While from a roll-out speed point of view, things have been progressing with this technology more slowly than we had hoped; from a legitimacy point of view, I came away from the interview even more convinced that the E-Cat technology is real and poised to eventually revolutionize the energy scene, not to mention science and the economy, while helping to clean up the planet.
Early in the interview, Rossi explained that the 1 MW plant that I saw
demonstrated on October 28, 2011 was not delivered to the confidential military
customer. There were many glitches that needed to be worked through first:
"hydraulics, distribution, common rail distribution, choice of coolant;
didn't have well-balanced distribution of 100+ of reactors." In contrast,
he said: "The plant as of now is very mature."
A separate unit was built for the military customer then shipped, and Rossi said that it has now logged "many thousands of hours" of run time. He said the data from this plant easily corroborates the guaranteed coefficient of performance of 6 (six times more energy out than what is put in to make it run).
The plant that is now on its way to the U.S. customer is an upgraded version of the unit that was demonstrated on October 28, 2011. He just recently (April 30 - May 1, 2013) finished a 24-hour test of the unit before preparing it for shipping; and now, it is somewhere en route. Rossi estimates that it will take about 20 days to transport, and it could be a month before that unit is operational at the customer's facility, where the customer "will be selling heat made by the plant."
We had thought that this customer was going to be publicly announced, and that
the unveiling of this unit would be public. However, at this time, it turns out
that the customer
wishes to remain confidential. "This is not a theatre."
This brings to two the number of 1 MW units that have been completed. He said other plants are under construction.
Rossi explained a reasonable logistical purpose for not allowing public viewing and access to this technology at this phase of its development. He explained that foremost, there are safety considerations. While limited numbers of people with adequate safety training and precautions can access the technology, allowing non-trained public to approach the technology presents safety issues.
That is the primary reason why the home or domestic E-Cat is presently on hold. The certification and safety agencies that need to sign off on something like this require extensive testing before they will approve of it to be made available to the general public.
By taking the approach of first rolling this product out as a 1 MW industrial unit, each of which contains 106 individual modules, those installations will accumulate the safety record that can be referred to for the next stage, which would be introducing the technology to the general public. The 1 MW units only run at temperatures of 102 - 130ΊC.
Rossi said that these plants consume only 1 gram of Nickel for every 23
of heat they produce (that's 23,000,000 ,000 Watt-hours of power).
Also, we asked Rossi about the red-hot-glowing Hot-Cat image
that Daniel Passarini posted this past week. Rossi said that this photo had been
leaked, notwithstanding NDA terms that prohibited it, and that it was a unit
being purposely tested to destruction, from which they learned much about the
process. They put it in self-loop mode and turned off the regulation. It is not
at all intended to be representative of normal operation.
Rossi said that the Hot-Cat runs at 350ΊC and is "very stable." At this temperature, he said that creating electricity will be easy, and that they are making progress on building such embodiments.
Later in the interview, in response to a question: "Is Andrea Rossi still working with Siemens to generate electricity?" he replied to the affirmative, but said that the conditions were under NDA and he was not at liberty to elaborate.
Frank asked Rossi to comment on a statement he made one time to the effect that he had observed the creation of electricity directly from one of the reactors (without going through a turbine or other thermal-electric converter). At first, Rossi shied away from the question, but then said that they had observed some "strange phenomenon, found by serendipity -- a sensation that we produced direct current." But he said: "We are far from being at the point to say we have direct production of electricity from this process."
Third-Party Testing of Hot-Cat
Regarding the 3rd-party testing of the Hot-Cat design, Rossi gave the following information.
I asked Rossi to elaborate on who "we" entails when it comes to his team. He replied:
He said that most of the R&D will stay in Italy, but that the rest of the
operations are taking place in the U.S. (Florida). However, later, he talked
about the friendliness of Sweden to his company, due to their need for heat and
their environmental consciousness. They are in process of developing
manufacturing capability there as well.
He also talked about the reason why they are developing robotics for their manufacturing. "There are 106 modules in one 1 MW plant. To build 1000 one-megawatt plants would involved 106,000 reactors.
As to how Rossi screens his potential customers, he said that a major criteria he looks for is whether or not the customer presently uses some kind of heat-generating mechanism. If they have real needs, it diminished the possibility that they just want to get the unit to harvest the intellectual property.
Cat and Mouse
Hank Mills, who was listening to the show via our Skype connection, chimed in with a couple of technical questions, one of them being to have Rossi describe what he means by "cat and mouse."
Rossi explained that each module has essentially two apparatuses inside: and activator and the reactor. He calls the resistive heater element the "mouse" and the reactor the "cat". It takes a little tease from the mouse getting in front of the cat's nose for the cat to go off running. He compares this to the little amount of energy required to get the reaction going, using outside electricity to bring the resistive heater up to a temperature that the reaction takes place. Of the two components, the reactor is only "the size of a glass of whiskey".
The other question from Hank had to do with a discussion of Ni62 in the patent. "This is because I have seen isotopes of 62 and 64 work properly in our process," Rossi responded.
He said that the Italian patent granted in 2009 gives them priority on the technology; and that they have a lot of applications they are working on filings for.
While he appreciated the question "Many people are likely to want to adapt this technology to products they make -- can they license it?" he said that such questions were premature, given how early they are in the technology development. They are focusing on the modules that go into the 1 MW plants for now. "Specific applications will come later on."
As for how long people could expect to get delivery of a 1 MW plant, Rossi said it would be "around four months." We didn't ask him about price, but a of a couple of years ago, it was $1.5 million USD.
Thanks to JONP Comments
Since before he announced the press conference for the 5 kW E-Cat demo on January 14, 2011, Rossi has been running a discussion forum: Journal of Nuclear Physics. In response to the question: "What are some of the most important things you have learned from JONP readers?" Rossi said he liked that question. "If you go to the Journal, you will see 14,000 comments. They provide tremendous information. I read all the comments with much attention. I have learned many things."
He even said that two of the people he hired for his team were people who commented in the forum.
Regarding a question about how the industrial world in general has responded, he said that most of the responses have been coming from young people, who see opportunities for a better future.
Realizing Tesla's Dream?
Rossi said he has had a dream of realizing Nikola Tesla's dream, which to him entails "making big energy with small components."
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Last updated June 16, 2013