(Last updated on August 25, 9.17 pm CET). Today Andrea Rossi was granted a patent on his LENR based heating device the E-Cat. The patent, which has the filing date March 14, 2012, can be downloaded here: US9115913B1
As far as I understand, the patent describes the so-called low temperature E-Cat that Rossi showed in semi-public demonstrations at several occasions in 2011, and which is also used in an ongoing 350-day trial of a 1 MW plant, but since it describes core parts of the technology it is probably also valid at a certain extent also for more recent E-Cat models with higher operating temperature.
Note that LENR is not mentioned explicitly in the patent, but also note that the contents of the fuel mix are specified — lithium and lithium aluminium hydride as fuel and a group 10 element, such as nickel in powdered form as the catalyst. This is important since fuel and catalyst specifications are lacking from an earlier patent application by Rossi on the E-Cat.
The earlier application has widely been considered far to weak to have chances to be granted. It was originally filed in Italy in April 2008, and an Italian patent was granted in 2011 but the approval was based on old rules, basically not involving any validation of the claims.
The lack of fuel and catalyst specification was highlighted in October 2014 when the Swedish-Italian report on a 32-day test of the E-Cat in Lugano, Switzerland, was published, containing a chemical analysis of the fuel before and after the experiment. Being public from that point the fuel mix would not longer be patentable.
Now it appears that the experimenters were allowed to do the analysis because the patent application containing this information was already filed.
It also appears that the earlier application has been used on purpose by Rossi as a cover-up while working on the second application.
Since the Lugano report was published, several attempts at replication of the effect have been made, most notably by the Russian scientist Parkhomov, who seems to have obtained a few positive results.
We are now reminded that Rossi has been using this fuel and catalyst mix since at least 2012, giving us an idea about his lead. It’s also clear that he understood already at that time that nickel was the catalyst and not the fuel, which was an earlier hypothesis by Rossi and his scientific advisor, late Prof. Sergio Focardi.
On the other hand, the patent offers new detailed information that should be useful for those trying to replicate the effect.
It’s interesting to note that the only reaction specifically described in the patent is the chemical reaction releasing small amounts of hydrogen, avoiding the need for a hydrogen canister which was used in the early demonstrations of the E-Cat in 2011.
This chemical reaction cannot be the main heat source. The main heat source in the E-Cat is a strongly exothermal reaction, only mentioned as such in the patent, and the very core of the E-Cat technology – a reaction that is supposedly LENR based, thus nuclear, and that should consume very small amounts of hydrogen, but for which a theory and a detailed description is still lacking.
This is the controversial part of the E-Cat, and although the fuel and the catalyst are described in the patent, the reaction in itself is not.
However, it says in the patent that a wafer with two fuel layers and a layer with an electrical resistor, typically of the size 12x12x1/3 inches, will sustain about 180 days, providing kilowatts of heat. No chemical fuel of that size can provide anything close to that amount of energy.
The document was sent to me by Rossi who told me he knew about the patent being granted already a month ago, but that it was officially published today. He had no further comments except that he thought it would accelerate commercialization of the E-Cat technology.
As a final comment I note that the patent describes several aspects of the low temperature E-Cat that I have observed myself or have been told about by Rossi or by witnesses.
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The website Ecat.com, that is run by Rossi’s commercial partner Hydrofusion, based in Sweden, has published a Q&A with Rossi with regard to the patent. One of the questions makes clear that Rossi has filed several other patent applications, but that he ranks this one as No. 1.