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e-cat – The scientific basis – Why scientists question the e-cat

Is the e-cat real III. The scientific basis – Why scientists question the e-cat

In the previous report[1] I have reviewed the history of the e-cat. We received encouraging feedback (about 70% positive), including some well reputable and distinguished experts in the LENR community. Of course it wasn´t expected to get positive feedback from all sides.  We noticed that many people have a reflex that criticism of one particular technology (or company) would automatically translate to the whole field of LENR science. Notwithstanding, I want to point out very clearly that our previous analysis only related to the e-cat of Andrea Rossi, and does not in any way intend to question the seriousness and credibility of other people efforts. But of course there is a real risk that in the event of an epic failure such adverse repercussions would occur.

Stanley Pons, Marvin Hawkins and Martin Fleischmann, 1989. (Photo: University of Utah)

The replication of LENR experiments  (such as Celani or the Martin Fleischmann Memorial Project) we acknowledge as the work of  other distinguished groups, but we cannot seriously consider as a confirmation of Rossi. If LENR is true, it only means that the e-cat may be possible, nothing more.
Why we looked at Rossi´s e-cat? Rossi is the only one who claims to have a LENR device in the market. Nobody else makes this claim, that is why it pulls particular attention. Unfortunately, despite unprecedented extraordinary claims, so far the e-cat promoters have still not provided a scientific evidence for the e-cat as a working device and there is still poor understanding about the process of the device.

In science it is about experimental facts and replication, not dogmatism. Critical thinking is not  “pathological skepticism”.

Now let discuss what are the issues that cause many scientists to be skeptical?

Firstly, there are theoretical objections since there is no scientifically accepted theoretical model to explain the claims of nuclear fusion reactions initiated at low temperatures, or low energy nuclear reactions (LENR)[2]. This does not mean it would be impossible but obviously solid evidence is required to support these claims in order to find acceptance in the scientific community.

If we look back in science, the perhaps most famous scientist of all times, Albert Einstein, became famous and his work became acknowledged only after he provided the scientific evidence for his theory of relativity[3].

What are the criteria to quality a LENR device to be accepted by mainstream science?

These qualifying criteria include

  1. Excess heat larger than in any chemical reaction or other conventional physical process
  2. Experimental evidence of nuclear reaction products – transmutation, fission or fusion products
  3. A theoretical model to correlate the experimental data of excess heat with the proposed nuclear process
  4. Replication of experimental data -  independent verification by at least one 3rd party, while experiments are carried out under full control of a qualified testing body.
  5. Qualified error analysis to make sure the experimental results are safe beyond eventual measurement errors

Now let us discuss these points for the case of the e-cat.

TOP 1) Excess heat and  energy measurements

Excess heat means more energy is produced by a process than put in, and to be qualified as  anomalous heat, it must be higher than chemical reactions or other conventional physical process (adsorption heat etc.).

nuclear fusion

Nuclear reaction energies following the famous Einstein´s equation E=mc2  are by orders of magnitude higher than chemical processes (e.g. exothermic reaction enthalpies). The known nuclear fusion reactions release energies in the order of magnitude of several MeV[4] which is far greater than the energies released in chemical reactions (several eV), because the binding energy that holds a nucleus together is far greater than the energy that holds electrons to a nucleus. For example, the ionization energy gained by adding an electron to a hydrogen nucleus is 13.6 eV—less than one-millionth of the 17 MeV released in the deuterium–tritium (D–T) reaction shown in the diagram. Nuclear reaction release energy larger by several orders of magnitude.

The following table shows, in decreasing order of energy, some typical examples of chemical reaction energies and nuclear reaction energies (note in chemistry, energy is given in KJ/mol compared to eV in nuclear physics, the conversion is given in the table).

Reaction Type Energy released comments
235U fission nuclear 200 MeV Nuclear bomb or power plant, radiation, radioactive waste
„Ni+H -> Cu“ nuclear total: 35 MeV, 3-7.5 per isotope stage claimed by Rossi[5], unconfirmed
Deuterium-tritium fusion(2H + 3H ->4He) nuclear 17.4 MeV theoretical hot nuclear fusion reaction, neutron emission (radiation)
CH4(g)+2O2(g)->CO2(g)+2H2O(g) chemical 891 kJ/mol=9.235 eV Burning of natural gas (oxidation of methane) – conventional power plant, emission of CO2
Fe2O3+ 2 Al →2 Fe + Al2O3 chemical 851 kJ/mol=8.82 eV thermite reaction
2H2 (g) + O2(g) ->H2O (liq) chemical 474 KJ/mol= 4.91 eV In fuel cells, requires activation by catalyst, no emission of CO2

The e-cat inventor Andrea Rossi has claimed very significant excess heat. In his 2010 paper  [5] he claimed an excess heat as ratio of energy output divided by energy input (COP=coefficient of performance) of 80-415, later for the domestic e-cat model and for the 1 MW industrial e-cat model downscaled to a COP ratio of 6, explained with safety considerations. But even this would be significantly higher than most other published data[6].

Unfortunately, the accuracy and methodology of the output energy measurement was questionable[7], due to the energy associated with the phase transfer of water (wet or dry steam).

Methodology of excess heat measurements

Energy (heat) is measured by calorimetry, from temperature difference of a cooling medium. Rossi unconventionally used steam instead of water which brought up certain complications (see our previous report [1]).

During early experiments in 2011, serious question have been raised whether the steam quantity and steam quality had been properly accounted for.

The phase transfer issue (wet or dry steam) does not mean that the measurements would be a priori obsolete, however the measurement is unnecessarily complicated. When the amount of water evaporated to dry steam is undetermined, then the energy associated is undetermined as well. It would have been rather easy to sort out this issue by conventional calorimetric measurements, using only liquid water and no steam, without revealing any know-how. But no such test report was ever published by the promoters.

The issue with steam was actually raised by Francesco Celani at a very early stage[8]: “We suggested several times (privately, in public, by the blog) to use conventional flow calorimetry at Tout < 90 °C to avoid the difficulties, and doubts of steam regimes”.

However Rossi decided to ignore the advice. Instead, according to Rossi and Levi, they hired a professional, Mr Galantini, to measure the steam quality. Unfortunately it came to light  later that an inappropriate device for measurement was used, therefore the working assumption of dry steam is questionable – possibly it wasn´t dry and the results are subject to criticism.

The science journalist Steven Krivit finally questioned the professionalism of the whole scientific approach[9] :
The researchers did not run control experiments, did not measure heat output directly and did not consult with engineers qualified to evaluate either the quantity or the quality of the steam. The researchers also ignored or dismissed suggestions given to them by Celani and other people on how they could get an accurate energy balance and avoid the steam issues.”

A NASA study estimated a margin of error that could actually eliminate any excess heat reported[10].

On the other hand, according to Alan Fletcher[11] who published a thorough analysis and concluded that a low quality steam was unlikely.  Fletcher tried to prove that the e-cat is real and looked at all possible fake concepts (chemical fakes, batteries, water diversion etc). But even Fletcher  concluded “not all fakes could be excluded even assuming high steam quality”.

In 2011 reportedly NASA came very close to testing an e-cat device, however, in the very last moment Rossi withdrew. Apparently NASA had requested a calorimetric measurement without phase transfer[12].

For the demonstrations in October 2011 Rossi changed the experimental design. Alan Fletcher explains11 the change is supposed to eliminate all questions about steam quality by passing the output of the e-cat through a heat exchanger to a secondary circuit. From the flow rate and the temperature difference between the input and output (delta-T) the excess heat calculation should have been unambiguous.”

But then Roland Pettersson, a retired analytical chemist from Uppsala University, identified a major flaw in Rossi’s e-cat demonstration – Rossi misplaced thermocouples[13]. Fletcher explains further [11] “Unfortunately, the thermocouple placement means that the output temperature could have been directly affected by the hot primary circuit.”

A misplacement of thermocouplers?  It sounds incredible – but this means the temperatures measured are highly inaccurate and energies calculated probably too high.

Not everybody agreed the error was only due to conceptual sloppiness.  “This test was an intentional deception” concluded Brian Ahern [13], CTO and co-founder of Vibronic Energy Technologies, a company engaged in LENR research: “He [Rossi] mounted the thermocouple such that it responded directly to the heater and not the actual temperature of the hot water. This was not an oversight. He used this trick in February [2011] with Levi.”

But even using Rossi´s data of the October 2011 demonstration including a period of self-sustained mode  there was no unambiguous evidence for excess heat, and considering the heat up phase there was no net excess heat anymore at all[14].  Apparently, the experiment did not run long enough to rule out this effect.

It seems a common denominator in all Rossi experiments, that the tests never ran long enough to entirely rule out the overlapping effect of  initial energy input,  and  there is never a blank run (without hydrogen).  The blank run would confirm that the reaction with hydrogen is vital for the process, the long run would make sure that there is no hidden battery or chemical energy source, and that the device is more than just an electrical heater. We wonder why these experiments have not been taken? Certainly the methodology of the e-cat promoters is beyond commonly accepted scientific standards. Again, the question is: could this be only sloppiness?

To summarize, even after the October 2011 demonstrations  measurement problems, either intentional (circus tricks) or due to ill conceived experimental design, cannot be ruled out. There is still no unambiguous evidence for excess heat after these demonstrations.

During the course of 2012 it seems Rossi lost interest in the old e-cat model, without publicly establishing the validity of his claims, and moved on towards development of a new model, the so called hot-cat. The hot-cat is a new development product of the Rossi “invention machine”. It looks like a furnace with an open hole, remarkable for a device of nuclear origin, and remarkably  no radiation was measured outside the device.

the hot-cat

In September 2012 a report (Penon report[15]) of the hot-cat was published claiming an excess heat of only COP 2. But even the input energy in case of the so called hot-cat was questioned by Rossi´s distribution partner Hydrofusion[16], whether it could have been mistaken by a factor of 2, due to improper measurement devices.

In October 2012, after another presentation in Pordenone, Italy, Rossi released a report[17] of COP near 12, but again no independent verification for the same has been published so far. It is not known who attended and witnessed these tests, and what was the qualification and experience of the operators.

Again, the claims of excess heat are either questionable or at least unconfirmed.


TOP 2) Experimental evidence of nuclear reaction products

Nuclear reaction products from transmutation, fission or fusion products means the experimental evidence for the formation of new elements which have not been present before the experiment.

Andrea Rossi claimed 30% Cu is made from pure Ni and a secret catalyst[18]

Andrea Rossi, July 2nd, 2010 “ ….the Ni powder I utilized were pure Ni, no copper . At the end of the operations in the reactor the percentage of copper was integrally bound to the amount of energy produced. A charge which has worked for 6 months, 24 hours per day, at the end had a percentage of Cu superior to 30%, … About the Ni isotopes: the isotopes after the operations were substantially changed in percentage. We are preparing a campaign of analysis with a Secondary Ions Mass Spectrometer at the University of Padua (Italy), at the end of which the data will be published on the Journal Of Nuclear Physics.”

Assuming just for a moment that Rossi´s claim is right, the e-cat would be a working device and there would be a transmutation of Ni to Cu as underlying nuclear process. What would be expected?

Let us look deeper into this, what is claimed and what are the experimental data.

The table shows the natural isotope abundancies and half times of the radioactive isotopes. The claimed process is illustrated with arrows.

Rossi-Focardi process

The isotope stabilities and natural abundancies of Cu and Ni are well known[19] . Based on these natural abundancies of Ni isotopes in nature (Ni58 68%, Ni60 26%, Ni61 1.1%, Ni62 3.6%, in sum 99% vs  Ni 64 1% ) one would expect to find anomalous isotope ratios.

Starting from Ni58, the most abundant isotope, one would expect intermediate stages of radioactive Cu isotopes and neutron enriched Ni isotopes, and Cu63 as end product. At full conversion one would expect to reach 99% Cu63 and 1% of Cu65, theoretically. If possibly superimposed by other conversions (e.g. by fissions), a different ration may occur, however still considerably different to natural ratio.

Ni64 has only an abundancy of 0.9% which would convert to Cu65, supposing the process operates as claimed. It means the expected isotope ratio would be mostly Cu63, and very little Cu65. In nature, Cu63 is 69% abundant vs Cu65 is 31% which is totally different to the expected isotope ratio when a reaction pathway follows the process as claimed by Rossi´s patent[20]. A natural isotope ratio is not compatible with this process.

A sample of the e-cat material after use (spent fuel) has been given for analysis. The  experimental data of the nuclear ash after the reaction was examined in 2011 by Prof. Kullander in Sweden[21]. Kullander found Ni, Cu and Fe in natural isotope ratios. We already outlined in part II. of this report that according to these examinations, no evidence for a nuclear reaction was found[1].

In the above cited technical paper[5], Rossi claimed the Cu63/Cu65 isotope ratio to be  1.6. Once again, this seems to be inconsistent with the claimed process. It would require enrichment of Ni to even heavier isotopes (the natural ratio is 69.17/30.83=2.2), assuming there was no Cu in the starting material.

Further, the spent fuel of such a reaction would be highly radioactive, due to still ongoing radioactive decay reactions, emitting radioactive gamma rays. Only after the half times of the isotope stabilities are significantly passed, the radiation would cease.

In 2011, in contrast to earlier claims, Rossi taught he would treat the Nickel with an unknown confidential procedure to enrich Ni62 and Ni64, and claimed only these would fuse with hydrogen, and form Cu63 and Cu65, respectively.

Rossi wrote in his blog on December 6th, 2011: “we use Ni enriched of 62 and 64 Ni, which are the sole to react, and 63 and 65 Cu are stable. Our process has been developed upon a theory that became stronger in time, based on the results of the thousands of our tests we made with our apparatuses.”

This built upon earlier statements, such as on October 21st, 2011: „We enrich Ni 62 and 64 isotopes” and on April 11th, 2011: “we have invented a process of ours to enrich Ni without relevant costs.”[22]

However, back in 2010 Rossi calculated the energy gain of the claimed process (35 MeV) from the natural isotope ratio which obviously contradicts the theory of only Ni62 and Ni64 being involved in the reaction5.

Theoretically, if Rossi would have enriched Ni to a ratio of ca 70% Ni62 and 30% Ni64 which would convert to a ratio of Cu63 and Cu65 similar as in nature, and without gamma radiation. Only this would theoretically explain the findings of Kullander of natural isotope ratios and low gamma radiation levels, supposing the process operates as claimed.

However, we have to ask how realistic is this explanation?  The explanation sounds highly unrealistic. Rossi´s explanations about Ni isotope enrichment came around the same time in spring of 2011 when Kullander examined the nuclear ash and reported about natural isotope ratios, and when Rossi was challenged why the spent fuel was not radioactive and why was there no radiation which would be expected according to his process theory. He might have made up the story to give an explanation about Kullander´s findings [21]  on natural isotope ratios.

Unfortunately there is no supporting evidence that Ni isotope enrichment as pretreatment does actually take place. The enrichment of Ni-58 with neutrons to yield Ni-62 and Ni-64 (without radioactive Ni isotopes as byproducts, by the way) is not a trivial operation at all, usually it would be done by neutron bombardment in specialized nuclear laboratories and by separation technologies[23]. Rossi claims he found a simple and cheap way to do this. Again, this sounds highly unrealistic by today´s known technology. A cheap technology to do this would be a significant invention itself, and a serious inventor would not have missed the chance to patent it. But until today there has been no patent of special Ni enrichment disclosed by Mr Rossi or any of his associated companies[24].

The bottom line is : Based on Ni in natural isotope as starting material ratio clearly the isotope ratio must be very much different to the natural isotope ratio, supposing the process operates as claimed. This was never confirmed, the opposite was found.

Further, the question is where is Fe in Kullander´s sample analysis coming from which was not part of the starting material? This is assuming that Rossi´s statement is correct that he used essentially only pure Nickel  (and traces of a “secret” catalyst). Rossi noted in his blog the Fe was an impurity. With 10% Fe content it rather sounds like Rossi would have used “pure Ni” from a scrap dealer. The 11% copper in natural isotope ratio must then be an “impurity” as well.

Elemental composition chart in Rossi´s patent example

Remarkably, in the elemental analysis chart from the electron microscope analysis, as exemplified in Rossi´s patent application, there is only Ni and Zn, but neither Fe nor Cu. Fe would appear at 6.403 keV (Ka), Cu at 8.047 keV (Ka ) and 8.904 (Kß), but there are only signals for Ni (Ka 7.477 keV , Kß 8.264 keV) and Zn (Ka 8.638 keV). It certainly does not show any significant (“30%”) Cu formation as claimed by Rossi.

Where is Zn coming from?  In the description of the patent Rossi explains that Zn is also formed by transmutation. Looking at the periodic table of elements, Zn is heaver than Cu and formally it would be the fusion product of “Cu + 1H” (or “Ni +2 H”). Could there be certain conditions to convert Cu further to Zn? Fe is lighter than Ni and would formally be “Ni-2H”, formally a product of fission rather than fusion. All of this is highly speculative and purely a theoretical consideration, not in line with accepted understanding of nuclear physics reactions.





Some question remain

  • why did Kullander find Fe and Cu, but no Zn?
  • why does Rossi claim Cu, but shows only evidence for Zn?
  • Why are Kullander’ s data incompatible to the data disclosed in the patent application?


Obviously, the only logical explanations are the incompatible elemental composition in the patent and in Kullander’ s analysis are

a. from different reactions

b. from different reaction stages of the e-cat reaction process

c. the used ash is not homogeneous, means taking various samples would yield a spread in results

d. at least one of the samples was manipulated

Supposing that Kullander’ s sample was real and representative, with the observation that isotope ratio was as in natural abundancy, transmutations as claimed by Rossi can be ruled out, and the mechanism must be totally different to what is claimed, unless Ni isotope enrichment would really take place which we think is unrealistic.

Supposing that Rossi´s patent sample was representative, then also transmutations processes as claimed by Rossi can be ruled out because otherwise Cu would have been found as one of the reaction products.

Supposing that neither Rossi´s patent sample nor Kullander´s sample was representative, then there isn´t any substantiation of the claims, and the question then remains why did they investigate such samples.

The question is also why was no follow up done to sort out these issues. It can´t be know how protection because otherwise why has Rossi given a sample for external analysis in the first place.

Based on the analysis of a sample the spent fuel (nuclear ash) does not fit to the expected isotope ratio according to the theory. In fact the analysis of the nuclear ash does not suggest there would be any nuclear reaction at all taking place.

At this point we are surprised that they did not look deeper in the details of the energy measurement, whether the assumption of excess heat as a result from a nuclear process was actually valid, because the experimental data told exactly the opposite, as it would be expected from a skilled and diligent examiner. Given such contradictory data, why have they not repeated the analysis with a fresh sample? What happened to the data from other universities that were allegedly involved in the testing?

It is simply by all understanding of physics impossible that Ni would undergo transmutation to Cu, but at the same time obtaining the natural isotope ratio of Cu as well as Ni, assuming that the measurement was done correctly with the correct sample, and assuming the sample taken was representative for the whole experiment[25].

Kullander´s conclusion is same interview “It’s a nuclear reaction” was based on the assumption of correct energy measurement and the information given by Rossi that no copper was present in the starting material. At the moment when he saw the isotopic ratio the conclusion about a nuclear reaction should have been immediately challenged by him since these observation are clearly contradictory.

As already outlined above, Mr. Rossi presents in his patent application charts of an electron microscope  elemental analysis which strangely does not show any Cu, no iron (Fe), but instead it shows Ni and Zn. Rossi claims Cu but provides no data that would actually support this claim. At least one example would have been required to support the claim but none is given.

The bottom line conclusion is: Rossi did not release many experimental data, but what had been released is actually contradictory to the claims.

Experimental evidence also requires to disclose the elemental composition before and after the experiment. However, Rossi failed to present a comparison of the spent fuel with the starting material. Only then it would be possible to judge what material had been converted by transmutation. The charts of Mizuno shows an example of transmutation on Pd surface and how such data can be represented[26].

Mizuno transmutation

Mizuno reported transmutation on Pd using x ray spectroscopy

Regarding transmutation it is worth mentioning that many people have reported before transmutations and unnatural isotope ratios[27].  Such findings are clear evidence for nuclear conversions taking place, if measured properly.

For the system Ni-H Edmund Storms summarized in one of his books “pure nickel heated in hydrogen gas shows a different pattern, with most of the detected elements at atomic numbers less than nickel and clustering in a region about ½ the atomic number of nickel, presumably a result of fission” [27].

TOP 3) Theoretical model

Rossi claims a  process of transmutation, by fusion of nickel and hydrogen converting to  copper[28].

Assuming that Mr Rossi´s patent application is a useful source of information – how otherwise could it serve to protect his know-how – let us see what we can find there as information.

Also, in this patent application[29] , beyond any doubt, Rossi claims a nuclear process of transmutation would be going on, that the reactor is operated with Ni, and Ni would be converted to Cu. In the description the patent teaches “triggering a capture of a proton by nickel powder, with a consequent transformation of nickel to copper and a beta decay of the latter to a nickel nucleus having a mass which is by one unit larger than that of the starting nickel.”

It should be mentioned in this context that nickel and hydrogen are used in the chemical industry in catalytic hydrogenations on large industrial scale manufacturing since long time, and the properties of the temperature and pressure depending phases of nickel, hydrogen and nickel hydride are well documented[30], without observance of strange energy effects. The difference in LENR experiments is mainly the initial activation phase by substantial energy input such as electrical current. Yet the occurrence of nuclear effects seems very surprising in this context.

Specifically, what Rossi has claimed since 2008 is the following mechanism of a process of transmutations of Ni to Cu followed by ß-decay [28]:

“A Ni58 nucleus produces a Copper nucleus according to the reaction

Ni58 + p → Cu59

Copper nucleus Cu59 decays with positron (e+) and neutrino (ν) emission in Ni59 nucleus according to

Cu59 → Ni59 + ν + e+

Then (e+) annihilates with (e-) in two gamma-rays

e- + e+ → γ + γ

Starting from Ni58 which is the more abundant isotope, we can obtain as described in the two above processes Copper formation and its successive decay in Nickel, producing Ni59, Ni60, Ni61 and Ni62. Because Cu63, which can be formed starting by Ni62, is stable and does not decay in Ni63, the chain stops at Ni62 (i.e. Cu63). Each process means some MeV.“

Conventional nuclear physics teaches that the reaction Ni + p → Cu would only be possible at high temperature due to the high coulomb barrier that prevents nuclei approaching close enough for such fusion reactions. Apart from the fact that no plausible theoretical explanation is given how this coulomb barrier is overcome, let us assume for a moment it would be possible by an unknown yet to be understood mechanism.

As a bottom line, according to Rossi, all isotopes of Ni58 to Ni62 would convert to Cu63, and Ni63 to would convert to Cu65. In the previous chapter we have elaborated the experimental data, and it became clear that there is no substantiated evidence for these claims.

In the patent there is also no detail disclosed on the composition of the catalyst, and there is no additional patent known so far. If the catalyst is the key to the technology, the lack of any disclosure it is another knock out criteria for the only known e-cat patent of 2008.

Fact is, the experimental data which were disclosed so far do not support the claims.

These are the reasons why scientists who have looked into the matter raised their doubts.

The confusion with samples and data is the reason why an independent verification of the experiment by a skilled 3rd party who has full control over the experiment is the only way out of this dilemma.

During the Zurich conference Mr Rossi in fact back-paddled and acknowledged that some other process could be going on which is not transmutation.

September 19th, 2012, Mr Rossi wrote “the amount of Copper, after more than 2 years now of tests and measurements, analysis, etc, is very low, so we know now it is a side effect. The energy comes from other nuclear effects that we have understood. We have a precise theory now. The isotopic distribution will also be disclosed with the theory.”

This statement is dramatically contradicting earlier explanations of transmutation and what had been outlined in the patent. Since 2010 Rossi claimed Ni transmutation to Cu, now he says it would be only a minor process.We also wonder how 30% Cu allegedly found in samples could be a side effect only.

In the case of a totally different reaction process, this it would most likely render the e-cat patent as meaningless since the patent is build on a concept of nuclear transmutation and gamma rays as source for the energy.

We cannot categorically rule out that Rossi could have found some energy effects, and by trial and error some tricks to trigger a nuclear reaction, however, we strongly doubt that he has control and detailed knowledge what is going on in the experiments. There are just too many inconsistencies, and theoretical as well as practical problems.

Of course it is entirely possible that Mr Rossi could have re-engineered the device, or found later in his research a new theory, and might have filed new patent applications which are not yet disclosed. However, there could be serious problems with the priority dates amidst his demonstrations to the public and alleged prior sales since 2011.

Could it be possible that only theory of Ni-H transmutation is wrong, but an alternative process of another type of nuclear reaction is going on?

Was the Ni-H model only a distraction? If so, what other processes could happen?

This leads us to the question: What else could be the source of excess energy, assuming there is excess energy?

Rossi also claims in said patent the appearance of lighter elements such as sulphur, potassium or chlorine and calcium as a result of fission process. Interestingly this is more in line with earlier reports of transmutations of Ni-H systems (see TOP3 discussion).

H-H fusion, similar to the historical  Fleischmann & Pons experiment of D-D fusion on Pd – would give Helium (He). Maybe with fission and fusions of heavier elements as byproducts. In that case we need measurement of He and a correlation of energy output with a theoretical model.

At this point all of this is pure speculation, and it is pointless to elaborate without experimental data. We can only say, the experimental data presented so far do not fit at all to the explanations given.

TOP 4) Replication of experimental data

It is a common practice in a quality scientific protocol that experimental data require replication[31]. Lack of replication has been a historical issue for many cold fusion experiments, due to conditions to initiate a LENR reaction (e.g. nuclear active environments), surface effects, material controls, and lack of a theoretical understanding[32], [27].

Mr Rossi has a history[33], [34]. This does not mean that the e-cat must be automatically fraud, but it raises a red flag for Mr Rossi´s credibility. Therefore independent verification is of high significance, especially in this case.

Due to the history and present appearance of the various protagonists in the e-cat network it is very natural reaction to request independent verification and it is wise to remain skeptical until the verification is bulletproof.

However, till date Mr Rossi has refused to have the performance of the e-cat device verified by independent third parties. Independent verifications have been promised many times but never delivered.  To gain serious credibility Mr Rossi should allow another test of the conventional domestic e-cat module operated by an independent 3rd party and using fail proof calorimetry.

TOP 5) Error analysis

A fair analysis of errors and the propagation of error is essential in any scientific protocol when physical measurements are carried out[35].

In an election poll, the winner cannot be called a winner before the lead of the top candidate is larger than a margin of error.

Comparably, in LENR, the conclusion of excess heat cannot be certain unless the potential error of the physical measurements is significantly lower than the claimed energy effect.

All measurements have errors, notwithstanding eventual manipulations of devices and software programs. Unfortunately, many studies lack such evaluations.

In case of the e-cat, the parameters causing errors are

  • Time: how long is an experiment running. If the error source would be a non nuclear energy source, the energy of the claimed process must be substantially higher than any potential chemical energy source, which is consumed after time. A longer experimental running time would sort out this issue  (see TOP 1 discussion)
  • Accuracy of energy measurements for the energy input and the energy output as well. This includes appropriate, accurate devices used in a proper way, and the unambiguous correct method of evaluation  (see TOP 1 discussion: steam issue and thermocoupler issue)[10,11].
  • Sample homogeneity, affecting conclusions on nuclear reaction products ( isotope analysis of spent fuel samples): to be addressed by variance data of miscellaneous samples and time series

The e-cat only passed in the unverified experiments described by the promoters (for example [5]), but not in experiments in the demonstrations and under neutral supervision, in which the energy effects, by order of magnitude, were found to be within margin of error.

And finally there is the impact of a potential fake: To exclude the effect of a potential fake beyond doubt of the hardest skeptics, the only solution is a long test by a neutral body who uses their own measurement devices and software for evaluation.

Gamma rays, but no radiation?

Mr Rossi has mentioned the formation of gamma rays associated with transmutations reactions explicitly many times, as for example in the paper of 2010 authored by Rossi and Focardi[5], in the blog “” [36], in the patent application[28], and interviews [37] :

…. the excess energy is released in the form of a gamma ray. The gamma ray hits a wall of lead where it is absorbed and transformed into heat”.

The gamma rays from annihilation of positrons and electrons, according to the claimed process, would release 511 KeV of radiation. This is basics of nuclear physics. According to Celani´s report at the ICCF16 conference [8], the observed energy level is reportedly 511 eV:  “there was evidence of annihilation gamma ray (511 KeV) but, as usual, not commensurable with the energy produced”.

Christos Stremmenos, retired physics professor of the University of Bologna, understands there is an unexplained gap between theory and what was the claimed process: “For what reason there is almost no radiation of any kind (experimental observation), while according to the Focardi and Rossi’s hypothesis there should have been some γ radiation (511 KeV) produced by the predicted annihilation of the β+ and β- particles that are being created during the Fusion?……..whoever has experimented with this system should have suffered the not-so-harmless influence of those radiations, but that never happened.  The radioactivity measured at the experiments is almost zero and easily shielded.”

Prof. emeritus Ludwik Kowalski of Mont Sinclair Sate University explained “The level of radiation, next to the reactor, would depend on the wall thickness. It would certainly still be highly radioactive..…the non radioactive nature of the spent fuel is not consistent with the idea that excess heat is produced via the cold p+Ni fusion[38]

Already in early 2011, the radiation expert of Bologna University, David Bianchini, has reported[39]: “no evidence of meaningful differences …to the background environmental radiation”. Bianchini re-examined and confirmed in September 2012 the same conclusion even for the hot-cat device [15], remarkably a device with an open hole.

Rossi claimed that gamma rays would be “thermalized” and shielded by the reaction design[40], however, the open hole in the hot-cat seems somewhat incompatible with shielding.

We wonder how can gamma rays be the source of considerable energy production but at the same time there is no radiation? This seems very unlikely.

The lack of radiation, besides the natural isotope ratio, is scientific evidence that the proposed mechanism of Ni-H transmutations to Cu as a main route is incorrect. If the Rossi e-cat is real, then possibly transmutation could only be a by-process.

However, in some cases of Ni-H LENR systems radiation – gamma rays and neutron emissions – have been reported, so in some cases transmutations may actually occur. A summary is given by Campari et al. (co-authored by Focardi and Piantelli)[41]. Neutron bursts had been reported for Ni-H systems as well[42].

Other LENR scientists have frequently reported in their work surprisingly low radiation levels and reported the occurrence of either transmuted elements of radiation or radioactive particle as evidence for the occurrence of LENR, accompanied by excess energy [27].

Rossi claimed gamma rays as the main source of energy, but he also claimed that the e-cat is non nuclear device and transmutations would be only be byproducts.

Rossi presented a safety SGS certificate issued by SGS, applicable for a non nuclear devices.  Non-nuclear means the e-cat would not be LENR device (LENR means Low energy Nuclear Reaction – the N stands for nuclear). Obviously all of these positions are mutually exclusive.

Alternative explanations: intentional misdirection and Sun Tzu

Assuming there is a LENR process ongoing and Rossi knew all along that it is no Ni transmutation but some other process. Rossi supporters have frequently suggested that Rossi might have deliberately given misdirections in order to protect know-how.

However, making false statement during patent examination is generally not a good idea[43]. Giving deliberate misdirections would disqualify the patent from ever being granted, and would invalidate the priority of the patent also for subsequent applications.

But the patent is weak anyway, as we know[44]. But perhaps this was intentional, and Rossi´s patent was only a bluff. An interesting theory in this regard was outlined by LENR pioneer Peter Gluck, who noted in his blog[45]: “Rossi’s “fighting” patent application WO 2009125444 is very badly conceived and written, a weak one….. Rossi´s patent can only intentionally be so bad…. Some of my patent expert friends agree with my logic and idea, say know this standard trick. …… make a bit Sun Tzu reading”

Andrea Rossi as a master of Sun Tzu, the ancient Chinese art of war? This is a bizarre and  interesting thought. However, normally the idea of a patent is to have a legal weapon to stop others from copying your work and stop competing with you. Certainly if Peter Gluck would be right-  this is not achieved. If Rossi would have filed more patents in the meantime, including “the real stuff”, we could possibly believe it. On the other hand, the failure of the patent would give Rossi an excuse why he has to delay the launch further.

If the effect is real and Mr Rossi knew about the real process all along it would have been much wiser to include the correct process in the claims of a patent. For people experienced with patents there are still many ways to disguise the real confidential know-how by wider claims and additional examples which are functional but outside the core of the real technology.

It is more likely that either there is no real effect or that Rossi did not understand the effect when he filed the patent.

It was also suggested Rossi could have used a metal alloy containing Cu and Fe, in contrast to his statements. Or  Fe and Cu are part of the catalyst, and the transmutation story was simply unsubstantiated, but some other process is going on.

Does the e-cat need scientific evidence?

Andrea Rossi often said he does not care for scientific evidence. The market would decide it. On December 18th, 2012, Rossi restated once again “the market is the sole examiner that really counts[46].

Of course eventually the market will decide. Yet we disagree – the e-cat does require scientific evidence. For several reasons: without scientific evidence every potential industrial customer will require a technical and safety due diligence, if they even dare to look at the technology. Without scientific evidence it is not imaginable that certifiers would ever approve a potentially nuclear device running by an unknown process. Without scientific evidence the media will continue to ignore cold fusion. Without scientific evidence marketing of the e-cat would become an uphill battle.


Rossi has never provided any experimental evidence for his claims and what he has provided was not convincing or even contradictory to the facts. There is no evidence for nuclear reaction products, nor convincing evidence for reproducible excess heat effects.

The energy measurements based on questionable measurements, for various reasons. Consequently the associated claims for excess heat are still unconfirmed.

Bottom line, the key issue is still the excess energy is not only unverified by independent parties, moreover the explanations are inconsistent and contradictory.

All together, this is – at the present stage of public knowledge – by far too weak to be acknowledged in the view of the extraordinary claims.

This basically concludes our analysis of the e-cat, unless there would be significant new information released. However, we will focus on LENR and review other alternative technologies in the context.

In the meantime the saga will continue.


[3] the total eclipse of the Sun on May 29, 1919 confirmed the prediction of The General Theory of Relativity, that light would be bent by a gravitational field:

[4] Summary of known nuclear fusion reactions and energies released

[6] A summary of published data has been compiled by van Houwedingen, T. :”Is commercial low energy nuclear reaction (LENR) the real deal”,

[8] Celani,F.: The “RossiEnergy Catalyzer reactor: needed NEW experiments for confirmation, ICCF16, Chennai, 2011, download:

[11] Alan Fletcher : “How to Prove that the Rossi/Focardi eCAT LENR is Real“:, Version 4.20, Sep 11, 2012,

Steam Quality in the Rossi/Focardi eCAT”, Version 4.10H, Sep 12, 2011

[12] Steven B. Krivit, New Energy Times: Rossi’s NASA Test Fails to Launch:

[15] Penon report of Sep2012

[16] Press announcement on website of hydrofusion:

[17] Pordenone report of Oct 2012, published through the blog e-catworld:

[20] E-cat patent family: US patent application US2011005506, European patent EP2259998 (A1), and WO2009125444  (A1)

[23] US Department of Energy: “The nations´need for isotopes – the present and future“, Oak Rich national Laboratory

[24] The time delay between filing and disclosure of patents is typically 18 months, so it should have been already published by now

[25] Later it was explained by Rossi himself that the sample may have been inhomogeneous. In such a case of doubt the analysis should have been reexamined with a fresh sample

[26] Mizuno,T. : “Nuclear Transmutation: the Reality of Cold Fusion “, 1997, Kougakusha , Japan, and Beadette, C.G.: “Excess heat – why cold fusion prevailed”, 2nd edition, 2002, pg. 267

[27] Storms,E.: “the science of Low energy nuclear reaction”, World Scientific, 2007, pg. 93-95 giving references for transmutations

[29] Rossi´s patent claims :

Claim 1: …”filled by nickel powder, even of nanometric dimensions, or nickel granules or bars,…”

Claim 2: “……in said method catalyzer material is used”. However no specification is given what is the composition of catalyst. Clearly it is a case of insufficient disclosure and because of that the claim has to be rejected which would give Rossi no IP protection for the part of the catalyst unless he had filed additional patents later on.

Claim 12:” said nickel powder is a nickel isotope”.

[30] Literature on Ni-H systems :

  1. Wayman,M.L, Weatherly,G.C. “The H-Ni (nickel hydrogen) system”, Bulletin of alloy phase diagrams 10 No. 5 (1989), 569
  2. Driessen,A. et al, “Metal hydride formation at pressures up to 1 mbar”, J. Phys. Condens. Matter 2 (1990), 9797
  3. Shizuku,Y. et al. “Phase diagram of the Ni-H system at high hydrogen pressures”, Journal of Alloys and Compounds 336 (2002),159

[33] Krivit´s analysis

[34] In 2002 Rossi was convicted for bankruptcy fraud and convicted to 8 years in prison, Italian source

[35] Error analysis and propagation of errors in the scientific protocol: link1, link2

[38] Ludwik Kowalski critics: link1, link2

[42]Battaglia,A. et al. : „Neutron emission in Ni-H systems“,  Il Nuovo Cimento A , September 1999, Volume 112, Issue 9, pp 921-931

[43] When submitting documents for patent examination, the applicant signs the following statement

 “I/We hereby declare that all statements made herein of my/our own knowledge are true and that all statements made on information and belief are believed to be true; and further that these statements were made with the knowledge that willful false statements and the like so made are punishable by fine or imprisonment, or both, under 18 U.S.C. 1001 and that such willful false statements may jeopardize the validity of the application or any patent issued thereon. “

[44] In the PCT patent examination stage, the claims, although slightly different in meanings, were rejected. Just a few quotes by the patent examiner with are self-explanatory

 “the invention does not provide experimental evidence (nor any firm theoretical basis) which would enable the skilled person to assess the validity of the invention”, “ there is no explicit evidence for energy production”, and “ the description does not disclose in a manner sufficiently clear the invention”.

The rejection of such a patent without sufficient disclosure is standard practice of patent law everywhere in the world.

Christian Schumacher

Dr. Christian Schumacher is the founder and managing director of StepChange Innovations GmbH. He has 20 years of experience in the chemical industry with global players such as Hoechst AG and DyStar Textilfarben GmbH as head of R&D, senior regional business manager Asia Pacific, head of e-commerce, head of marketing services, new product development manager and R&D chemist.

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  • AlainCo

    nice article quite critic with the clowneries of rossi that carefully manage not to give serious proofs.

    the suntzu is an idea. Read the story of Wright Brothers saga… exactly the same management of incredibility.
    It seems coherent with the optimal strategy to develop LENr commercially, as explained by Millis at NASA GRC in 2009 slides ( see )

    “(For commercial research)
    Competitive advantage weakened from premature disclosure
    •Threshold of attention is when device can be engineered
    •Disclose only enough for independent verification of key principles, not device, not best demo
    •After independent verification, advertise improved version whose performance is more pronounced than verification demo”
    add that some ego, incompetence, and mistakes…

    Defkalion have done the early tests, with not best demo, maybe because they are in advance.
    Brillouin similarly, have just few modest test from SRI.
    but it is speculation…

    about real proofs that E-cat is real :
    see the CV of Aldo prooia on linked in. maybe you can find his investors. som suggest Cripriani SRL group…
    I don’t need to see the blood, if I see sharks joining the party…

    don’t forget that LENR is officially a scam, and that no one corporate will accept that LENR is real, without testing himself…

    Anyway i won’t let my bike with Rossi…

    • cschumacher

      the article was about the scientific background. Proia is a salesman, not a scientist. He seems more serious than many others in the e-cat sales network. But what kind of evidence can he provide ? When Aldo Prioa delivers a real customer testimonial of an e-cat user we may come back to that.

      • AlainCo

        He claims many times in the media that he tested them selves, and recognize Rossi clowneries. This man is backed by serious people, who mande test, and they are happy with those test…

        of course no data is public, as it should. The only surprise would be to talk as much as Rossi does… irrationality, hubris.

  • AlainCo

    by the way when will you make an article on Defkalion, On brillouin, on national instrument/truchard/concezzi, on ENEA story, on toyota and mitsubishi, ?
    and why not on newcommers like LENR Cars, LENR Cities, Kresenn, ….

    track the tags that I carefully organized to help research

    I’m a bit tired on article about Rossi…
    and when not Rossi, very few cover the whole landscape…
    and the landscape is clear…

    • cschumacher

      The clownery is hurting the LENR field. It needs more seriousness. We are studying and doing research work on other LENR developments, too. At given point in time we will write articles about others as well.

      • AlainCo

        right, clownery are hurting. Mixing LENR with free energy fan is also hurting…
        anyway we should separate clowneries from direct and indirect evidence.

        typically indirect evidence are often more reliable than direct evidence.
        accounting is harder to fake than video.

  • alex


    You spend to much time on this quite obvious fraud. It does not deserve it..

  • Pingback: Higher education business – Ocasapiens - Blog -

  • Christian Schumacher

    announcing a new report after the e-cat report of Lugano by Swedish and Italian scientists. Coming soon!

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