Since the start of 2011, PESN has been covering the emergence, testing, and commercialization of Andrea Rossi's E-Cat (Energy Catalyzer) technology. As 2012 approaches, it is clear that nickel-hydrogen cold fusion technology is going to change the world, as the production of a million E-Cat home units is planned.
As far as I am concerned, the year 2011 proved that we do not only live in interesting times, but a truly exciting age in which game-changing technological breakthroughs may allow us to overcome the challenges facing our civilization. A number of technologies made this year exciting, but some stand out more than others.
A prime example of a radical breakthrough that has emerged this year is Andrea Rossi's E-Cat (Energy Catalyzer) technology. The characteristics of the technology are so phenomenal they could be considered almost too good to be true by some people who are not familiar with all the evidence in support of it. In short, by exposing nickel powder to pressurized hydrogen gas, along with a proprietary catalyst, cold fusion nuclear processes are induced, and a huge output of energy is released in the form of heat. Unlike conventional nuclear power, no radioactive materials are used, and no radioactive waste is produced in the process. The heat can then be used directly, or converted into electricity via a number of different methods. To expand on the benefits of the E-Cat technology a bit further, it also emits no pollution into the environment, consumes only tiny amounts of cheap fuel (nickel powder and hydrogen gas), and has a huge power density. For example, in one test a reactor core with a volume of one liter produced a constant 130 kilowatts for a period of time. Andrea Rossi has also stated on his blog (The Journal of Nuclear Physics) that one previous model of E-Cat could produce a safe maximum output of 10 kilowatts from a reactor core only fifty centimeters in volume. In reality, the only limit to the output of the E-Cat is the melting temperature of the nickel powder (which is around 1600C). If the nickel starts to melt, the reaction sites where the energy producing processes take place are destroyed, and the nuclear reactions cease. Even only a few minutes later, an individual could open the reactor and detect no radioactivity. Actually, this aspect of the technology serves as a fundamental safety mechanism, because it prevents any type of conventional nuclear run away effect from taking place. Simply put, the technology cannot be weaponized to make nuclear bombs.
Nearly every aspect of the E-Cat technology makes it the "Holy Grail" of what cold fusion researchers have been seeking ever since Pons and Fleischmann revealed their technology to the world in 1989 and were quickly attacked by the mainstream academic world. Some of the earliest, precedent-setting attacks against them are described in our recent PESN article, "The History of MIT's Blatant Suppression of Cold Fusion." However, it is important to distinguish the E-Cat technology that is now in the market place, to the far less developed technology that Pons and Fleischmann announced to the world.
The most obvious difference is that the E-Cat technology produces, at a minimum, kilowatts of power. This is a thousand times greater than the few watts (or less) Pons and Fleischmann's system produced. In my view, the two technologies are as different as low grade heavy crude oil, and ultra refined jet fuel. Another difference is the fact that Pons and Fleischmann used precious (expensive) metals and expensive "heavy" hydrogen gas in their reactor. Instead, Rossi uses cheap nickel, a cheap catalyst (that only adds 10% to the cost of the nickel), and ordinary "light" hydrogen gas. This difference is critical, because it makes the E-Cat technology not only powerful, but very economical.
Over the years, there have been many cold fusion (sometimes called LENR) systems experimented with, and there have been thousands of successful tests. But none of these other systems comes close to having all the characteristics of the E-Cat technology, such as....
Massive power production in the kilowatt range, sometimes into the hundreds of kilowatts from very small reactor cores.
The use of the cheap and abundant metal nickel, instead of expensive precious metals such as palladium, platinum, etc.
The use of light hydrogen instead of heavy hydrogen (deuterium) that is much more expensive and less common.
The lack of any radioactive elements being used.
The lack of any nuclear waste being produced (some other cold fusion systems produce tritium).
The minimal amount of radiation produced while the system is turned on, that can be blocked by a few millimeters of shielding.
If the hot fusion scientists at MIT were terrified of Pons and Fleischmann's primitive cold fusion technology over twenty years ago, they would have had a heart attack over Andrea Rossi's technology. Introducing the E-Cat to the world back then would have been the equivalent of dropping a modern cell phone in the hands of Alexander Graham Bell.
The Proven Reality of E-Cat Technology
When the E-Cat technology first emerged back in January of this year, there were those who wanted additional proof the technology worked as claimed. As the year went on, they received an abundance of evidence from a long series of tests performed by engineers and scientists. These professionals from a number of different universities tested the E-Cat repeatedly, well over a dozen times.
Many different types of tests of E-Cat modules were performed as well. For example, in some of the tests, the heat produced by the system was used to transform (phase change) liquid water into a gas (steam). By calculating how much water was transformed into steam, the power output could be determined. The result of these tests were huge gains of energy. In addition, other tests were performed in which the temperature of inlet water was compared to the temperature of outlet water, to determine the amount of power produced. These tests also confirmed that kilowatts of excess power were emitted from the system.
Not only were different types of tests performed throughout 2011, but also there were tests of different sizes/shapes of reactor cores. The first systems tested had reactor cores that were cylinder shaped, with a volume of about one liter. Later on in the year, another model of reactor core was introduced. It was cylinder shaped, but much smaller -- with a volume of only 50 cubic centimeters (about the size of a D-Cell battery). Although it was smaller, its potential power density did not decrease -- its rated output was 2.5 kilowatts, and its maximum safe output was 10 kilowatts. Finally, near the end of the year, Andrea Rossi revealed another reactor core that was of a different shape and volume. This new "flat" reactor core assembly is reported as being approximately 20 x 20 x 20 x 1 centimeters, and is said to house three separate compartments where individual cores can be inserted or removed. Tests of all three of these systems have been performed, and clearly showed massive amounts of excess energy -- that could only be produced via nuclear phenomena.
Perhaps most impressively, the E-Cat technology is capable of operating in a "self sustaining" mode, in which very little or no power is required to be fed into the system. Perhaps the most impressive test of a self sustaining system was the Oct. 28th test of the first one megawatt E-Cat plant. At a certain point during the test, the input power was cut off. However, the output of the system remained stable and continued for over five and a half hours -- producing huge amounts of dry steam (nearly half a megawatt on average). Such a result would be absolutely impossible, if there were not cold fusion style nuclear reactions taking place in the system. No hidden fuel source or battery could have stored that much power. Also, the modules that composed the plant did not have the mass or "specific heat capacity" to store up enough heat (before the power was cut off) to allow for a thermal flywheel effect to be an explanation of how almost half a megawatt of power was produced for five and a half hours!
It's true that most of these tests may not have been performed with the extreme rigor a hardcore academic researcher would prefer. But bear in mind that such testing often entails many months or even years. The pending Bologna and Uppsala University tests are scheduled to run for two years. The academic world took 4 years to finally admit that they were wrong about human flight, even as the Wright Brothers and others were giving numerous flying demonstrations. An academic stamp of approval should not be what you wait for before being convinced if you wish to be an early adopter. There could be millions of units sold before that happens.
Although the myriad of tests performed over the past year have provided ample proof that the E-Cat technology is an absolutely real and valid technology, there is additional evidence that has emerged as well. Perhaps some of this additional evidence could be considered circumstantial or not purely derived via scientific experimentation, but I think it is worth mentioning.
The customer (an undisclosed branch of the US Military) that purchased the one megawatt plant is so satisfied with it, they have ordered a total of thirteen plants! At a price of $2,600,000 per one megawatt plant, this order comes up to almost 34 million dollars. No customer who was not convinced of the technology would make that large of an investment.
The customer has not only ordered the plants, but is working with Andrea Rossi to further develop the technology. One big development is that Rossi is now able to produce steam at a temperature of 400C, in a stable manner. This will allow for the technology to be used to produce electricity in an efficient manner. If they were not convinced the technology worked, why would they bother helping Rossi further develop it?
National Instruments, one of the most prestigious electronics companies on the planet, has joined with Rossi to totally redesign his electronics and control mechanisms. It's true that they will accept pretty much any customer, being a professional service, but their confirmed involvement illustrates how serious Rossi is in wanting to present a quality product.
Many competitors are emerging who want a piece of the action in the market for cold fusion devices. Many of these companies can be read about here at PESN. None of them have publicly demonstrated a power output anywhere close to the E-Cat (much less a dozen or more of them over the course of a year). All these companies emerging at the same time, claiming to have Ni-H systems, would indicate that Rossi must have something.
Some mainstream scientists have spoken up and claimed that Rossi's technology obviously works, such as Dennis Bushnell, a Chief NASA scientist (EVWorld). He claims that cold fusion has the most potential of any alternative energy technology on the planet. This is in addition to all the physicists, engineers, and university professors who have successfully tested Andrea Rossi's devices in person. Another distinguished scientist who has spoken favorably about the E-Cat is Nobel Prize Laureate Brian Josephson. He went so far as to publish a YouTube video criticizing the silence of the mainstream media in regards to the E-Cat, and presented a FAQ about the technology, as we reported last June.
Rossi has obtained another customer in the US North East (near Massachusetts) that is not secretive. They will allow for their identity to be revealed, and qualified experts will be allowed to examine their E-Cat plant as it constantly produces excess energy. Instead of a one day test, the operation of this planet will be a continual test spanning weeks, months, or years.
The apparent conclusion is that the E-Cat technology works as claimed. The evidence both experimentally obtained and circumstantial is strongly affirmative. Those remaining cynics who claim the E-Cat technology does not work need to remember their words will be recorded for all of history. Just like the short sighted cynics who denied human flight was possible months after the Wright Brothers had been flying in the sky, their pseudo-skeptical remarks will forever be seen as evidence of their pathological skepticism -- a mental disorder born of cultural brainwashing, not scientific inclination.
What Will We See In 2012?
Andrea Rossi is making tremendous progress developing the E-Cat technology. There seem to be two main challenges at this time that are related to each other. The first is maintaining a stable production of high temperature steam. Great progress has been made in meeting this challenge, as announced recently by Rossi that they have achieved a constant production of steam at 400C. The key to this breakthrough was the use of a primary circuit fluid that had a boiling temperature higher than water. If production of 400C steam was accomplished in a matter of months, I think by the end of 2012 even higher temperatures will be obtained.
The second challenge is to combine E-Cat units with appropriate electrical generation systems. One obstacle had been the lack of systems that could produce electricity efficiently from low temperature steam (100C) or hot water (under 100C). The ability to produce steam at 400C allows for many additional systems to be considered. Traditional turbines could be utilized, or potentially even more exotic systems -- if the efficiency is high enough.
One advantage of the E-Cat technology is that the energy is very, very cheap. This is because the fuel cost is near zero. Only several grams of nickel and a tiny amount of hydrogen can power a ten kilowatt capacity E-Cat for six months or longer! Therefore, if the heat to electricity conversion efficiency is not extremely high, it does not matter as much as if large amounts of fossil fuels were being consumed.
In the past several days Rossi has made a few remarkable comments on his blog, discussing his plans for 2012. The following is an announcement he shared with PESN.
STERLING'S COMMENT: I don't agree with the sentiment to "kill competition". I don't think anyone in the free energy sector will need to worry about "competition" for many years, as it will take a long time before market penetration is achieved. 1000 companies making thousands, or even some of them making millions of units, would not have a problem finding customers and applications in enough time to make a return on their capital investment.
WE ARE PREPARING THE PRODUCTION OF 1 MILLION E-CATS TO REACH A VERY LOW PRICE, TO MAKE IT AT HAND FOR EVERYBODY; THIS WILL ALSO PUT AN END TO THE WANNABE COMPETITORS WHO WILL BE ABLE TO BUY AND COPY AN E-CAT, BUT WILL NEVER HAVE THE STRENGTH TO MAKE SIMILAR PRICES. THIS IS THE STRATEGY I DECIDED IN THESE DAYS WITH OUR PARTNERS
This is fantastic news. Even better, he states on his blog that the plan is for these units to be made available in 2012! Although the first units will only produce heat, they will be capable of being retrofitted to produce electricity when the appropriate electrical generating components are available.
These units -- especially once they are combined with the equipment needed to produce electricity -- will make all conventional sources of alternative energy redundant. Because the E-Cat technology can operate 24 hours a day regardless of weather conditions, solar and wind power systems will seem much less appealing. As the price of E-Cat units goes down, the only competing technologies will be those that are truly exotic, such as those we cover on PESN. Unless a technology extracts energy from a seemingly "free" source, it will not even be able to try and compete with cold fusion.
It seems pretty obvious to me that if Rossi successfully produces one million E-Cats (which I have no doubt he will do), and is able to put them on the market, 2012 will be the year of the E-Cat. I expect the E-Cat and cold fusion to be the topic of news programs, political debates, and on the front page of every mainstream website.
To be blunt, cold fusion is like a "new fire" (as Rossi calls it) that produces heat, but consumes little fuel, and produces no smoke. It is going to become the most significant development of 2012.
It's going to create a BIG buzz. We just have to wait for a critical mass to be reached.
What Does This All Mean?
In the not too distant future, everyone who wants one (along with the cash to make the purchase) could have an E-Cat device not only producing hot water, but also producing electricity to power their homes. This would decentralize the power grid, reduce the cost of energy dramatically, reduce pollution, and benefit the world in many ways.
The implications of cold fusion technology will change the world. Instead of being destined to destroy the planet, humans will have a tool allowing them to desalinize ocean water instead of draining aquifers, turn deserts into farmland, reduce CO2 emissions, eliminate smog that creates health problems, and perhaps even colonize the solar system.
There are also economic implications to this technology. The introduction of the E-Cat will create millions of jobs. For example, factory workers will be needed to build E-Cats, there will be a need for technicians to service E-Cats, and whole new industries will spring up due to the technology. Industries such as recycling plants that once were hindered by high energy costs, could become economically viable, expand, and prosper. All of our landfills could be mined, and all the plastics, metals, and glass could be recycled.
The technology could allow for a more free society in which people can live off the grid, without big government telling them how to live. This technology could take power from oppressive governments and big brother, and give it back to the people.
A few years from now, oil may be down to $20 dollars a barrel, the global economy restored, and our planet a cleaner place.
Also, there could be all sorts of unforeseen benefits of the E-Cat technology we cannot yet fathom.
Almost as important as the direct benefits, billions of minds will be opened to the fact that mainstream science does not know everything. The suppression of cold fusion research for the last twenty plus years will be exposed, and the world will realize that anything is possible, and nothing is impossible. Perhaps the next big breakthrough will be gravity control or a faster than light drive?
I think the E-Cat technology is going to make 2012 a very exciting year. Due to the E-Cat technology, it will be a year of hope for a better future -- clearing the way for a stronger economy, less pollution, and more solutions to the problems we face as a civilization.
I'm honored to have been able to report about the technology for the past year, and hope to be able to continue reporting about it in the future. I would like to thank Sterling Allan for the opportunity he has given me in the past year to write about the E-Cat. Also, I would like to thank Andrea Rossi for sacrificing his businesses, his home, and years of his life developing this technology. The world owes him a big thank you for the many benefits his technology is going to provide our planet.