this produced some 2300 W excess power.
This confirms what supporters expected. While the COP (ratio of output power to input power) was lower than expected, the authors make it clear that they deliberately ran the cell at low power to reduce the chance of thermal power. They point out that the adding a little more than 100 W input power increased output by about 700 W. That incremental amount is more in line with what was expected.
That’s mostly all that’s important – put power in, get significantly more power out. From what I’ve read, Industrial Heat has not yet used E-Cats to make high pressure steam and then electricity. That may merely mean they haven’t settled on the mechanical design of the reactor, there’s no point in making a boiler until then.
The most interesting part of the report is the isotopic analysis of the fuel before the test run and the “ash” afterwards. The bottom line is that the reviewers have no idea what is happening during the test run. They are utterly mystified and reject most of their speculation.
The fuel charge, only one gram, was assayed before the start of the test. The key components were determined to be nickel (Ni), lithium (Li), aluminum (Al), iron (Fe), and hydrogen (H). (Two assay methods found carbon (C) and oxygen (O), but the paper seems to dismiss them citing the tiny granules of powder they used.) The Ni and H were expected per Rossi’s descriptions in the past.
He also referred to a catalyst, saying it was inexpensive and not an impediment to wide scale deployment. The assay suggests the catalyst is
LiAlH4 which releases monoatomic hydrogen when it is heated, fitting the speculation about the catalyst’s role.
Each element was found to have the naturally ocurring ratios of its isotopes.
There had been speculation that Rossi used nickel enriched with particular isotopes, but apparently not.
The ash after the test run was also assayed. The small samples involved seem to preclude measuring the actual weight of various isotopes, so the paper concentrates on the percentages. It would have been nice to have accurate weights.
Natural nickel is primarily 58Ni and 60Ni. Those were nearly completely consumed, and the nickel in the ash was nearly all 62Ni. I had expected Ni + H leading to Cu, but several of the relevant Cu isotopes are radioactive, 62Ni is stable.
Lithium may not be a catalyst at all – natural Li is nearly all 7Li, a surface assay of the ash showed the lithium was nearly all 6Li. I’m no nuclear physicist, I’ll refrain from any speculation. The authors explore a couple paths, but ultimately throw up their hands and simply say more study is needed. Hydrogen wasn’t assayed – did it even participate?
All in all, this is a great, maybe historic, result. There has been plenty of evidence that the E-Cat works, but Rossi has always been directly involved.
Now we have an independent team working in their own space and with tools from their universities. They see it work and present multiple lines of evidence confirming it is a nuclear process.
That there is no explanation for the process is annoying, but won’t block commercialization of the E-Cat. The shouting isn’t over, the science has barely begun, but we may be at the start of civilization’s next major energy source.
The paper is at http://www.sifferkoll.se/.pdf
The best starting point is www.e-catworld.com report-released/
39 responses to “Rossi’s E-Cat Verified, But Mystifies Independent Reviewers…The Dawn Of An Energy Revolution?”
Must admit this reeks a little of perpetual motion machine science. But I am totally unfamiliar with the technology, haven’t read anything about it. Doesn’t hurt to get input about it.
It’s only perpetual motion if you get more total energy out than goes in. In this case, energy in is electricity and let’s say “reactive isotopes”, energy out is convective heating and blackbody radiation.
Given what appears to be a “net transfer” of neutrons from lithium to nickel, I’m not sure if we can call this fusion. I also have no idea what it takes to dig a neutron out of 7Li, which is why I said “net transfer”. And what happened to the hydrogen, anyway? There may be some answers in the assay graphs in the apendices, I want to look at those some more, there’s a lot there I don’t understand.
“I also have no idea what it takes to dig a neutron out of 7Li”
About 7 million electron volts. Or about a million times the energy required to lift an electron off a neutral lithium atom.
I won’t bother to read the paper
No, you remove the 7Li leaving the 6Li behind, which then shows up as the only lithium isotope on the mass spec.
7Li + 1H = 2 x 4He
Its hard to get a mass balance on lithium because you have to use a large sample and ICP since XRF doesn’t work for light elements.
Scepticism is warranted, but the removal of all the 7Li is consistent with the conversion of the 58Ni and 59Ni to 62Ni. How its happening is the mystery.
OK so the experimenters report a reduction of isotope 7Li, and an increase in isotope 62Ni. If this isotope conversion process is real then we can describe it as a process of neutron transfer between elements with the 7Li, acting as a neutron donor and both 58Ni & 60Ni are acting as neutron acceptors.
Conventional physics says that this low energy transfer of neutrons between nuclei is not possible. Has anyone performed the experiment in the absence of an electrical current?
Heating the constituent chemicals to the reaction temperature by simple thermal means and maintaining that temperature for the reported 32 days will establish if the presence of an electrical current is a necessary requirement for the reported isotope composition changes to occur.
Surprised to read about this here.
From a business/energy perspective it might be of interest to read the official statement about this report from Magnus Olofsson, CEO of Elforsk AB – the Swedish Electrical Utilities’ R&D Company. I know they’re pretty big in the northen Europe area, I don’t know about Germany though. This endorsement might be bigger news than the report itself — it implies that big heads in energy sector should be well aware of the results and the technology and are taking them seriously:
In 1896 when Becquerel discovered nuclear radiation from Uranium, many ironized about “perpetual motion, again”. Had they lived long enough to watch 1950’s first nuclear power stations, they would have been ashamed about their initial thinking.
Could be right, of course. But I’m a bit skeptical
Fermi allegedly agreed that LEN reactions are a possibility.
says Lewis Larsen, here
Radio interview with Lewis Larsen
Larsen is the co-author of one theory about how LENR reactions can come about.
It seems to do something, but i am not quite sure what.
All the calculations regarding temperature and external heating is a bit overwhelming. It would have suffered to just measure the temperature without the load, and then again with the load under the same conditions.
By the way nickel and aluminium powder behave strange in itself.
I’m not sure where this is being published, but it certainly doesn’t look like these are “independent” researchers.
A bit of scepticism is always healthy Pierre but this doesn’t, as the authors seem to think, go against basic physics. It’s just a quite unusual nuclear transformation. Also seems complex. The lack of radiation can be expected in lattice catalysed fusion – the excess energy being taken into the crystal lattice resonances – phonon type things.
At a glance, the tests seem very thorough and should have impact.
If the thing was really working, he would arrange for manufacturing and a descriptive patent.
Just presenting you with prefabricated objects leaves too much room for wiggle. He could simply include in a very clever way something very energetic when he makes the device.
That is why the key to modern science is openness and public repeatability. You say: here is what you have to do to get that result. The idea was mine, and I will get the benefits for a long while.
That is NOT AT ALL what appears to happen to Rossi. For many years now.
PS I remember a “perpetuum mobile” engine touted on youtube. You needed just a bit of thinking to notice that it was getting its energy, subtly, from the fellow who was demonstrating it, as he was positioning the device.
Thing is, it’s not really just about Rossi as a single man inventor anymore. His intellectual propriety has reportedly been acquired some time ago by a North Carolina startup called Industrial Heat LLC, co-founded by Tom Darden, the CEO of Cherokee, a private equity firm specialized in cleaning up polluted areas. They have $2 billion under management and have much to lose if Rossi, who they hired as Industrial Heat LLC chief scientist, and his E-Cat, will turn out to be a dud.
If Rossi is actually attempting to perform a very elaborate scam, then the Industrial Heat management (Darden et al.) is in the game as well and that’s why I think that at this point it’s an increasingly unlikely scenario.
This is Industrial Heat’s press release from last January: http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/industrial-heat-has-acquired-andrea-rossis-e-cat-technology-241853361.html
A few interesting points for the non engineers unfamiliar with heat transfer.
a) the emissivity of the alumina (0.69) considerably less than 1 (or black body) which is certainly correct and can be found in engineering text books
b) calculation of convection using the Rayleigh number never seen in any publication from (so-called) climate scientists – note the Rayleigh number is the product of the Grashof Number and the Prandtl Number. The Nusselt number which contains the convective heat transfer coefficient is proportional to the Rayleigh Number to the power of n (about 0.25) for natural convection
c) the radiation heat is about equal or less than the convective (natural) heat. With forced convection (eg in winds) convective heat transfer much exceeds radiation.
Further tests should look at forced convection such as for heating of buildings in winter and even steam generation.
Don’t yer just love REAL science. VV&T. I hope they continue to test and evaluate the system. Perhaps something a little larger ?
Rossi the inventor of the machine has a 1 MW Plant running in an industrial facility in The US. If u want to know more about it this is a good point to start: http://www.e-catworld.com/2014/10/02/1-mw-e-cat-plant-watch-thread-update-1-rossi-production-cost-in-kw-is-very-competitive/
Thanks Robo but there isn’t enough information (for commercial reasons) to be able to understand whether he is succeeding or not. Fingers crossed.
“He could simply include in a very clever way something very energetic when he makes the device.”
But what would be the point? There must be easier ways of attention seeking!
Anyway, I do hope it’s for real.
“Something very energetic” would be very interesting in itself. The paper makes it clear that neither the 1 gram charge nor the 452 gram device is big enough to generate the net 1.6 MWh (5.8 GJ) through chemical reactions.
They do note “Our values, though close to the energy densities of nuclear sources, such as U235, are however lower than the latter by at least one order of magnitude.”
I believe it is a scam. If it was legitimate, there would be no reason not to patent it in both the USA and the EU. Once it is patented, people would know the exact formula and be able to try to replicate it themselves. I don’t think you need to know why something works to patent it.
If they are only analyzing some scraping from the outside, the inside could be totally different, at least part of it. Maybe he doctors the inside with the isotopes found at the end to make it look like a nuclear reaction. Just knowing the elemental analysis does not tell you much as we don’t know if Iron is present as the pure metal or as the oxide, or some other form. Same for all other metals.
In the Fe thermite reaction, molten iron is a product but you start with FeO3. I have not read the paper and maybe Ric knows a lot more about this, but from what Pierre presented above, the details seem sketchy enough to attract unwary investors while allowing Rossi to stay in the clear as he does not claim to know why it works.
Nuclear reactions do not respond to temperature, pressure, etc. nor I would think to “electricity”. And all known nuclear reactions are easily detectable as they always give off some energetic particles. Nuclear reactions are also not likely to give just one or two products and not likely to go to completion. Again I am going by some comments about only Li-6 being left, etc. and taking them at face value. If it really is patented already, then I think we should know the exact formulas used and scientists around the world would be jumping all over this just as with “cold fusion” to see if it really worked and if it did, to be the first to make a historical discovery.
At least the USPO refuses to give a patent for anything that has no explanation via state of the art physics, so he would not be able to get a patent in the USA.
This appears to be potentially excellent news. Many of us have watched the E-cat rattling in and out of the news over the last few years, and after all the demonstrations Rossi himself laid on it’s very nice to see that independent observers also get such encouraging results. This time, nobody can make disparaging comments about Rossi’s “colourful” past to detract from the demonstration!
Bring it on. The rate energy prices are being racked up, the sooner we can get several watts out for every one in the better.
“nobody can make disparaging comments about Rossi’s “colourful” past to detract from the demonstration!”
New to the Internet, eh? 🙂 They can and are. There are some incredibly vitriolic sites out there. A couple years ago I tried looking into some of Rossi’s history and most of what I found was either from Rossi or in Italian. I’ll look through some of that when I get a chance, they may have links to less vitriolic sources.
The authors of this paper are supporters, it would have been nice to have some more neutral or even detractors along. For all of this to be wrong, it’s hard to believe Rossi could have made a device that could have produced so much energy. Perhaps he didn’t the authors are in on the scam, and have dragged along their institutions. One way or another, the claims are incredible, and I guess there will be incredible claims from all sides.
Ultimately the best test of the technology will be repeat customers.
I was very skeptical of the first round of experiments.
Now I’m still skeptical but will keep my eye open for news.
Could the process be a type of controlled thermite reaction rather than a nuclear one?
Reading the list of key components, I’m thinking “thermite” It’s like they’re using the electrical input to react the fuel while the mix of components in the fuel is dampening a thermite reaction, releasing this energy slowly.
A thermite reaction is usually very fast and explosive releasing a lot of energy over a short period of time, whereas the E-Cat seems to reproduce this reaction but it releases the energy at a much slower rate to produce the extra wattage of power..
It should be possible to replicate and to make more efficient, possibly with cheaper and more abundant materials.
I see no reason why it cant be able to power itself given that its source of power Lazes a fuel for a greater source of power, and that’s all it is doing.. The Nuclear indicators or byproducts are interesting tho, but then again the reactive components are mixed with hydrogen and processed electrically, you might expect to find these indicators already in the materials and are simply released by the process overtime (or maybe not).
Good luck to them!
Notice Fig 14 in the pdf. They show energy density for chemical fuels; aluminium etc mentioned; and the authors say, the e-cat is far off the scale of the diagram. So they thought about that and explicitly rule out any chemical reaction.
Im sorry DirkH, Where did I mention a “chemical” reaction?
Thermite combustion sounds pretty chemical to me.
I know.. In that case, the composition of the “fuel” sounds pretty chemical, the analogy I used seems to be fitting to the process describing an electrochemical reaction, I could have used the same analogy with a nuclear bomb, but it didn’t seem to fit.
There is an Electrical/magnetic component at work here as well, there are two main physical components.
1. chemical fuel.
2. Electrical/magnetic process.
Commonsense would suggest an electrochemical reaction occurring, resulting in the nuclear indicators or byproducts.
Note; a “chemical reaction” is very different from an “electrochemical reaction”, therefor, ruling out a “chemical reaction” does not rule out an “electrochemical reaction”.
P.S I said “Thermite reaction” and not “Thermite combustion” 😉
“I see no reason why it cant be able to power itself given that its source of power Lazes a fuel for a greater source of power, and that’s all it is doing.”
What is “Laze” and how does that produce a “greater source of power” without violating that Law of Thermodynamics. (The one that says “you can’t win?” – I think that’s the first but I’ve never learned the sequence well.)
I believe I’ve used the term “Lase” correctly within the context of my Analogy of the E-Cat process..
Referring to the likeness of stimulated emissions of excited atoms or molecules or other electromagnetic radiation.
The “greater source of power” refers to the a “fuel gain” in the Lasing Process, and since there is a “fuel” involved the Input power is Lasing/pumping the fuel, therefor the output is equal to the input+fuel divided by resistance etc.., this is a simple “fuel gain” It’s not breaking any law’s.
In fact Lasers have been around for over half a century and use the same process to achieve a “fuel gain”.
The puzzle seems to be around the nuclear indicators or byproducts found after the fuel is spent, which I’ve suggested it is probably that this type process releases the indicators already in the materials overtime.
Is it true that Rossi has convictions? I hear he spent some time in prison for fraud. I remain sceptical, though deep down inside I hope it’s bona fide.
Didn’t he once set up Petroldragon co. to turn garbage to oil?
Hey you can get a conviction if you fail to pay the fines the EPA imposes on you when a clogged ditch floods your land, turning it into “wetland” under EPA protection.
Rossi spent some time in prison in Italy, and has had other worrisome events. The last time I made an effort to understand them, (wow – three years ago!) I incorporated a summary in my WUWT post http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/10/28/test-of-rossis-1-mw-e-cat-fusion-system-apparently-successful/ – I won’t include the text here. At the time, the only materials available were text from Rossi and various things written in Italian. The prison time, he says, was for prosecutions that ended with aquittals. The Petroldragon affair is largely due to Italian law changing to make all products derived from hazardous waste be deemed hazardous waste. That destroyed Petoldragon and some of its customers. Apparently the hazardous waste industry was taken over by the Mafia, and they simply dumped it in the Sahara. I don’t know if that’s true, but I don’t know what other solutions there might be.
There are varous other things, like not being able to deliver a new, highly efficient thermoelectric module to the US military. They seem sufficiently at ease with that to have bought Rossi’s 1 MW pilot water heating plant. I suspect that sale was just to give Rossi a sizable cash infusion at a point where he needed funds to continue work.
Take everything from Rossi with a large grain of salt. While far from perfectly clean, this report has better methodology and analysis than any other report. It could be better, but Rossi is more interested in getting the E-Cat to the market and then getting repeat coustomers. That’s really the best proof.
I doubt they have control of the electric power.
In the report it is said the current is around 40A, and with 500W it means a resistance of 0.3ohm. To feed that from 220/380V grid is extremely difficult and even harder to measure correctly.
The other strange observation is, that they only test it with 500W without charge, to spare the heating elements, but when the charge is put in they turn it up to 800 to 900W. Further more it survive even with a claimed total power of more than 2kW.
All the thermal calculations are just a smokescreen to hide the lack of real knowledge of the electric power.
“To feed that from 220/380V grid is extremely difficult and even harder to measure correctly.”
But that’s what a run of the mill electricity meter does; like all of us have in our households.
Is there a problem with my comments? I’m unsure if they have been posted correctly.