Author: Mats Lewan

About Mats Lewan

Speaker, author and tech journalist, focusing on cutting edge technologies and their increasing impact on our lives.

Poll: Does Andrea Rossi have what he claims? (Updated with results)

[UPDATED with results—see below] Andrea Rossi says he is the inventor of the E-Cat, the LENR based energy source that he has been making claims about since at least 2011, which I covered in my book An Impossible Invention.

Since I’m curious to get a picture of what the opinion is today about Andrea Rossi and his claims, I invite you to answer the poll below.

In order not to influence voters, the results of the poll will initially be hidden.

Feel free to share the poll with others.

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[UPDATED June 17, 2019]:

After about one week there are slightly more than 800 answers to the poll and the result has been stable for the last days. The poll will remain open for another few days, and the results will be visible.

I’m not surprised that almost one out of four considers the evidence too scarce to be able to answer the poll. On the other hand, the objective of the poll was rather to ask for an opinion based on the limited evidence available. If there were solid evidence, the poll would essentially have had no meaning since we would already know the answer.

 

 

 

My take on the E-Cat SK presentation—Rossi now takes orders

Early prototype of the E-Cat QX on which the E-Cat SK is based (photo: Mats Lewan).

 

Yesterday, Jan. 31, inventor Andrea Rossi presented his heating device E-Cat SK, with a claimed output of 22 kW at high temperatures from minute amounts of harmless fuel, lasting at least one year. Main take-away: Rossi is now taking orders in the US, Sweden, and Japan, with delivery times of weeks. Now we’re waiting for customers to speak out.

I watched yesterday’s presentation from Stockholm together with a group of persons being interested in the development of the E-Cat. Several of them thought, as many others who watched the presentation online, that the level of he presentation from a commercial perspective was low.

And it’s true that it was not the high level well-directed slick presentation you would expect from a global launch of a potentially world changing product (although I really appreciated the ironic and humorous opening with the two puppets representing Rossi and Galilei—great style!). Instead, it was the typical very essential and non-polished presentation by an inventor who cares first and foremost about the technology and its characteristics (see video below, with an automatic transcript here, and an edited list of the video contents here).

I think, however, that the presentation served its purpose, and that he can receive professional assistance further ahead when the presentation style will be more important. At this point, it would not be in Rossi’s interest to get too much attention, risking to be overloaded by questions and orders that he might not cope with. Instead, despite the presentation style, the core message got through:

  • Rossi is now taking orders from customers in the US, Sweden and Japan, wanting to buy heat at a competitive price (20 percent below market price, subject to negotiation for larger installations), with a delivery time of weeks after the date of order.
  • The customer must have an activity with a stable history, being financially stable, having a need for heat in the order of the output of one or several E-Cat SK (each producing 22 kW), having staff that can be trained according to the safety certification, and an engineer competent in the field.
  • Since there might be interruptions in the heat delivery—as I understood Rossi, the E-Cat will be turned off if the internet connection used for remote control goes down—the customer must also have an automatic backup from a conventional heat source.

Andrea Rossi presenting the E-Cat SK. On the top is the inlet and outlet for air/water/steam to be heated.

Apart from the specifications I reported in my last blog post, we also learned that:

  • the claimed COP (Coefficient of Performance—Output power/Input power) for the entire device is 57, with the electric input power being 380 W. However, the electric power is supposedly consumed almost entirely for cooling of the control panel and that heat is being reused at the output. The claimed power consumption of the E-Cat SK reactor is 0.8 mW, meaning that the COP for the reactor alone would be in the order of tens of millions.
  • The reactor could have a lifetime of about 20 years.
  • The fuel charge lasts at least one year, but it could last longer—Rossi has run the reactor for a year on the same fuel charge and it has never been depleted.
  • The weight of the E-Cat SK is 9.1 kg.
  • Rossi believes that the agriculture and food industry could be among the first to benefit from heat produced by the E-Cat SK.
  • Introduction of domestic E-Cat models will be based on certification that can be done only after a long time experience from a significant number of industrial installations.
  • Over time, Rossi would consider sales of the device in itself, but not in the first phase when the IP has to be protected.

As I wrote in the last blog post, obviously nothing of this is proven, and we will know for sure if the claims are valid only when one or two customers disclose themselves and report if they are satisfied or not. Rossi mentioned that one reason for customers not to speak out is that there are a few persons, at least two, harassing everyone connected with Rossi and the E-Cat, among other things focusing on risks from radiation (the process does not emit any ionising radiation).

But again—even though the presentation could be considered to be sloppy, the message is clear: Orders for heat produced commercially by the E-Cat SK can now be made, with delivery within weeks.

Meanwhile, there is also competition reinforcing the claim that the LENR process is valid (albeit yet without a confirmed physical explanation). US-based Brillouin Energy claimed in December 2018 that it has achieved an output power of 50 to 100 watts, with a COP of 2 in a similar process with similar elements involved (reported in the Next Big Future, which wrongly states that COP above 1 is impossible with chemical reactions; any log fire has an infinite COP since there is no input power—the difference lies in the energy density, i.e. the amount of energy produced per amount of fuel).

Yesterday, Brillouin also announced in a press release that a patent for part of the process had been granted.

And in November and December 2018, Brilliant Light Power, BLP, claimed progress with a different process based on what the inventor Randell Mills says is based on an ultra-low energy state of the hydrogen atom called hydrino, yet having a similar light spectrum as that produced by the E-Cat SK. BLP claims that the process releases power in the order of 500,000 kW, at a COP of 200 to 500, and that it has been running continuously for ten minutes.

Another recent news was an investment by Mitsubishi in the Japanese company Clean Planet, working with a technology called New Hydrogen Energy, apparently also in the field of LENR.

Also in Russia interesting scientific work is being done within LENR, some of which is listed in this summary by the Russian technology startup Syntestech.

In other words—Rossi might be the first of a series of technology companies launching a commercial energy service based on LENR, which is still considered to be impossible by many scientists, yet having the potential to disrupt the energy sector and to bring huge change to the world.

The presentation yesterday might therefore have been a historical moment, and now we’re waiting for a customer to speak out in order to know for sure.

Note: The image at the top shows the transparent tube enclosing the plasma of the reactor core in an early prototype of the E-Cat QX, on which the E-Cat SK is based. The photo was made with an ordinary SLR camera without particular filters or protections (200mm lens, ISO 800, f5.6, 1/80s), the light not being particularly strong to watch with unprotected eyes.

Note 2: Also read a good summary of the event by Frank Acland, the owner of E-Cat World, who was helping Rossi with the presentation. 

The moment of truth is getting close with launch on January 31st

On January 31, 2019, inventor and entrepreneur Andrea Rossi will hold an online presentation on the commercial launch of his heating device, the E-Cat. Thereby, the moment of truth is approaching for the carbon free, clean, abundant, cheap, and compact energy source that could potentially replace coal, oil, gas, and nuclear, and also solve the global climate crisis.

From the left: Prof. Sven Kullander, Ass. Prof. Hanno Essén, and Andrea Rossi, at an early meeting in Uppsala, Sweden, on February 24, 2011 (foto: Mats Lewan).

Since I started reporting on Andrea Rossi’s E-Cat technology in 2011, he always told me that his main goal, and the only thing that would convince people about the controversial physical phenomenon it was built on, would be to put a working product on the market.

Now, eight years later, after events taking unexpected and amazing turns which I told in my book An Impossible Invention and in this blog, Rossi claims to be ready to do so. His plan is to sell heat from remotely monitored devices at a price per kWh 20 percent below market price, with no carbon emissions from the operation of the devices.

(Note: The business model of selling a service rather than a product is a strong megatrend driven by digitalisation and by internet of things, making remote monitoring more effective, and it is already used by e.g. Rolls-Royce and GE, selling flight hours rather than aero engines).

While this already implies a substantial cost-saving for the customers, it is most probably only the start of what the E-Cat technology can provide ahead, if it works as claimed.

At the online presentation (more info at http://www.ecatskdemo.com) (UPDATE: Press release here), Rossi plans to show a two-hour video of a device already in operation, reportedly heating an industrial premises of about 250 square meters in the US to 25°C since Nov 19, 2018. At the presentation, he will provide details regarding the commercial launch, but here is what I have been told and what I have concluded so far:

  • The actual device, containing one reactor, has a maximum thermal power output of 35 kW. It measures 93x40x47 cm, and it consumes a small amount of electricity for the control system.
  • The customer pays for the output thermal energy minus the input electric energy which is fed from an outlet in the customer’s premises, with the electric measurement controlled by the customer.
  • The core temperature inside the reactor reportedly reaches a temperature about 10,000°C, heating a coolant through an in-built heat exchanger. The standard version of the E-Cat can heat water or steam up to 500-600°C. Using a different heat exchanger and other coolants, significantly higher temperatures can be reached, essentially limited only by the material properties of the heat exchanger.
  • The heating device is called the E-Cat SK, named after late Swedish physicist Sven Kullander, and could be considered the fourth generation of the E-Cat technology which is based on LENR, Low Energy Nuclear Reactions, easiest described as radiation-free nuclear power; It has the extremely high energy density of nuclear reactions compared to chemical reactions, but emits almost no radiation, uses no radioactive fuel, produces no radioactive waste, and uses only minute amounts of abundant elements such as hydrogen, nickel, lithium and aluminium.
  • LENR is a physical phenomenon which has been confirmed in scientific experiments and reported in over a hundred peer-reviewed papers over the last decades, albeit with low repeatability. However, a widely accepted theory explaining the physics behind LENR is still lacking.
  • Industrialisation of the E-Cat SK has been going on for about a year, since the demo of its predecessor, the QX, in Stockholm, Sweden in December 2017. It contains no unusual components and could easily be manufactured by subcontractors at any time now, at a pace of thousands of units a day.
  • The two main aspects of the E-Cat technology that are kept secret by the inventor are the fuel preparation and the electronic control system.
  • The E-Cat SK is monitored remotely. It is sealed and essential parts will auto-destruct if the seal is broken.
  • In earlier generations of the E-Cat technology, the energy producing reaction was started essentially by heating the reactor slowly, while in the the third and fourth generation—the E-Cat QX and the SK—the reaction is started and stopped instantaneously by a control system using electric and electromagnetic means.
  • The reaction emits very low levels of electromagnetic radiation—the same kind as e.g. light, radio waves, and microwaves. The wavelength is essentially between 300 and 330 nanometers, slightly shorter than UV-light from the sun. No other kind of radiation from the E-Cat has ever been detected.
  • Inside the device casing but outside the reactor, at a distance of 1 cm from the reactor wall, the radiation level is reportedly between 0.06 and 0.16 µSv/h—slightly above background level which is 0.05-0.07 µSv/h—in a day adding up to approximately one arm X-rayOutside the device, however, the radiation level from the process is zero, due to shielding.
  • [Comment:] The reported radiation value in µSv (micro Sievert) might be irrelevant since Sievert is a unit describing health effects from doses of so called ionising radiation, i.e. radiation with energy levels high enough to detach electrons from atoms or molecules. The lowest energy level required for radiation to be ionising is 10 eV per photon which corresponds to a wavelength of about 120 nanometers. With wavelengths of 300 to 330 nanometers, the radiation from the E-Cat reaction is carried by photons with an energy of about 4 eV, thus clearly non-ionising. As a comparison, photon energies in medical X-rays are more than 10,000 times higher, ranging from about 50,000 to 100,000 eV.

Lately, I have reported little on the E-Cat, simply because there has been essentially no new information that could be confirmed. Also in this case, in theory we will not be able confirm any of the claims presented, specifically since the existing customer will not be disclosed at the presentation on Jan 31, as far as I know.

But let’s assume that the there’s no working E-Cat device. Then either Rossi is fooling himself, and there’s nothing that makes me believe this now, or it’s a fraud, which hardly makes any sense at this point.

In the fraud case, the E-Cat SK would be an electric heater consuming as much power as it outputs. But after at least a decade of hard work, without asking money from any third party, having earned USD11.5M from his ex US partner Industrial Heat, why would Rossi get back now and sell heat at a loss? To a customer that would immediately discover the fraud by looking at the electricity consumption of the device?

Clearly, only when at least one customer, having used the heat from the E-Cat SK for some time, will speak publicly about the service, the moment of truth will arrive.

Meanwhile, everything else that I have observed and witnessed during these eight years, including my own measurements on the previous E-Cat versions, and the one-year test of a one megawatt plant in Doral, FL, during which Rossi started developing the E-Cat QX with its electronic/electromagnetic control system, indicates that the E-Cat is a working device, although many would call it An Impossible Invention.

Fulvio Fabiani

By the way, I would like to share my impression that the groundbreaking control system of the E-Cat QX and the SK, is the result of a kind of dreamteam consisting of the genius Andrea Rossi, with elusive and creative ideas about physics and about what he thinks could be possible, and of electric engineer and computer scientist Fulvio Fabiani, not only being an expert on electronics but also being capable of interpreting Rossi’s wild and hard-to-grasp ideas, transforming them into real electronic circuits actually performing the job Rossi had in mind.

Andrea Rossi visiting Prof. Sven Kullander at his home in Uppsala on April 5, 2013 (foto Mats Lewan).

I will develop this story further in the updated third edition of my book, which I hope to be able to conclude within a year or so, once the moment of truth has arrived.

And when the moment arrives, the E-Cat technology will most probably start providing clean, cheap, abundant, and sustainable energy to everyone in the world, in combination with solar and wind (which are a long way from replacing fossils on their own, and furthermore also require problematic large scale world-wide chemical battery implementations for energy storage).

Until then, the champagne remains on ice. And when I open it, I will be thinking of Sven Kullander and of late Prof. Sergio Focardi who played a fundamental role, helping Rossi to develop the E-Cat technology.

Registration for the New Energy World Symposium is open

UPDATE: The New Energy World Symposium was postponed in March 2017, waiting for an upcoming commercial launch of LENR based power. Read more here.

UPDATE 2: An online presentation regarding commercial launch of LENR based power will be held on January 31, 2019. Please get back to this blog for a report shortly.

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I’m happy to announce that registration for the New Energy World Symposium is now open, with an Early Bird discount of EUR195 valid until February 17, 2018.

I’m inspired to see that so many have already pre-registered, proving that the interest for this conference about consequences and applications of carbon-free, abundant, cheap, compact and clean energy sources in general, and LENR in particular, is significant.

On the symposium’s website, you will now also find the preliminary program for the June 18-19 session, as well as the abstracts for the speakers’ presentations.

Today, I’m also proud to announce another speaker at the symposium—former Royal Dutch Shell executive Joris van der Schot, who will address the urgent need for alternatives to oil and other fossil fuels due to climate change, and also put LENR into perspective with regard to existing renewable energy technologies such as solar and wind.

I’m still planning to add a few speakers to the program and specifically, I’m working on introducing at least one female speaker, which would be greatly needed!

For those wondering about the E-Cat inventor Andrea Rossi’s potential role at the New Energy World Symposium, I would like to clarify that the Symposium has no connection with Mr. Rossi or with his company Leonardo Corporation and that he will not be part of the program.

Now, I’m very much looking forward to continuing the planning for an inspiring and rewarding conference, providing the best possible environment for people who want to stay at the cutting edge of disruptive energy technologies to meet and network with each other.

New Energy World Symposium planned for June 18-19, 2018

It is with great pleasure that I can announce that the New Energy World Symposium will hold its first session on June 18-19, 2018, in Stockholm, Sweden.

As originally planned, the Symposium will address the implications for industry, financial systems, and society, of a radically new energy source called LENR—being abundant, cheap, carbon-free, compact and environmentally clean.

Such implications could be as disruptive as those of digitalization, or even more. For example, with such an energy source, all the fuel for a car’s entire life could be so little that it could theoretically be pre-loaded at the time of the car’s manufacture.

Ticket sales for the conference will start shortly when the program has been fully defined and selected speakers have been added. Meanwhile, attendees can pre-register here to be sure to be alerted when ticket sales start.

An initial list of speakers can be found on the front page of the Symposium’s website.

For suggestions on additional speakers with awareness of the LENR field and with expertise about a particular industry, especially the energy industry, or the challenges of introducing new technology, please contact us.

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The decision to re-launch the symposium, that was originally planned to be held 2016, is based on a series of events and developments.

One important invention based on LENR technology is the E-Cat, developed by the Italian entrepreneur Andrea Rossi. Starting in 2015, Rossi performed a one-year test of an industrial scale heat plant, producing one megawatt of heat—the average consumption of about 300 Western households.

The test was completed on February 17, 2016, and a report by an independent expert confirmed the energy production.

Unfortunately, a conflict between Andrea Rossi and his U.S. licensee Industrial Heat led to a lawsuit that slowed down further development of the E-Cat technology. This was also why the original plans for the New Energy World Symposium had to be canceled.

In Juli, 2017, a settlement was reached implying that IH had to return the license. During the litigation, IH claimed that neither the report, nor the test was valid, but no conclusive proof for this was ever produced.

Meanwhile, Andrea Rossi continued to develop the third generation of his reactor, the E-Cat QX, which was demoed on November 24, 2017, in Stockholm, Sweden. Andrea Rossi has now signed an agreement with a yet undisclosed industrial partner for funding an industrialization of the heat generator, initially aiming at industrial applications.

The E-Cat reaction has also been replicated by others. In March 2017, the Japanese car manufacturer Nissan reported such a replication.

A few pioneering companies are developing similar technologies, among them Brilliant Light Power, Brillouin Energy and Unified Gravity Corporation, while individual researchers and research groups such as Martin Fleischmann Memorial Project have been reporting progress in the field.

Altogether, there are increasingly strong indications that the LENR effect is real and also that energy products might arrive in the market earlier than many have expected. And since the implications of such a compact, abundant, clean and flexible carbon-free energy source will be huge, we think that it’s important to hold the symposium to increase the understanding and prepare for a New Energy World.

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This blog post was first published at the New Energy World Symposium.

Reflections on the Nov 24 E-Cat QX demo in Stockholm

[UPDATED 1-5] On November 24, 2017, Andrea Rossi held a demonstration of his third generation E-Cat reactor, the E-Cat QX, in Stockholm, Sweden, for an invited group of about 80 people. Here are my reflections on the event, in my role as organizer and presenter. 

Andrea Rossi (right) and Fulvio Fabiani (left) preparing the E-Cat QX demo in Stockholm. (Photo: Mats Lewan)

At the end of July, Rossi told me he had decided to hold a demo of the E-Cat QX in Stockholm at the end of October, and he asked me if I would take the role as the presenter at the event. I accepted on the condition that I would not be responsible for overseeing the measurements (which were instead overseen by Eng. William S. Hurley, with a background working in nuclear plants and at refineries). Later, the event was postponed to Nov 24 and as the event came closer, my role came to include also practical arrangements for the venue etc.

Although I would not oversee the measurements, I wanted to make sure that the test procedure was designed in a way that would give a minimum of relevant information. From my point of view, already from the start, it was clear that the demo would not be a transparent scientific experiment with all details provided, but precisely a demonstration by an inventor who decided what kind of details to disclose. However, to make it meaningful, a minimum of values and measurements had to be shown.

The E-Cat QX cluster inside a heat exchanger with water tubes and electrical connectors attached. In the background the control system in the white box with the E-Cat logo. (Photo: Mats Lewan).

On one hand, I may think that it’s unfortunate that Rossi chooses to avoid some important measurements, fearing that they would reveal too much information to competitors. On the other hand, I may understand him, provided that he moves along quickly to get a product to market, which seems to be his intention at this point.

As for the technical details of the demo, I describe them briefly at the end of this post, along with the discussions I had with Rossi up to the event.

Eventually, the event was held at a conference center in central Stockholm and went off fairly smoothly. I was happy to see an interested audience follow the program, from my own introduction to the demo and eventually a theory in progress presented by Carl-Oscar Gullström, nuclear physicist, focusing on meson physics.

A video recording of the event, except for the theory presentation, can be found here:

Here’s also a pdf version of my slides, and a pdf from the theory presentation by Carl-Oscar Gullström.

And here’s the video recording of Gullström’s presentation. It was fairly challenging for large parts of the audience I would say, including myself, although I, in the end, tried to make a very high-level abstraction of the contents which I had discussed with Gullström earlier.

[Update 5]: Note—at the demo, as registered in the video above, Rossi several times states that the dimensions of the plasma inside the E-Cat QX are ‘0.08 x 0.6 mm.’ (49:20, 1:33:20, 1:57:23). However, Rossi later recognized that he was mistaken about the unit that should be cm. In other words, Rossi’s claim is that the plasma inside the reactor has the form of a cylinder with the diameter 0.8 mm and the length 6 mm [end update].

To sum up the demo, there were several details that were discussed, from the problematic electrical measurement to observations of Rossi touching something inside the control system just before an additional measurement was being made (see below). [Update 1]: It was also noted that the temperature of the incoming water was measured before the pump and that the pump could possibly add heat. However, the temperature did not raise at the beginning of the demo when only the pump was operating and not the reactor. Rossi also gave the pump to me after the demo so that I could dismantle it (which I have now done—see update 4 below)), together with a wooden block where a 1-ohm resistance was mounted, which he also advised me to cut through (also done—see below). [End update].

In the end, I found that there were reasonable explanations for everything that occurred, and the result indicated a clear thermal output with a very small electrical input from the control system.

However, if I were an investor considering to invest in this technology, I would require further private tests being made with accurate measurements made by third-party experts, specifically regarding the electrical input power, making such tests in a way that these experts would consider to be relevant. (See also UPDATE 3 on electrical power measurement below).

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Technical details of the demo:

The E-Cat QX is a small reactor which like earlier E-Cat reactors presumably is a heat generator based on a Low Energy Nuclear Reaction—LENR—with an energy density similar to other nuclear reactions, releasing up to 1 million times more energy per gram fuel than chemical reactions, but without strong radiation, which is the common disadvantage with known nuclear reactions.

The claims of the E-Cat QX are:

– volume ≈ 1 cm3
– thermal output 10-30 W
– negligible input control power
– internal temperature > 2,600° C
– no radiation above background

– at the demo, a cluster of three reactors was tested.

The test procedure contained two parts—thermal output power and electrical input power from the control system—essentially a black box with an unknown design, connected to the grid.

Measuring the thermal output power was fairly straightforward: Water was pumped from a vessel with cold water, flowing into a heat exchanger around the E-Cat QX reactor, being heated without boiling, and then flowing into a vessel where the total amount of water was weighed using a digital scale.

A second method for determining the output power was planned—measuring the radiated light spectrum from the reactor, using Wien’s Displacement Law to determine the temperature inside the reactor from the wavelength with the maximum intensity in the spectrum, and then, Stefan-Boltzmann Law for calculating the radiated power from the temperature.

These two results would be compared to each other at the demo, but unfortunately, the second method didn’t work well under the conditions at the demo, with too much light disturbing the measurement.

The method for measuring electrical input power was more problematic. The total consumption of the control system could not be used, since the system, according to Rossi, was using active cooling to reduce overheating inside, due to a complex electrical design. [Update 4]: One hypothesis for the overheating issue is that the reactor produces an electrical feedback that will be dissipated inside the control system and has to be cooled [end update]. At this point of R&D of the system, the total energy consumption of the system is therefore at the same order of magnitude as the released amount of energy from the reactor, and it, therefore, makes no sense to measure the consumption of the control system. Obviously, this must be solved, making a control system which is optimised, in order to achieve a commercially viable product.

Instead, the aim was to measure the power consumption of the reactor itself. Using Joule’s law (P=UI), electrical power is calculated multiplying voltage across some device with the current flowing through the device. However, Rossi didn’t want to measure the voltage across the reactor, claiming that it would reveal sensible information.

He would measure the current by putting a 1-ohm resistance in series with the reactor and measuring the voltage across the resistance with an oscilloscope, then calculate the current from Ohm’s law (U=RI), dividing the voltage by the resistance (being 1 ohm). Accepting to use an oscilloscope was good since this would expose the waveform, and also because strange waveforms and high frequencies would make measurements with an ordinary voltmeter not reliable.

But, as mentioned, knowing the current is not enough. Rossi’s claim was that when operating, the reactor had a plasma inside with a resistance similar to that of an ordinary conductor—close to zero. Electrically this means that the reactor would use a negligible amount of power, but it was just an assumption and I wanted to make it credible through other measurements.

My suggestion, which Rossi accepted, was to eliminate the reactor after the active run, replacing it first with a conductor, then with a resistance of about 800 ohms as a dummy, to see how the control system behaved. The conductor should provide a similar measurement value as with the reactor if the reactor behaved as a conductor. Using the 800-ohm resistance, on the other hand, should show whether the control system would possibly maintain the measured current, expected to be around 0.25A, with a higher resistance in the circuit. At 0.25A, a resistance of 800 ohms would consume about 50W, which would be dissipated as heat, and this could then explain the produced heat in the reactor without any reaction, just from electric heating.

[UPDATE 3]: I now think I understand why Rossi wouldn’t let us measure the voltage across the reactor. Rossi has described the E-Cat QX as two nickel electrodes with some distance between them, with the fuel inside, and that when the reactor is in operation, a plasma is formed between the electrodes. Most observers have concluded that a high voltage pulse of maybe 1kV is required to form the plasma. Once the plasma is formed the resistance should decrease to almost zero and the control voltage immediately has to be reduced to a low value. Normally, and as claimed by Rossi, the plasma would have a resistance as that of a conductor, and the voltage across the reactor will then be much lower than the voltage across the 1-ohm resistor (measured to about 0.3V—see below). Measuring the voltage across the reactor will, therefore, be difficult: The high voltage pulse risks destroying normal voltmeters and measuring the voltage with an oscilloscope will be challenging since you first have to capture the high voltage pulse at probably 1 kilovolt and then immediately after you would need to measure a voltage of maybe millivolts. [end update]

At the demo, 1,000 grams of water was heated 20 degrees Celsius in one hour, meaning that the total energy released was 1,000 x 20 x 4.18 = 83,600J and the thermal power 83,600/3600 ≈ 23W.

The voltage across the 1-ohm resistor was about 0.3V (pulsed DC voltage at about 100kHz frequency), thus the current 0.3A. The power consumed by the resistor was then about 0.09W and if the reactor behaved as a conductor its power consumption would be much less.

Using a conductor as a dummy, the voltage across the 1-ohm resistance was about 0.4V, thus similar as with the reactor in the circuit. With the 800-ohm resistance, the voltage across the 1-ohm resistance was about 0.02V and the current thus about 0.02A. The power consumption of the 800-ohm resistance was then 0.02 x 0.02 x 800 ≈ 0.3W, thus much lower than the thermal power released by the reactor.

These dummy measurements can be interpreted in a series of ways, giving a COP (output power/input power) ranging from about 40 to tens of thousands. Unfortunately, no precise answer can be given regarding the COP with this method, but even counting the lowest estimate, it’s very high, indicating a power source that produces useful thermal power with a very small input power for controlling the system.

At the demo, as seen in the video recording, Rossi was adjusting something inside the control system just before making the dummy measurements. Obviously, someone could wonder if he was changing the system in order to obtain a desired measured value.

His own answer was that he was opening an air intake after two hours of operation since the active cooling was not operating when the system was turned off.

[Update 2]: Someone also saw Rossi touch a second switch close to the main switch used for turning on and off the system. Rossi explained that there were actually two main switches—one for the main circuit and one for the active cooling system—and that there were also other controls that he couldn’t explain in detail. [end update].

Clearly this comes down to a question of trust, and personally, discussing this detail with Rossi for some time, I have come to the conclusion that his explanation is reasonable and trustworthy.

However, as I stated above, if I were an investor considering to invest in this technology, I would require further private tests being made with accurate measurements made by third-party experts, specifically regarding the electrical input power, making such tests in a way that these experts would consider to be relevant.

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Here below is the test report by William S. Hurley, as I received it from Rossi:

DATA REPORT OF THE MEASUREMENTS MADE ON NOVEMBER 24TH 2017 ON THE E-CAT QUARKX TESTED AT THE IVA, GREV TUREGATAN 16, STOCKHOLM, SWEDEN.

Duration of the measurement period: 1 hour: the measurement has been made after the apparatus has reached a reasonably constant temperature
amount of water pumped through the reactor: 1 000 g
Water temperature at the input of the reactor: 21 C
Water temperature at the output of the reactor: 41 C
Delta T: 20 C
Energy produced:  20 x 1.14 = 22.8 Wh/h
Measurement of the energy consumed  ( during the hour for 30′ no energy has been supplied to the E-Cat) :
V: 0.3
OHM: 1
A: 0.3
Wh/h 0.09/2= 0.045
Ratio between Energy Produced and energy consumed: 22.8/0.045 = 506.66

Instrumentation used for the measurements:
Oscilloscope Tektronix TBS 1052B
K probes Omega supplied and calibrated by Prof. Bo Hoistad of the University of Uppsala
Water pump Prominent. The water pumped for 1 hour has been  poured in a plastic container seat on a scale to measure exactly the water passed through the E-Cat.
Temperature Data Logger: PICO Technology
The scale to weight the water passed through the E-Cat has been supplied by Eng. Mats Lewan of Stockolm

William S. Hurley
Senior Engineer- Endeavor
Los Angeles

§§§

Update 4:

I have now dismantled the pump and I found no hidden heaters or other modifications:

Pump nameplate:

I also cut through the plastic block on which the 1-ohm resistor, and later also the 800-ohm resistor, were mounted and found no hidden devices or energy sources inside:

 

 

Here’s The Settlement—Getting The License Back Was Rossi’s Top Priority

In the settlement between Rossi and his US licensee IH, Rossi got the license back together with all E-Cat equipment and materials, while none of the parties will have to pay damages to the other. Getting the license back was his top priority all the time, Rossi explains in this interview.

[Here’s the document defining the terms of the settlement (un-disclosed source)].

“To us, the most important thing was to regain complete ownership of the IP and of all the rights that were conceded through the license. At this point, it had become very clear that a continued collaboration had become impossible because of the choices IH made and because of other reasons. The development, the finalization, and the distribution of the technology—any agreement regarding this would have been impossible,” Rossi told me during an interview via Skype on July 15.

The settlement was drafted on July 5, 2017, on the fourth day of the trial regarding a lawsuit that Rossi filed in Florida, mainly against his US based licensee Industrial Heat, IH, early in April 2016, for not having paid the final amount of USD 89M according to the license agreement, after one year of operation of a 1MW heat plant based on Rossi’s E-Cat technology, apparently successful according to a supposedly independent report made by nuclear engineer Fabio Penon.

The defense, on the other hand, accused Rossi of having produced false results in conspiracy with Penon and others. Eventually, however, none of these accusations could be confirmed by proof, which I will comment on below.

“There were two clauses in the license agreement that were extremely dangerous to us—the right of first choice [if you plan to make any agreement outside of the licensee’s territory, you first have to offer the licensee the possibility to make an agreement for that new territory] and the rights also to all subsequent inventions. These clauses would have made any further development very complex.

“The perspective for the continued trial was that we could win or we could lose. You always have to examine these possibilities and investigate the consequences. A victory for us risked becoming a pyrrhic victory. Even though we were convinced of having a very strong case, eventually the jury would decide. And the problem was that in the case of a victory, the jury would probably say that it would be fair for Leonardo Corporation [Rossi’s company] to receive the claimed funds, but it would also be fair for IH to keep the license. For us to also get the license back was beyond the horizon.

“So my lawyers asked me before the trial which my priorities were if the trial would lead to any transactions—those indispensable and those negotiable. My answer was that the indispensable condition was to get the license back because I didn’t want to collaborate with IH anymore. As for the financial aspects, I told them which my expectations were, from a lower level to a higher one.”

Were you aware of the danger of the two clauses in the license agreement when you signed it?

“Yes, I had understood the risk but I was convinced that I was collaborating with a partner that I would never separate from. Let’s say that I got married without taking into account the difficulties if there would be a divorce.”

What would have happened with your new reactor version, the E-Cat QX (formerly known as Quark X), if you hadn’t got the license back?

“It would have been very complicated because it’s an E-Cat—the theory base is the same and the patent protection is basically the same, even though revolutionary inventions have been added, but the license agreement expressed very clearly that all inventions, also subsequent and future ones, would become IH’s property. Together with the clause of first choice it would have become very complex. So it was absolutely necessary to eliminate the license.“

According to the settlement, the defendants shall return or destroy all documentation, return all reactor vessels including the 1MW E-Cat plant, also promising not to disclose the E-Cat fuel formula to anyone. How will you be able to control this?

“With the information that I have provided you can make a replication, and if we see other companies producing something analogous, even partly analogous, this means that our technology has been transferred. And we will protect our IP.”

Talking about replication. In his deposition, Tom Darden [President of IH and of Cherokee Investment Partners] claimed that with the information you provided, they ‘were never able to build devices that successfully produced energy.’ What is your comment to that?

“During the discovery phase, emails from Darden were provided and made public, where Darden himself confirmed to have replicated our process successfully. We also have testimonials from persons who have assisted at such replications. Woodford [Investment Management] assisted at one of those replications, after which it invested USD 50M in Industrial Heat, even before the [one-year 1MW] test started in Doral [Miami], at a time when IH obviously had nothing but our IP in its portfolio.”

In his deposition, Darden also claimed that you had said that JM Products [the ‘customer’ that used the thermal power produced by the E-Cat plant in Doral—more comments on that below] was a subsidiary of Johnson Matthey, that Johnson Matthey would have operated the plant of JM Products, and that after e brief period of positive operation Johnson Matthey would have announced that they were the customer. What’s your comment?

“Mr. Darden hasn’t been able to prove what he said under oath. Basically, he has sworn on things of which he has no evidence. I have never said or written that Johnson Matthey was the owner of JM Products, while in contrast I always said and wrote that Johnson Matthey was the producer of materials that I had use for in my work with JM.”

Darden also reported an episode when they provided a reactor that you operated successfully, after which they revealed that the reactor was empty, suggesting that there were systematic errors in the measurement method, also describing your violent reaction when they told you this. Can you comment?

“Darden has said lots of things that he has never been able to prove. What he assures doesn’t exist. I always made experiments with reactors charged by me, or by me in collaboration with Darden. Never with reactors provided to me as a closed box, for obvious reasons.”

Let’s talk about JM, since how, why, and by whom the company was formed was one of the main topics to raise doubt about your motives with the one-year test. You already explained that you never said that Johnson Matthey was the owner. So who formed the company?

“I always said that the owner of JM was an [Italian] person who knew me since a very long time, and who was in contact with a British company and wanted to participate in the work with my technology. So I invented this proposal for him to be both a customer, buying the energy produced by the E-Cat plant, and collaborator, verifying the validity of my technology [both the E-Cat technology and the one used by JM Products]. This is what I always declared. And in my depositions, I also provided the name of the owner of JM. I also explained that the owner of JM didn’t achieve any agreement with the British society, and therefore went on by himself together with other partners.”

Rossi then explained that he had presented his attorney Henry Johnson, who would have the formal position as president for JM Products for administrative reasons, to Darden and JT Vaughn [vice president of IH], making clear that Johnson was his attorney.

“I would then have directed JM’s operations from a technology perspective. I also sent an email in June 2014, provided as evidence, in which I informed Mr. Darden that I was going to be the director of JM’s plant.”

So you invented the technology used by JM?

“Yes, I made all the technology, I invented their production plant, and I made the plant.”

Can you describe the technology?

“We produced substances with a very high added value. To do this we had to achieve an extremely high pressure inside small reactors that were introduced in larger tubes. The concept was to provoke contractions in certain materials, using heat exchange with the hot steam [from the E-Cat plant] and a pressure of a few bars but concentrating the force from the pressure on a larger surface, a few cm2, on much, much smaller surfaces, increasing the pressure proportionally. And this process consumed heat.“

How much of the heat from the E-Cat did this process consume?

“On average it consumed between 20 and 40 percent of the heat produced by the E-Cat plant.  I had to learn from the experiment how much heat was necessary, because there were not any precedent analogous experiments to get data from.“

So since it didn’t consume all of the heat from the E-Cat plant, you had to get rid of the excess heat in some way?

“Yes, I didn’t have any experience of the process in the JM plant, so obviously I over-dimensioned everything to be sure to achieve the intended physical transformations. I didn’t know how much the plant would have consumed, so therefore I introduced a heat exchanger after the plant that could dissipate the eventual excess thermal energy, condensing the steam to water that could be sent back to the E-Cat plant. I designed the heat exchanger so that it could dissipate all the heat from the E-Cat plant, in the case of malfunctioning of the JM plant, since I didn’t want to stop the E-Cat plant, because I needed to make the famous 350 days of operation within 400 days [according to the license agreement].“

So how much thermal power could the heat exchanger dissipate?

“One megawatt.“

And you didn’t have any photos of the heat exchanger?

“No. I never take photos. I don’t need them. I never take pictures of my prototypes.”

This was the famous heat exchanger in the mezzanine of the premises in Doral where the one-year test was run. The heat exchanger was questioned by the defense in the lawsuit since there were no photos or other proof of its existence. However, the plaintiffs’ expert witness Ph.D. Vincent Wong [Prof. of thermodynamics for engineers at the University of Florida] confirmed that Rossi’s description corresponded to a possible design for dissipating the necessary heat. Rossi explained that it consisted of tubes and two fans blowing horizontally inside an isolated wooden construction attached to the windows where the heat was vented out. A large tube for the steam and a smaller tube for the returning water went through the small door to the mezzanine at the lower left corner.

Rossi explained a couple of things with regard to the heat exchanger.

  1. A ‘circulator’ (positioned in connection to the heat exchanger) was used to stabilize the flow of steam and water through the whole system. Rossi wouldn’t comment on further data of the circulator since he said he was preparing a patent for this device. 
  2. This circulator had nothing to do with a pump of the model ‘Grundfos’ that was brought up by the defense’s expert witness Rick Smith who suggested that the Grundfos pump was used to make hot water flow through the system and that no steam was produced. The real use for the Grundfos pump was instead to push the water through a by-pass with a filter about once a week to make it cleaner.

Rossi also addressed the claim made by IH that producing one megawatt of heat inside the building where the test was run would have made it so hot that you couldn’t have stayed there. First, he noted that the sun on a sunny day radiates about 1 kW per m2 and that the building, having a roof of about 1,000 m2 normally would have received about 1 MW of heat from the sun, without making it too hot in the building, even though the roof was barely insulated. Furthermore, it had large openings with exhausts for venting air out of the building. Then the JM plant consumed on average 20 to 40 percent of the produced heat, and the rest was vented out with the heat exchanger.

I then wanted to hear Rossi’s view on the discussion about the 24 smaller pumps feeding water into the E-Cat modules, which had become one of the defense’s major arguments against Rossi, and also one that attorney Christopher Pace raised at the beginning of the trial.

“This is my favorite because now we’re going to have some fun. You need to see it from a ridiculous side because it’s so ridiculous that you can’t take it seriously.”

The argument, which was brought up in the Expert Report by engineer Rick A. Smith, was based on an observation that on the name plate of the pump it said ’32 l/h.’ In his report, Smith concluded that this was the maximum capacity of the pump, and multiplying 32×24 you get 768 l/h which, if evaporated, only consumes 482 kW—less than half of a megawatt.

The issue is that just next to ’32 l/h’ it says ’02 bar’. The reason is that any pump’s capacity depends on the pressure it needs to overcome to pump the water, the same way as the flow of air you can blow out of your mouth depends on how open it is. Now, 2 bars correspond to the pressure under 20 meters of water, which is way beyond the pressure in the E-Cat plant, and the pumps’ capacity in the actual situation was therefore much larger because the pressure on the pumps was about 1/10 of bar.

“Here comes the comic aspect. At the trial, you cannot bring documents that you haven’t produced during the discovery phase so I would have needed to explain to the jury, which was not composed of experts on the matter, that the capacity of a pump is a function of the pressure. I would have had to explain that the flow rate of a pump is an integral, not a number, as any intelligent engineer knows. It would have been a little difficult, albeit possible.

“But during his deposition, Smith, after having insulted me and Penon [the independent controller], several times, saying that we were fraudsters and how can you say that with 32 l/h and 24 pumps you produce a megawatt, and so on, then he said something like ‘now I will show you the brochure of the pump, 120 pages of technical data,’ as if he wanted to show how much of an expert he was. Then you need to know that I have used these pumps for years and know the brochure by heart. I opened the brochure and looked at the page where I knew that the capacity was specified, and it said ‘minimum capacity at 2 bars pressure, 32 l/h.’ But in his report, Smith had written maximum capacity.

“When he said this I could have reacted, asking if he had read the brochure, open it and make him read. But we preferred to remain silent, letting them being convinced that it had passed as true, just like when you have an enemy and you let him run and get himself pierced by your bayonet. I showed it to my attorney who laughed under his mustache, and we would then have brought it out at the trial. We would have destroyed them. Because half of Smith’s report talks about this and the other half about things that are related. But the problem is—we would have won, but they would have kept the license. That’s why my lawyers told me ‘you need to tell us clearly which is your priority—getting the money or the license because listen, you won’t have both.’ And I said the license because the license has an enormous value not only in economic terms but also in technological, philosophical, and existential terms.”

But, what do you think—didn’t they ever realize that they were wrong?

I think… I’m extremely puzzled by the fact that two engineers, Murray and Smith, are so naive not to realize making errors of this kind. I cannot make conclusions because I cannot start imagining things. I can only say that they probably all thought we were fools. I think that their problem, from the beginning to the end of this affair, was just that—they underestimated the person they had in front of them enormously. I believe that they thought they could write such things without my noticing it. It’s impossible that two good engineers with excellent careers, like Murray and Smith, really can have thought that something like that was true, because if a student at the first year of engineering school takes the exam in thermodynamics and tells his professor that a pump, of which the specifications says that its minimum capacity at 2 bars is 32 l/h, has a maximum capacity of 32 l/h, he would have been sent home immediately.”

By the way, since you know these pumps, what capacity do they have at the actual pressure in the plant—about 0.2 bars?

“About 75 l/h.”

Going back in time—when did you first understand that things were not going well between you and IH?

“When I discovered that IH was making agreements with our competitors. At that point, I understood that they were trying to fill up their portfolio of intellectual property in view of litigation with us pending the huge payment they were going to have to pay. It was instinct—I had no proof, but eventually, the facts confirmed this instinctive doubt.”

And later, on January 8, 2016, there was a meeting in Miami between you, Darden and the lawyers. What can you say about that meeting?

“Nothing, because it was a meeting between lawyers and covered by NDA.”

Now, there’s much more to comment, but leaving all this behind, what are your plans now?

“First there will be a very important presentation in Sweden and in the US. We can move much faster now, being free from a series of situations. My program is to start industrialization of a series of products, mainly the latest version of the E-Cat QX, in the US and in Sweden.”

Of the E-Cat QX?

“Yes, because the E-Cat QX is the latest version of the E-Cat, built on all my experience, also on the enormous knowledge collected at the one-year test, which was not only a test to meet the terms of an agreement, but that brought lots of information. The E-Cat QX was born there, at the side of the container, on a small table, from observations that I couldn’t have done before. I found a mine of information.”

Finally—what happened to your hair?

“I have undergone surgery for a skin tumor on the head and I cannot be exposed to sunlight. A normal wig is not shielding enough so this is a wig made of a material which has a very high capacity to reflect sunlight. I always need to keep this wig—a hat is not enough. But my health is perfectly good now.”

§

When Rossi filed the lawsuit against IH I had to take a step back and look at all possible explanations. I was and have been open to the possibility that Rossi was involved in fraud and conspiracy. But during the discovery phase of the litigation, it became obvious that the defense couldn’t produce any convincing evidence for this hypothesis. All technical arguments that were put forward were hollow and easily torn apart by people with engineering training. Yet, these arguments were continuously repeated by a number of people, possibly related to IH, at various forums. Since there was no way to discuss them in a serious way I early decided to stay away from such discussions, also closing the comment feature on this blog, yet I admire a few individuals, mostly anonymous, who continued to fight for what they considered to be the truth in those discussions.

I am confident that if Rossi were really involved in fraud, evidence for that would have been found during the time—a year and a half—since IH claimed to have started to be suspicious about Rossi. Looking back and noting that no such evidence was found, while hollow arguments have been shouted out loud, I have very little doubt that the E-Cat technology is real and that the one-year test was a clear success of a world changing technology, producing 1 MW of heat without emissions, from small amounts of harmless fuel at a COP of about 80 for a whole year!

Noting this I have also started investigating the timing for relaunching the energy conference I proposed in 2016—the New Energy World Symposium, addressing the consequences of LENR based technologies for industry, society, and finance.

Now the fun can start!

§

Documents:

The document defining the terms of the settlement

Rossi’s notes addressing the Expert Report by Rick Smith.

Rossi’s notes regarding arguments raised by Joseph A. Murray.

§

Note: All comments to this post will need to be confirmed by me.

World Affairs – Cold Fusion: An Impossible Invention

worldaffairsThis text was originally published in Vol. 20, No. 4, of the Indian journal World Affairs in January 2017. It was written on request by the journal’s editor and submitted in October 2016. The journal is circulated to many libraries, institutions, government departments and universities in more than 50 countries but particularly in India.

– – – – – – –

What if there was an energy source that could provide clean water to planet Earth, zero-emission vehicles with unlimited mileage, a solution to the climate crisis and much more but was blocked not by Big Oil but the scientific community. Would that make sense? Much indicates that this is the case with the phenomenon known as cold fusion or LENR (low energy nuclear reactions). Little did I know, when I wrote a short news piece on cold fusion in January 2011 on the website of the Swedish technology magazine Ny Teknik where I worked as a staff writer, that this piece would throw me into a story full of scientific mystery and excitement, harsh discussions on fraud and pathological science and hope for a world changing technology and that almost six years later, the story would still not be settled. On the contrary, it has probably just begun. The news piece I wrote was titled Cold Fusion: Now Supposedly Ready for Production. It was a report on a semi-public test of a tabletop experiment with a heating device, not very impressive looking, boiling water that was being continuously pumped into it. The test was performed by the Italian inventor Andrea Rossi in Bologna, Italy on his device the E-Cat (Energy Catalyser). The device was exceptional if the claims were true, not only because it produced heat from minuscule amounts of fuel through a process that seemed to be in line with cold fusion but also because it started every time and the output power was in the range of kilowatts.

Ever since the two world-class electrochemists Martin Fleischmann and Stanley Pons surprised the world in 1989 with experimental results that they suggested were based on cold fusion, such claims had always been in the range of watts and extremely difficult to repeat. Due to the difficulty of reproducing Fleischmann’s and Pons’ results and because the process was considered impossible according to known physics, after only a few months the scientific community rejected the claims with aversion as measurement errors or pathological science, that is, when scientists find results that are not true only because they want to find them. In contrast, a device like the E-Cat that started every time and could produce kilowatts of heat would be the answer to all earlier doubts on cold fusion. It would be nothing less than a scientific revolution and a world changing technology, more so since it seemed close to being commercially available.

When my colleagues and I noted that the news piece was getting close to 100,000 hits—several times more than any previous piece on the website—I realized that I needed to dig further into the story. Although there were immediate comments ranging from enthusiasm to indignation, it pleased me that our readers, mostly engineers, chose a pragmatic approach to the climate and pollution crisis. Rather than merely optimizing energy consumption and settling for known energy sources, they were more interested in solutions involving scientific discoveries leading to new unexpected energy sources or as Bill and Melinda Gates put it in their annual letter a few years later, “we need an energy miracle”—cold fusion would be just that. Most easily it could be described as a nuclear reaction without ionizing radiation and with no radioactive fuel or hazardous waste—in other words without all the dangerous side effects that have given the word “nuclear” its frightening and alarming connotation. Its most important aspect, however, is its high energy density. Nuclear reactions—like fusion which is the process that powers the sun and the stars or fission that is at the core of nuclear power plants—involve the atomic nucleus. The nucleus has a mass thousands of times greater than that of the tiny electrons, which are the particles involved in chemical reactions like combustion, oxidation, digestion and many other everyday processes around us. The forces that keep the nucleus intact are also several orders of magnitude stronger than those keeping the electrons in their orbits around the nucleus. This is one way of understanding why nuclear reactions release about a million times more energy from the same amount of fuel compared to chemical reactions, meaning that one gram of nuclear fuel corresponds to tonnes of oil or coal, which implies that with a nuclear energy source, the fuel of a car’s lifetime would fit in the palm of your hand.

So far, however, nuclear reactions have had the significant inconvenience of deadly radiation and hazardous radioactive waste. Furthermore, nuclear fusion, which has not even been achieved in a controlled form as an energy source despite decades of research and billions of funding, requires an operating temperature of a hundred million degrees. Cold fusion, on the other hand, operating at a temperature up to about 1,500°C would provide nuclear energy that is easy to handle—a compact, cheap, clean, silent and carbon-free energy source on-demand that would literally change the world. The issue is that so far no one has been able to explain how cold fusion can occur according to known laws of physics since nuclear fusion normally requires millions of degrees and produces lots of radiation, although cold fusion would not necessarily be the same case. “Hot” fusion happens between free nuclei colliding with each other, while cold fusion would take place among atoms fixed in a lattice in solid-state matter or possibly in a liquid and it is not even sure that what we call cold fusion should be defined as fusion.

What is clear is that the signs of this unexplained nuclear process—energy release far beyond what could be produced through chemical reaction and changes in the atomic nuclei—have been observed hundreds of times in experiments published in peer-review journals. Even direct replications of Fleischmann’s and Pons’ rejected results have been produced repeatedly, once the tricky and necessary conditions for the experiment were sorted out. However because the rejection from the scientific community in 1989 was so categorical, most of these results made by a small group of researchers scattered over the world, focusing on what is now labeled LENR, have not been noted. Nonetheless, these researchers helped some people become more open to the possibility that Rossi might have actually found something along these lines. Most people, however, did not think he had and many referred to Rossi’s past activities in the 1980s with producing biofuel from organic waste and eventually ending up in prison, as a clear indication that he was a fraudster. Since I know Italy fairly well, I soon found that this conclusion was a bit hasty and that as usual in Italy things were probably not what they seemed to be at first look. Instead, I found reasonable explanations to Rossi’s past troubles and some clues to his particular character, which in turn could explain why he might have succeeded where many others had failed. Just to give an example of his extreme strength of will and tendency to seek and undertake challenges on his own—at the age of 19, he set the Italian record in 24 hours non-stop running, covering a distance of 175 kilometers and 144 meters. Speaking Italian, I got in touch with Rossi, which led to a series of meetings and other connections and I eventually wrote the book An Impossible Invention where I tell the story of everything I came to know behind the scenes, until its release in 2014.

I introduced Rossi to two Swedish physicists—Professor Sven Kullander, a member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, which awards the Nobel Prizes in Chemistry and Physics and Assistant Professor Hanno Essén, at the time chairman of the Swedish Sceptics Society, dedicated to debunking false science. Essén surprised me by immediately saying, “This looks interesting”. Later Essén and Kullander went to Bologna, Italy to assist at a test with Rossi’s E-Cat, after which they produced a report that gained a lot of attention, stating that the process of the device must be nuclear. I also assisted at four tests with the E-Cat, making measurements and videos that I published at Ny Teknik. At one of the tests in October 2011, Rossi detached the electric input which was necessary to ignite the reaction and to a certain extent keep it under control and for almost four hours the device kept boiling water that was pumped in, without any power input at all. Many others and I found the test fairly convincing. During this time I was both encouraged and personally attacked by our readers. Meanwhile, essentially all other mainstream media and journalists in the world kept quiet—for years. During this time, Rossi kept working and developing his E-Cat, demonstrating an impressive one-megawatt plant under unclear conditions in 2011 as well as making and breaking connections with several corporations, organisations and potential investors, including a Greek, a Swedish and an American investor group and organisations such as NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) and National Instruments. As time passed, several prominent scientists passed away, among them Martin Fleischmann, Professor Sergio Focardi who was Rossi’s scientific advisor in Italy and Kullander, who though strongly criticised kept investigating the E-Cat, involving a few colleagues who continued his work and made an important long-term test of a second generation E-Cat with higher operating temperature in 2014.

The report known as the Lugano Report has as of today been downloaded over 200,000 times and since it contained an analysis of the fuel mix in the E-Cat—mostly nickel, hydrogen, and lithium—it led people all over the world to try and replicate Rossi’s effect and a few months later a Russian scientist claimed to have had some success. Meanwhile, Rossi finally found an industrial partner—the environmental investment fund Cherokee Investment Partners led by Thomas Darden who founded the company Industrial Heat (IH). In 2012, IH acquired the rights to produce and commercialize E-Cat technology in North and South America, Russia, China and the Arab Emirates and in 2013 IH helped Rossi re-build his one-megawatt plant that had been sent from Italy to Raleigh, North Carolina, where IH had its head office. Almost two years later, in February 2015, the plant was put in commercial operation for a full one-year trial at the premises of a customer in Miami, Florida, reportedly buying the heat. On 17 February 2016, the test was concluded after 352 days of operation, seemingly without major problems, producing its powerful output as hot steam, supposedly from only tens of grams of fuel that had lasted without recharging. Halfway through the trial, Rossi was also granted an American patent on the core technology of the E-Cat, to the surprise of many.

An informed and interested group of people closely following the development of the LENR field—estimated at thousands or even ten thousand persons globally—avidly awaited an independent report prepared by a reputable third party ERV (expert responsible for validation) having continuously controlled and measured the performance of the plant during the one-year trial but the report was never released. Instead, on 6 April 2016, the news broke that Rossi had filed a lawsuit against IH for not paying an agreed amount of US $89 million upon the successful completion of the trial—a lawsuit that is still ongoing, due for court in June 2017. At this point, I had to take a few steps back in order to reassess the information I had and re-evaluate sources, testimonials and my impressions of Rossi himself. Possible hypotheses ranged from Rossi being a full-fledged lunatic and mythomaniac, skilfully able to fool not only everyone around him but also himself, to conspiracy theories involving powerful financial and political interests wanting to control the introduction of such a hugely disruptive invention, potentially upending not only the oil and nuclear industry but eventually threatening the entire dollar economy. Fairly soon I could exclude the first of the extremes, concluding again that Rossi, certainly a peculiar individual, was definitely not an outright liar. Furthermore, the summed up amount of indications on his technology being valid and real was at that moment significant, including results achieved by other players in the same field, which I will soon get back to. The other of the extremes—the conspiracy theory—was almost by definition not possible to exclude, although I expected the truth to be found somewhere in between, with less exotic explanations. Over time this seemed to be the case.

The good thing about the lawsuit was that a series of details not known before or were protected by non-disclosure agreements immediately became public among them the license agreement between Rossi and IH, which turned out to be surprisingly advantageous to IH to a degree that made many people think that Rossi had been deliberately cheated. The license agreement also revealed that a 24-hour test of the E-Cat undertaken in May 2013 was successfully concluded and overseen by the same ERV as during the one-year test, entailing a US $10 million payment to Rossi, which was added to a US $1.5 million payment at the signing of the original agreement in 2012. In the lawsuit, Rossi also detailed key facts from the ERV report on the one-year trial that was never released—among them a coefficient of performance (COP) or a ratio of output power to input power of over 50. In other words, if the output power was one megawatt, all that power was possibly produced from tens of grams of fuel for a whole year, with an average power consumption for operating the plant of less than 20 kilowatts. Given that this was a prototype plant where performance could be expected to improve, this figure if true was completely disruptive from the point of view of energy generation.

What happened in the following months was interesting. IH obviously denied the allegations brought forward in the lawsuit, claiming that the performance of the plant was not as reported by Rossi and that “Industrial Heat has worked for over three years to substantiate the results claimed by Mr. Rossi from the E-Cat technology—all without success”. In a response to the lawsuit, IH later made a counterclaim of a conspiracy between Rossi, the ERV, and a few other persons involved, accusing them of fraud, claiming that the customer in Florida did not exist and that there was no process using the heat from the plant. More remarkable was that a group of people, of whom at least one with close connections to IH as an investor started an aggressive campaign against Rossi on different internet fora, making serious accusations, claiming to have proof of a series of irregularities committed by Rossi. To my knowledge, however, no substantial technical evidence has until this moment been filed by IH to prove that the plant was not working. In fact, in its response, even IH did not claim a COP below 10, which in itself would be scientifically sensational. Instead, IH seems to be fighting the case mainly on formal contractual grounds. What is also remarkable is that in defending itself against an alleged fraudster, IH has apparently decided to take help from the world’s most high profile public relations and crisis management agency, APCO Worldwide and the most prestigious law firm in the United States of America (US), Jones Day.

Meanwhile, people with insight to the ERV report that was never released have explained to me that the result presented in the report is conclusive and that the only possible way to attack it would be to attack Rossi, the ERV, and other people involved, for fraud. Yet, based on testimonials I have received, I find the fraud hypothesis highly unlikely. Obviously, it is premature to draw any firm conclusions while the lawsuit is ongoing. Still, my strictly personal assessment, adding all the pieces of the puzzle and weighing them in direct contact with several parties, is that IH was acting logically as a venture capitalist, trying to get hold of an incredibly valuable technology at the lowest possible cost, but that it misjudged the difficulties in dealing with the inventor and other people involved. This does not mean that I find IH’s behavior correct or defendable but again that is for the court to sort out and I have confidence in its ability to do so. At this moment, Rossi is busy with daily actions regarding the lawsuit and the situation might remind someone of what the Wright Brothers went through soon after they made their aircraft technology public. The situation is also similar in the sense that we are discussing a potentially world-changing technology that has been considered impossible from a scientific point of view—just like heavier-than-air flight—yet observations indicate its validity.

It is, however, more important to pay attention to a further development of the E-Cat technology that Rossi claims to have achieved. The new reactor generation is called the Quark X. According to Rossi, it is a tiny device as large as a match producing an output power of about 20 watts, which is not much. However, as with earlier reactors, the COP is supposedly high, the reaction starts instantly and the output is heat, light or even electricity. In addition, the tiny match-sized reactor can supposedly be combined in groups to achieve any total output power. This has yet to be confirmed and proven but again based on information from sources, I have reason to believe that these claims are true and that Rossi will be ready to demonstrate them within a year or maybe months. For anyone hearing this for the first time, it may seem completely absurd and unbelievable, not least since it seems obvious that such a revolutionary technology should be widely talked about and reported on by scientists and media by now, but is not. It is important to look back in history and remember how difficult it is for inventions threatening an existing scientific paradigm to gain recognition. Moreover, the resistance against the idea of LENR, which has become apparent, should not be underestimated. To quote the legendary physicist Max Planck, whose theories led to a paradigm shift, “A new scientific truth does not triumph by convincing opponents and making them see the light, but rather because its opponents eventually die and a new generation grows up that is familiar with it”. Adding to this are economic interests—billions of dollars are directed towards research on “hot or plasma fusion” as an energy source—a research field that would instantly become obsolete if you could achieve the same energy density—sustainable and carbon free—from a reaction without the need for an operating temperature of a hundred million degrees and without deadly radiation.

Maybe most important is the fact that Rossi is not alone in this field. As always in the history of science and technology, new phenomena and inventions emerge through the work of several persons or groups, more or less at the same time, in different parts of the world. LENR research is actively carried out in countries such as Italy, India, Japan, Russia and the US. In Japan, a joint venture between Tohoku University and Clean Planet Inc was launched in 2015, with the aim to develop LENR technology for sustainable energy production and for mitigation of nuclear waste, which is possible through transmutation—the changes in the atomic nuclei that occur at the reaction. At ICCF—the international conference on LENR science—Professor Yasuhiro Iwamura of Tohoku University recently presented results showing stable and reproducible energy release. In the US, a company called Brillouin Energy has been working on LENR based technology for heat generation for many years. With a technology called Q-Pulse, it now claims to be in a research and development phase, being able to control the reaction, turn it on and off, which seems to be one of the main challenges in LENR and to consistently produce heat. The next step, according to Brillouin, is going to market.

The increased interest and activity in the field during the last few years has also led to political awareness and in June 2016 it was reported that the US House of Representatives Armed Services Committee had ordered the Secretary of Defence to provide a briefing on LENR to the committee by 22 September 2016. However, the briefing was not expected to be public and it is not known if it has been completed or what it contains. These are just a few examples of events and players that add credibility to the LENR field. I emphasize that we are not talking about some fluffy dreamlike miraculous energy emerging from imaginary hidden dimensions that you just have to believe in to make it true. This is science. The energy released in low energy nuclear reactions originates, like in all exothermic nuclear and chemical reactions, from mass transformed into energy, according to Einstein’s epic formula ‘energy equals mass times the speed of light squared’ (E=mc2). What is not yet known is how these reactions can occur at relatively low temperatures and without dangerous high-energy radiation—that remains to be explained.

That the consequences of such an energy source would be disruptive is an understatement. Personally, I think it is high time to discuss the implications for industry, finance, and society and earlier this year I founded the New Energy World Symposium with this scope. The initial plans were to hold the first session in Stockholm, Sweden in June 2016, but because of the lawsuit and the missing report from the one-year test, I had to cancel the event and aim to re-launch the symposium next year. The reason this is important is that the potential implications are so profound that it is urgent to start discussing them, in order to avoid a chaotic energy transition. Some effects may not be disruptive from an industry point of view but yet would be of fundamental importance such as the possibility of providing clean water to every person on planet Earth. The World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates that about 3.5 million people die every year from a lack of clean water and that 780 million people lack access to clean and safe water sources. With an energy source producing heat for months or years from grams of cheap fuel, anyone could sterilize water through boiling.

One step further is a device called Slingshot, developed by entrepreneur Dean Kamen, inventor of the self-balancing two-wheeled Segway. Slingshot desalinates water and can turn virtually anything wet into clean drinking water via a process based on vapour-compression distillation. It also supplies electrical power and is intended to work for long periods without maintenance. Slingshot is powered by a Stirling engine—an advanced version of the steam engine that needs only a heat source to spin. Heat is what an LENR based energy source offers. Has Dean Kamen developed an idea about this yet? As a source of heat, merely replacing fire, LENR could provide significant benefits. According to the WHO, three billion people use open fires and leaky stoves for cooking and heating, daily. Over a million people die each year from the lung disease COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), acquired from breathing polluted indoor air, while almost half of all deaths from pneumonia among children under five are also due to poor air where fires burn indoors. Moreover, collecting firewood takes a lot of time from women and children, reducing their ability to perform other productive work or go to school. A clean, new heat source, free of radioactivity and emissions could potentially address this problem, equally applicable to any other heating method. It is, therefore, most urgent to develop and deploy LENR based energy sources as soon as possible in order to reduce carbon dioxide emissions and solve the climate crisis. LENR based energy is carbon-free and sustainable. It consumes a few elements, but these are abundant on Earth and would be used at a pace which would not be an issue for millions of years.

Together with solar power, LENR holds the promise to stop global warming. Solar power is arguably the most viable among sustainable conventional energy sources so far, with a cost that is decreasing exponentially. However, a massive scale of installed solar power worldwide requires huge amounts of batteries for energy storage, which entails significant environmental problems for producing, handling and recycling battery chemicals. LENR based energy sources operate 24/7, even at night and could potentially reduce the need for battery storage to a fraction of what would otherwise be needed. Abundant access to cheap and sustainable energy would even make it possible to extract carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, turn it into hydrocarbons, which requires energy, and pump it back into the ground, thus reducing global warming more effectively than even a complete stop of carbon emissions would.

So far so good but then comes the disruptive aspect, which makes it important to start discussing the implications of LENR based energy. We can already see the big picture. An energy source like cold fusion would over time not only substitute fossil fuels and nuclear power, saving the world from disastrous air pollution and radiation hazard but also challenge established structures in the global multi-trillion dollar energy industry. It would decrease the cost of production in virtually every industry from agriculture to steel and lower all transportation costs. If Rossi’s Quark X can be confirmed it is merely an engineering issue to provide electric vehicles—cars, trucks, and buses—with an energy source that removes the need for recharging the battery and reduces the necessary battery size to a relatively small backup battery. Together with technology for autonomous vehicles, the implications for the transportation industry are huge.

Conditions for military operations would also change fundamentally. Autonomous systems such as drones and unmanned underwater vehicles would be able to operate continuously on their own for months and the small size of the Quark X should make it possible to launch swarms of insect-like micro drones. Such drones are already being developed by the US government-backed consortium Micro Autonomous Systems and Technology but what is still lacking is a lightweight and durable energy source. From a consumer perspective, we could expect to see LENR based energy accelerate the potential for many households to go off-grid, which in turn would either challenge the business case for wide area power grids or increase the need for smart grids, with possibilities to input and consume power at all nodes in the network. Knowing how difficult it is to predict long-term effects of important innovations, this is probably only the start of what a cheap, abundant and sustainable energy source would mean for the world.

Yet, the main consequence of LENR based power generation may be even more disruptive. From a larger perspective, it would eventually mean that energy would shift from being controlled by a few to being easily accessible to everyone on Earth, just as what happened with information in a few decades through the development of the internet. Such a redistribution of energy control would bring a change of the same magnitude for individuals and society as well as geopolitically. With direct access to free information and cheap energy combined, opportunities for people all over the world to raise their living standards, gain access to education, realise their dreams and ideas, start businesses, take care of their health and protect their freedom would increase dramatically, while the possibility for nations, governments and large corporations to exercise power based on controlling energy supplies would be dramatically reduced. Hopefully, however, this access to abundant energy will not decrease the ongoing efforts to optimize energy consumption throughout the world. Moreover, from a scientific perspective, solving the theoretical mystery of LENR might, according to competent scientists, change and expand our understanding of matter and energy. Yet, many scientists still consider all this to be impossible.

Mats Lewan, October 2016.

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Due to the infected debate regarding the ongoing lawsuit between Rossi, his licensee IH, and other parties involved, where the transparency of personal interests may be limited, I have chosen to keep this blog closed for comments until all evidence is presented in court and the lawsuit is settled.

Rossi makes offer on Swedish factory building – plus more updates

Screen Shot 2016-05-16 at 15.04.35Last week, Andrea Rossi made a visit to Sweden, and apart from meeting with the team of professors in Uppsala, with me and other persons, he made a trip from Stockholm to the south of Sweden to have look at a 10,000 square meter factory building for sale. The day after, assisted by his Northern Europe partner and licensee Hydrofusion, Rossi made an offer on the building in the order of USD 3 to 5 million. Negotiations are now ongoing.

Obviously, making an offer is not the same as buying, but Rossi made it clear to me that he intended to buy the factory building, aiming at starting manufacturing of the third generation E-Cat reactor, called the Quark X, hopefully this year, otherwise in 2017, with an estimated production volume of 500,000 items a year, using a robot line provided by ABB.

Rossi said he had no other funding than the 11.5M he already received from his licensee Industrial Heat, according to their license agreement, which is now subject to a lawsuit. He said that he estimated the costs for the lawsuit to amount to 1M.

Even buying a factory building is no proof that production will start. Critics, accusing Rossi for being a fraudster, will assume that it could be a way to attract investors, but I honestly wouldn’t expect a fraudster to make use of such expensive schemes. Especially not since it would be quite fine just getting away with 11.5M without further trouble.

I would take this as a strong indication that the modular Quark X, supposedly big as a pen, producing heat, light and direct electricity at variable proportions at a total power of about 100W, based on the E-Cat LENR technology with hydrogen, lithium, aluminium and nickel in the fuel, is real. Rossi, however, said that there’s still R&D to be done to get the Quark X ready for production. He also said that the ‘X’ had no other meaning than being a substitute for a final name.

After my meeting with Rossi (first time for me since September 2012), I have a few other updates.

Claiming that everything he said could be proven with documents (or that he otherwise would be lying), Rossi told me regarding the one-year 1MW test that:

  • All the instruments for measurements were installed, under observation of IH and Rossi, by the ERV (Expert Responsible for Validation) Fabio Penon, who had been communicating also with Darden, receiving technical suggestions from him on this matter. All communications with the ERV were made with both Darden and Rossi in copy.
  • The flow meter was mounted according to all standard requirements, for example at the lowest point in the system.
  • The MW plant was placed on blocks, 33 cm above the ground, to make sure that leaking water or any hidden connections would become visible.
  • The two IH representatives present at the test were Barry West and Fulvio Fabiani (who worked for Rossi from January 2012 until August 2013, when the MW plant was delivered to IH in North Carolina, after which he was paid by IH as an expert who would make the technology transition from Rossi to IH easier). West and Fabiani reported to JT Vaughn every day on the phone.
  • Three interim reports, about every three months, with basically the same results as in the final report, were provided by the ERV during the test.
  • During summer 2015, IH offered Rossi to back out from the test and cancel it, with a significant sum of money as compensation. Rossi’s counter offer was to give back the already paid 11.5M and cancel the license agreement, but IH didn’t accept.
  • The unidentified customer (‘JM Products’) using the thermal energy from the MW plant, had its equipment at the official address—7861, 46th Street, Doral, Fl. The total surface of the premises was 1,000 square meters, of which the MW plant used 400 and the customer 600.
  • The equipment of the customer measured 20 x 3 x 3 meters, and the process was running 24/7.
  • The thermal energy was transfered to the customer with heat exchangers and the heat that was not consumed was vented out as hot air through the roof.
  • The water heated by the MW plant was circulating in a closed loop, and since the return temperature was varying, due to different load in the process of the customer, Rossi insisted that the energy corresponding to heating the inflowing cooled water (at about 60˚C) to boiling temperature would not be taken into account for calculating the thermal power produced by the MW plant. The ERV accepted. (This was conservative, decreasing the calculated thermal power. The main part of the calculated thermal power, however, derives from the water being evaporated when boiling).
  • He also insisted that an arbitrary chosen 10 percent should be subtracted in the power calculation, with no other reason than to be conservative. The ERV accepted.
  • IH never had access to the customer’s area. At the end of the test, an expert hired by IH, insisted that it was important to know where the water came from and where it was used. The ERV explained that this had no importance.
  • The average flow of water was 36 cubic meters per day.
  • At the end of the test, the ERV dismounted all the instruments by himself, in the presence of Rossi and IH, packed them and brought everything to DHL for transportation to the instrument manufacturers who would recalibrate the instruments and certify that they were not manipulated.
  • After the test, IH wanted to remove the MW plant from the premises in Florida, but Rossi would not accept until the remaining $89M were paid according to the license agreement. Rossi’s and IH’s attorneys then agreed that both parties should lock the plant with their own padlocks (as opposed to the claim by Dewey Weaver—a person apparently connected to IH, but yet not clear in what way—that ‘IH decided to padlock the 1MW container after observing and documenting many disappointing actions and facts’).

I should also add that I have been in contact with people with insight into the MW report, that hopefully will get public this summer as part of the lawsuit, and they told me that based on the contents, the only way for IH to claim a COP about 1 (that no heat was produced—COP, Coefficient of Performance, is Output Energy/Input Energy) would be to accuse Penon of having produced a fake report in collaboration with Rossi. Nothing in the report itself seems to give any opportunity for large mistakes, invalidating the claim of a high COP (as opposed to claims by people having talked about the report with persons connected to IH).

As for hints on the ERV Penon being incompetent, based partly on the HotCat report from August 2012, I would like to point out:

  • Fabio Penon has a degree in Nuclear Engineering, from Bologna University, with rating 100 of 100 and honors.
  • He worked for several years in the nuclear industry with thermo mechanics.
  • When the nuclear industry was put on hold in Italy, he turned to work as expert on product certification, collaborating with entities such as Bureau Veritas, Vertiquality and Det Norske Veritas.
  • The HotCat report from August 2012, signed by Penon, containing a few notable errors, was not written by Penon. Penon assisted at a test on August 7, 2012, repeating an experiment made on July 16, 2012. The report was written on the July test, and Penon was only confirming that similar results were obtained on the August test. Penon told me this in an interview in September, 2012. You could of course accuse Penon of not having studied the original report sufficiently before signing it, but the errors were not a result of Penon’s work.

Two further remarks regarding earlier E-Cat tests:

  • I had a new look at the calculations of the October 6, 2011, test, which was recently disputed. A total of about 31 MJ of electric energy was input. At 0,9 g/s, a total of about 26 kg of water was input during the test from 11 am until 7 pm. Heating this water from 25 to 116 degrees centigrade requires about 10 MJ. During the last 5 hours, 16 kg of this water was also evaporated, which required about 36 MJ. An estimated 100W was radiated from the E-Cat for at least 5h, making about 2MJ. The E-Cat was leaking a significant amount of hot water during large parts of the test. Even without taking this lost thermal energy into account, about 48MJ was released and 31MJ input, which gives a rough COP of 1.5.
    (Boiling at 116˚C assumes an internal pressure of about 1.7 bars—lower pressure would mean lower boiling point and longer period of boiling, with more energy released—116˚C was the final temperature, when the water was still boiling, before interrupting the test).
  • I have contacted several experts to get a third party evaluation of the Lugano test report and the contesting papers by Thomas Clarke and Bob Higgins. Until I receive these evaluations I only note that the original result is contested, but that no conclusive result is agreed upon. The isotopic shifts remain unexplained, unless you assume fraud.

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Now, all this makes me conclude that the E-Cat is most probably valid and that the 1MW test was indeed successful. What remains to be explained is why IH in that case didn’t pay Rossi the final $89M and continued to partner with him to develop and market such a disruptive, world changing technology.

After looking at it for some time, I tend to be skeptic about the conspiracy hypothesis, involving large financial and political interests being threatened by such a technology, even though I find it remarkable that IH has involved APCO Worldwide and Jones Day.

I then ask myself if it’s really possible that it all comes down to money. That IH/Cherokee, as has been suggested, has a track record of putting up companies based on emerging technologies or remediation projects, collecting public and private funding (or also this link), making the funds disappear and then closing down the companies with reasonable explanations for unsuccessful development of the technology or of the project.

Admittedly, this could be a defendable strategy in some cases where results could be obtained. Still, if the E-Cat is really working as claimed, why wouldn’t they then take the chance to build it into a prospering money machine? Taking care of the magic hen that lays golden eggs instead of roasting it after having collected the first egg, as some would put it. I cannot figure it out.

Clearly, such an endeavour would require investing a lot of money and work, spending large parts, if not all of the funding IH collected while boasting about the successful MW test, and also taking a market risk that it might not play out as expected. But wouldn’t it be worth it? Becoming remembered for introducing a technology that could change and literally save the planet, from the climate crisis and from fossil fuel pollution? Rather than being forever remembered as those who only saw the money, and didn’t want to get involved in the technology project? I just cannot understand.

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Finally—I will continue having the comments on this blog closed. The main reason is that few new facts have been presented, whereas unmanageable amounts of opinions have been posted.

I would like to apologise if I have hinted at Thomas Clarke’s having an agenda with his impressive number of comments. I want to assume that Clarke is perfectly honest in the significant work he has laid down on analysing the Lugano report and on commenting what, according to him, is probable or not. But I would also like to note that producing for some periods up to 34 posts per day hints at a position which I’m not sure if it should be called balanced. This, combined with obvious spin from a few people, apparently having an agenda in criticising some individuals, adds to my decision to keep the comments closed.

However, please share the post if you think t’s relevant, and feel free to email me if you have facts that you think I should be aware of.