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Are excess heat and isotope changes in e-cat LENR reactor real? Part 1

Are excess heat and isotope changes in e-cat LENR reactor real? – Part 1

e-cat device Lugano 2014

e-cat (hotcat) device in Lugano report [1]

A group of Swedish and Italian scientists published technical papers[1,2] that seem to confirm excess heat in a low energy nuclear reaction (LENR) device called e-cat. Even more remarkably, in the recent paper[1], the scientists found in the ash of the spent fuel dramatic isotope changes in nickel (Ni) and lithium (Li), from Ni-58 to Ni-62 and from Li-7 to Li-6, without any harmful radiation. If this finding would be correct – LENR as transmutation of elements without radiation – it would turn our present knowledge of nuclear physics on its head. It would be a true scientific sensation, one the most important discoveries of the century.

The papers were not published in a respected peer reviewed science journal. Instead, they were published in, the electronic preprint service of scientific papers at Cornell University, and on the Swedish website.

The e-cat (energy catalyzer) device is developed by Industrial Heat, a US start-up company, whose chief scientist is Andrea Rossi, the inventor of the e-cat device. Rossi is a controversial character with a shady history[3,4]. Hence the e-cat always had a credibility problem.

We reported about the e-cat before, it was on our radar screen since 2012[5].

25 years ago Fleischmann & Pons announced cold fusion at low temperatures. But subsequent attempts by most scientists to replicate the effect failed and since then most scientists are sceptical about cold fusion experiments.

Brian_Josephson_NobelLaureateHence the response of the media and academic community has been very muted (so far). Physics Nobel laureate Brian Josephson, British physicist and professor emeritus of physics at the University of Cambridge, commented on the Seven Days page of Nature, one of the world´s most respected science journals, on the release of the E-Cat report[6]:

„the most important news of the year, perhaps, ….The report not only confirms output power far in excess of anything possible by chemical reaction, but also gives a clear indication that a nuclear reaction is occurring, on the basis of a substantial change in the isotopic proportions of Li and Ni over the period of the run. ……. As before, I predict that pigs will fly before Nature makes any mention of the report…“

The scientists who contributed to the research are Giuseppe Levi (University of Bologna), Evelyn Foschi (Bologna), Torbjörn Hartman, Bo Höistad, Roland Pettersson, Lars Tegnér (Uppsala University) and Hanno Essen (Swedish Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm). The Swedish R&D company Elforsk AB[7], the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences and Industrial Heat funded the research.

The latest paper [1] was a follow up after a first report in May 2013 [2] of essentially the same authors who reported a COP (coefficient of performance) of 5.6 and 2.6, in two experiments that lasted 96 hours and 116 hours, respectively.

This time the experiment was conducted with an “improved” model at higher temperatures in the range of 1260-1412 °C, continuously over a period of 32 days and yielded a COP in the range of 3.2 to 3.6.

The e-cat device has a history going back to 2008 when Andrea Rossi filed a patent application which was never granted, neither in US nor in EP (priority date 9.4.2008). In 2010 Rossi and Sergio Focardi[8] ,an Italian physicist and professor emeritus at the University of Bologna, published a paper claiming a transmutation of nickel to copper with a remarkable COP of 200[9].

Several demonstrations of excess heat have been given which were controversially debated in internet forums[10]. All these demonstrations had in common that they were controlled by Andrea Rossi, the inventor of the technology, and the design of the device always changed from test to test. But the device was never confirmed by independent experts, nor was the nature of the reaction convincingly explained by a scientific theory. Rossi never provided scientific evidence of the underlying process what he claimed, a nuclear transmutation of nickel to copper. In 2012 Rossi made it clear that the alleged transmutation was probably only a side effect, but did not reveal further what was in his opinion the nature of the reaction.

Already in 2011, Rossi claimed to have installed a 1 MW E-Cat device with the military and also claimed to have sold several 1MW units. We summarized the history in January 2013 in this blog[11].

In 2012 Rossi established licencees (agencies) to sell 1 MW E-Cat units for industrial customers, but till date not a single case is independently confirmed that an e-cat was ever used by a real customer. There are doubts that this ever happened: on the website of E-Cat-Deutschland GmbH, the German licencee, there is a remark that the licence has been given back since no e-cats were ever supplied and due to lack of a proper contract framework[12].

In January 2014, it was announced[13] that Rossi sold the technology to Industrial Heat, a start-up company established by the US private equity firm Cherokee[14]. Cherokee already holds investments in renewable energies such as solar photovoltaic projects (Cherokee Renewables, LLC[15]).

Industrial Heat (IH) announced at the time „performance validation tests were conducted in the presence of IH personnel and certified by an independent expert“ and „IH acquired the intellectual property and licensing rights to Rossi’s LENR device after an independent committee of European scientists conducted two multi-day tests at Rossi’s facilities in Italy.“

The first report of Levi et al. in 2013 [1] seems to have played a crucial role for IH´s decision to buy Rossi´s technology. Whether they carried out a further technical due diligence is not known, apart from the above remark in the press announcement. No further details are known.

E-cat evolution

The early e-cat models were operated at much lower temperatures in a copper reactor, with nickel and hydrogen gas under pressure.

In 2012 Rossi changed the model used in testing to so called hotcats which operated at much higher temperatures[16] and he changed from fluid calorimetry to thermal imaging, which is a more qualitative, not quantitative method. Fluid calorimetry measures the whole energy of a particular reaction. IR cameras in thermal imaging measure only the temperature at the outside of the reactor in one direction, and use Stefan Boltzmann´s formula[17] for calculation of the energy (energy is proportional to T4 so accurate temperature is crucial).

The e-cat device which was examined by Levi et al. [1,2] was no longer a copper tube. It was replaced by steel surrounded by ceramic material (2013), and alumina (2014). The Lugano hotcat now looks similar as a commercial ceramic heater[18].

Apparently no more hydrogen gas is loaded. Instead, it seems that a metal hydride is used as a source of hydrogen, or nickel is preloaded with hydrogen. The authors of the present paper [1] suggested that Lithium aluminium hydride (LiAlH4) could have been used as a source of hydrogen which could release hydrogen in situ during operation. The implication of this are discussed below.

The pictures show the “evolution” of the various e-cats over the years.

Early prototype e-cat model (2011), temperature : ~ 100 °C
hotcat device, 2012 (Penon report[19]), COP ~6, temperature ~ 1050 °C
Lugano hotcat device, 2014, COP ~ 3, operating range: 1260-1412 °C

Excess heat

The scientists found significant excess heat in all the experiments. The energy output was found roughly three times higher than the energy input, “one order of magnitude larger than any known conventional energy source”.

In principle there are three explanations for significant excess heat:

1. wrong measurements

2. scam

3. the effect is real, a case of uncharted science territory, possibly new physics

With the participation of physics professors, who confirmed excess heat, one would expect that 1) and 2) are declining in probability and 3) is increasing in probability. But things are not that clear – the circumstances how the tests were operated have always been suspicious.

The experiments of the alleged independent tests were not run in self sustaining mode (SSM), in contrast to Penon´s report in 2012[19]. Running in SSM after initiating the reaction, by removing all possible energy input, would have been a far more convincing argument. It is also strange that an electrical heater is required not only to initiate but also to control a highly exothermic reaction; normally a cooler is used for this purpose.

During the experiments for the first report released in May 2013[2], only two of the authors, Levi and Foschi, attended the first test in December 2012 which was tested a COP of 5.6. All authors attended the test in March 2013 which found a lower COP of 2.6, which fall far below the guaranteed COP of the device which is sold in the market, but it would still be a significant excess heat, provided that the results would be correct. These experiments were carried out in operating ranges 300-450 °C, and they lasted 96 hours and 116 hours, respectively.

Criticism was raised on the credibility of the results with respect to the choice of the location, the participants´ prior involvement with the e-cat, the experimental procedures, the input of electrical energy to activate the reaction, the equipment, and the methods to measure temperatures of the reactor by IR camera rather than fluid calorimetry.

For example, the independence of the tests can be challenged: The first experiments (2013 paper) took place on Rossi´s factory premises in Ferrara, Italy, Italy. Guiseppe Levi, a professor from Bologna University, and member of the E-cat trio of 2011[20] (Rossi-Focardi and Levi), provided most of the equipment. Sceptics have suspected hidden wires and additional energy input which was unaccounted by the measurements. Wiring manipulations were suggested as one possible explanation how the energy input could have been manipulated[21]. Even the magnitude of the COP ~ 3 was explained[21]. Several other technical mistakes have been pointed out, such as omitting control on DC current input and the assumption that the output heat is released by a perfect black body.

The 2014 experiments were carried out at an facility in Lugano, Switzerland, a location claimed to be independent of Rossi and IH[1]. The experiment was conducted with an “improved” model at higher temperatures in the range of 1260-1412 °C, continuously over a period of 32 days, and a COP of 3.2 to 3.6 was reported. Some of the criticism of the first report has been addressed, but not all. Basically the same team carried out the experiments, the basic designs of the energy measurements was unchanged, and Andrea Rossi, the inventor, personally intervened several times. Not surprisingly, sceptics immediately raised the red flag.

There is still criticism about the way of energy input, vaguely described and not ruling out manipulations by wiring tricks, inaccurate measurement of the output energy, and lack of proper calibration.

For the power input the scientists used a 3-phase electrical high power line, however, there was no explicit checks of wiring, and no clear pictures of how the experimental design was hooked up.


Draft of experimental setup from MFMP open science project[22] which tries to replicate the cat experiments. In the Lugano report, no corresponding details are given

A major point of debate is the fact that the dummy reactor was run at a substantially lower power input and a much lower temperature (~ 500 °C), far away from the operation temperature of the actual experiment (~1200-1400 °C), despite the difference in the emissivity and effective transparency of the alumina reactor and inconel[23] alloy. This means no proper calibration has taken place. Speculations occurred about the real reasons why the dummy was not properly calibrated[24]: “The ‘dummy’ run was kept at this low temperature so the size, location, and number of the resistors would not become known, among other things”, writes the known critic Gary Wright.

Besides, of the two IR cameras only one was calibrated to measure in the actual operating range.

With respect to measurement of the output temperature, there is further the undetermined influence of translucent alumina which superimposes the measurement. In the experiment, alumina was treated as opaque radiator of known temperature depending emissivity, however, sintered alumina is optically transmissive (translucent), and therefore infrared light of the Inconel heating wires (which obviously glow), will pass through alumina.

Michael C.H. McKubre[25], a long time LENR supporter, comments “at issue is the extent to which the camera measures directly the temperature of the heating wires and the putative source of the fuel directly transmitted through the alumina container, rather than the surface as assumed in the heat calculations.“

Melting miracles

Rossi changed the reactor core from copper to alumina. Obviously, in the operating range above 1200 °C copper would melt. This makes me wonder once again why did Rossi make this change and not retest the previous device models? Why not test the model which is offered for sale in the market since 3 years (see website of various former licencees)?

The operating conditions during the Lugano test was reported in the range 1260-1412 °C from (inaccurate) IR camera measurements, measured at the outside of the reactor core. Besides, the numbers given are average numbers. No details are given for the different areas, but if one assumes a similar temperature variation as for the dummy run (which was done at much lower temperatures; it varied by 5%), temperature is certain areas would have gone towards a 1450 °C peak, on the outside of the ceramic reactor.

Inside the reactor was no agitation of the reaction mix; therefore local hotspots – assuming a highly exothermic reaction on surfaces taking place -would have presumably created even higher temperatures in some areas.

The temperature shown in the report were measured on the outside of the ceramic reactor. Inside of the reactor must have been even hotter.

It is also remarkable that thermocouple equipment (K types), which have a upper temperature limit of 1250 °C, was placed in the device, but surprisingly no data were reported. K type thermocouplers are made of chromel (nickel chromium alloy), a material which melts at 1420 °C[26].

Inconel (heating wires, made of nickel-chromium-based superalloys), would melt in the range of 1390 – 1425 °C[27].

Nickel would melt at 1455 °C (1728 K). But the charge is not pure nickel; in presence of hydrogen releasing reagents the charge would be probably converted to nickel hydride which has a distinctively lower melting point, depending on the hydrogen pressure[28]. While the pressure inside the reactor is not known we can see that at high hydrogen pressures the melting point approaches 1680 K (1407 °C) which is slightly below the highest temperature measured outside the reactor.


Melting point of nickel hydride, depending on hydrogen partial pressure [28]

Under the operating conditions, there was a significant risk that the fuel charge, thermocoupler and heating wires would melt. But they did not melt, otherwise the power production would have collapsed and the ash would look very different. Was this luck? Or could it be that the real temperature was much lower? Remember the energy calculation in Stefan Botzmann´s formula is ~ T4, and therefore accurate temperature measurement is crucial.

The manufactures and the scientists must have known the melting points issues, opposite the operating temperature range. Let´s phrase it diplomatically: It is very surprising that the device is operated at the extreme limits, at conditions where a failure would be imminent any time.

Is LiAlH4 the source of hydrogen?

As mentioned above, Levi et al. [1] suggested that Lithium aluminium hydride (LiAlH4) could have been used as a source of hydrogen. This hydride would release hydrogen in situ during operation. LiAlH4 will release hydrogen upon heating by thermal decomposition[29]. Its exact state can be be examined by XRD (X-ray diffraction) analysis[30].

But LiAlH4 is a very aggressive, extremely hygroscopic chemical which will react quickly with moisture (water) while getting rapidly decomposed. In this context it is very surprising that the team handled the fuel containing the hydride in an “envelope”, according to the report. On page 7 it is stated

the powder had been previously placed in a small envelope, weighed (about 1 g), and then transferred to a test tube”.

It does not say how long the powder was kept in the envelope (and who took care of the envelope to avoid sample manipulation). That would have been important considering the hygroscopic property of the suspected compound. But anyway, this procedure is very unconventional; an experienced chemist would never proceed like this with a highly sensitive hydride such as LiAlH4, since it would decompose rapidly upon storage in air, in presence of moisture.

What happens in the following chemical reaction, reacting very violently

LiAlH4 + 4H2O → LiOH + Al (OH) 3 + 4H2.

Not knowing how long the material was exposed to air in the “envelope” it is impossible to judge what kind of material had been effectively used, but very likely it would have been decomposed already, at least partly, ending up in Lithium hydroxide and Aluminium oxide, losing the hydrogen which would escape from the “envelope”. Perhaps this is the source of the aluminium oxide which was found in the fuel.

To get an impression for the non chemist readers, how sensitive LiAlH4 really is, take the following citation from the literature [31]

The water absorption up to 11.7% due to exposure to air for 1 h does not change in any drastic way the hydrogen desorption rate of ball milled LiAlH4 ……. Flammability tests show that the ball milled LiAlH4 powder does not self-ignite on contact with air but can only be ignited by scraping the cylinder walls with a metal tool and then the powder burns with an open flame”.

Every chemist knows that it is generally not advisable to handle a sensitive and chemical compound in an “envelope”. The guys at MFMP should be very careful when trying to replicate the Lugano test, for their own safety concern.


In the next article we will look deeper into the issue of the isotope changes in nickel and lithium, reaction kinetics and what the Lugano reports means for Industrial Heats patent situation.

To be continued.



[1] Levi, G. et al. : Observation of abundant heat production from a reactor device and of isotopic changes in the fuel
[2] Levi, G. et al: Indication of anomalous heat energy production in a reactor device containing hydrogen loaded nickel powder
[3] Wikipedia on Andrea Rossi (entrepreneur)
[4] newenergytimes : Rossi’s Italian Financial and Environmental Criminal History
[6] Comment of Nobel laureate Brian Josephson (1973 prize winner in physics) on the e-cat report on the website of nature journal
[7] Elforsk to launch LENR research group in Sweden
[8] Sergio Focardi
[9] Rossi,A. Focardi,S. : A new energy source from nuclear fusion, 22.3.2010
[11] e-cat – the fading dream for free and abundant energy
[12] website of e-cat deutschland GmbH
[13] Industrial Heat Has Acquired Andrea Rossi’s E-Cat Technology
[16] Penon,F., Fabiani,F., Bianchini,D. : High Temperature Energy Catalyzer Test, 2012
[17] Stefan–Boltzmann law
[18] Ceramic heaters: example1, example2
[19] Penon High-Temperature E-Cat Test Results Posted
[20] Understanding the E-Cat Trio
[21] discussion about possible manipulation of energy input
[22] Martin Fleischmann Memorial project
[23] Inconel is a nickel-chromium-based superalloy, oxidation and corrosion resistant materials well suited for service in extreme environments subjected to pressure and heat.
[24] Gary Wright: Why Power for the ‘Dummy’ Run was Below 500 W in the Elforsk-Levi Report #2
[25] McKubre,M. : Analysis of New E-Cat Report
[26] Wikipedia on type K thermocouplers
[27] Properties of inconel alloys (oxidation and corrosion resistant material well suited for service in extreme environments subjected to pressure and heat)
[28] Wayman, M.L., Weatherly, G.C.: Bull. Alloy Phase Diagrams 10 (1989) 569
[29] Garner, W. E., Haycock, E.W., Proceedings of the Royal Society of London. Series A, Mathematical and Physical Sciences, Vol. 211, No. 1106 (Mar. 6, 1952), pp. 335-351
[30] Varin, R.A., Zbroniec,L., Crystals 2012,2, 159-175
[31] Varin, R.A., Zbroniec, L., Journal of Alloys and Compounds, 504, 1, (2010), 89–101


Christian Schumacher

Dr. Christian Schumacher is the founder and managing director of StepChange Innovations GmbH, a technology development and consulting firm based in Germany. He has more than 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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  • Putting all the niggling issues aside which are prevalent in any high tech testing, you are talking about a lot of energy which can’t be explained other than calling the people who did the test incompetent at best and complete liars at worse. At this point the probability of that is nill. All of this angst would go away if Rossi could protect his Intellectual Property properly. Scientist are asking him to give up his Golden Goose in exchange for their “acceptance” of his breakthrough. Its a complicated situation- respect that.

    • as the author show more or less clearly, the only explanation beside it works is a conspiracy… errors would be incredibly lucky, and Industrial Heat would never have delivered a broken reactor without being sure it seems to work.

      There is a huge desire for some people that it does not work, because it mean an error , a fiasco, happened since decades… It is anyway the occam razor solution. It is quire common, and can be solved by adoption and amnesia as usual.

      anyway the report is not flawless.

      There is first a lack of calibration at high temperature, because of technical problems (risk of providing high current at low temperature in some “very special” alloy).

      it is today clear that something happens in the heating coil…

      People have to remember the work of Pr Tripodi , Celani, and others who proved that PdHx allow at high loading show a Type II superconductivity at high temperature… at 1400C it is very improbable, but maybe at least a NTC effect…

      all the question, on the precise alloys, on the type K (was it a type K or a more robust one) thermocouple , on coils resistivity change, on PDF images, cast many questions… Some try to hang on those question to build a castle of conspiracy cards… Even a conspiracy theory does not make sense.

      A question is not necessarily the “it is a fraud” answers… Theories of fraud simply don’t add up…

      even if the power was badly measured by a factor of 3, the coherence of the controller consumption, the COP much above 3, and simply commonsense make belief impossible.

      same for the transparency question which is answered with know data on the wavelength window out of IR cam window, which also is answered by IR images where visible light would be visible, and is not.

      Emissivity question does not add up either as the 3.6 COP woudl as for unrealistically high and low emissivity for cold and hot alumina…

      There is a simple answer however, in line with hundreds of experiments published , some in peer review journal like Naturwissenschaften or Journal of Electroanalythical chemistry, or blocked by the stigma of 1989 from even being reviewed in most journals.

      As Edmund storms, and many experience scientist, it is probable that some if not many, if not 95%, of LENR paper are at least non conclusive… but given the mass of evidence, of replications, there is enough to be sure a LENR phenomenon exist…

      from that the E-Cat evidence is no more “extraordinary” but simply “to be checked after due diligence”…

      2 years ago, Rossi provided only weak evidence, and even without the incredible theories against him, there was some reason to check a second time, with the hands on. This was done with the 2013 test, which convinced Cherokee Group to invest 11milion, and Elforsk to make an article in Elforsk Perpektiv.

      Now with the second test, Tom darden continue to support the E-cat that HE built. Elforsk boss defend the test, with a faked cautious message, trying to let doubt where he know that just not being an opponent is already a scientific misconduct.

      I am more concerned by the business part of their adventures.

      Cherokee fund is playing the game alone technologically, away from the scientific community.

      I have been recently at LENR-Cities kickoff meeting with a handful of scientists. Their approach maye be more rational, because it is based on the idea to pool IP assets and researsh programs accros a core community of researshers, showing a united facade to industrialists willing to fund and apply researsh to their own product lines, transforming technology into innovation.

      Other groups like LENR-invest play the 20th century game of venture capitalism… I’m less optimistic, but why not… it worked for Internet.

      What is funny is that both have strong link in EU, and especially in Switzerland

      people may imagine that Cherokee have a huge advantage with a working reactor, but history is full of leaders who finally failed because of market errors, or bad luck…

      Without huge research effort E-cat may be simply a dead end… with few product sold and no second generation… Darden however is not a kitten of the year, and I imagine he have a strategy, better than Rossi.

      What about Brillouin ? strangely silent…

      • Paul Smith

        The “hot” junction of the K termocouple is inside an alternate magnetic field and surely there is a Joule effect in it for induced currents. This makes increase its temperature at higher values respect the zone where it is put. So its signal to the external controller simulates a higher temperature. The controller so riduce the real temperature inside of reactor.

        Could it be possible this my assumption?

        • question is how people have estimated resistance.
          the retroaction you describe is clear, and visible as with time the power is reduced while temperature is stabilized.

          most crotics assume the same voltage apply to the resistor which is sure false as it is dimmed by triacs.
          we don’t know well the wiring, nor the waveform.

          what I know simply is that you don’t fool wattmeter with 5KHz bandwidth, if testers are curious enough to measure RF ambiance and DC offset.
          moreover if no fraud is planned, no triac can fool a wattmeter because harmonics are negligible on the main voltage above 100x.

          moreover RF emissions would be clear, if not dangerous at that 2kW power.

          some data are missing, and I trust infinitely more a wattmeter, scientists commonsense (I would have prefered engineers), than my own hypothesis and rough computations, as critics do.
          I also trust the commonsense of Industrial Heat not to deliver a broken reactor to a team of scientists, hoping they do student errors in the good order.

          only alternative to “it work” is general conspiracy. If you assume such a conspiracy theory, all is possible… no need to make any guess… all result can be generated on a computer, test photographies made from studio…
          This is like Apollo conspiracy theory. impossible to deny.

    • Thomas Clarke

      I don’t understand this argument. The power in and current in figures given by the testers are provably anomalous. It is not necessary to comment on the reason for the anomaly to note it, and therefore say that the test results must be unsafe.

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  • bachcole

    Be prepared for a radical change in science and the world economy.

    • tyy

      Well Roger, if the science would be replaced by wishful thinking and alchemy, that could actually mean some changes to the world economy.

  • bachcole
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  • John Milstone

    It’s worth mentioning the closest thing to an independent test was performed by the Swedish SP Technical Research Institute at the request of one of Rossi’s distributers, who had a $12 million deal lined up.

    The testers found that the amount of input power was being understated by 2-3 times, and there was no excess energy being produced.

    • Thomas Clarke

      Yes, it is interesting that that is precisely what seems to be happening here.

  • LuFong

    >The temperature shown in the report were measured on the outside of the
    ceramic reactor. Inside of the reactor must have been even hotter.

    Excellent summary of the history of the E-Cat and critical analysis of the report results.

    My calculations show that there is only about a 20°C difference between inside and outside (across the 3mm alumina boundary). I am but a “Google Scholar” and perhaps someone better qualified can redo these calculations and confirm them. It seems that it’s a rather straightforward heat transfer problem except for the geometry of the E-Cat which includes the spiral ridges around the center.

    • Thomas Clarke

      The alumina is stated as forming a 20mm cylinder with a 4mm hole in which the powder is inserted. the power from the powder (if it exists) thus dissipates over this “thick-walled tube”, an Al2O3 thickness of 8mm.

      Given the substantive input power criticism it is of academic interest only, but for a thick-walled cylinder the temperature drop is proportional to ln(D1/D2). Here D2 is stated as 4mm and D1 as 20mm (with the ridges altering this by only 2.3mm). The geometric factor is therefore ln(5)= 1.6. The equation for temperature drop is then:

      T = 1.6*P/(2*pi*K*L)

      P = total power = 2300W (the claimed power from the powder in the inner hole)
      K = thermal conductivity Al2O3 = 12-40 W/m.K
      L = length = 0.20m

      So T = 73C to 240C. The uncertainty is because the thermal characteristics of Al2O3 are very variable.

  • Thomas Clarke

    Alain and others,

    You will remember from another place that my views on this matter differ from yours. However, reading the various analyses one aspect of the test is inescapable but not mentioned above..

    I refer interested readers here to Mats Lewan’s page for the detailed discussion:

    In summary (these points have all been validated by a large number of observers who understand electrical power, except the 5th one which requires knowledge of the PCE-830 and therefore is less well validated):

    (1) The test data on input power contains an anomaly between reported currents and powers that can only be resolved by error (whether deliberate or innocent) or by heating wire which is not as stated by the report authors Inconel and has a highly unusual negative temperature coefficient that shows between the dummy and active test, but not between the two active tests.

    (2) The magnitude of this error is X 1/3 and exactly equal to the COP. In other words, resolve this error and you have COP=1 to within the admitted errors.

    (3) The error could be caused (precisely) by a single current measurement clamp reclamped the opposite way round between dummy and active tests. Rossi was present, and disconnected/reconnected the reactor at this time.

    (4) The anomaly could be further understood by examining in detail the data from the testers. They could check how the heater resistance changes during the warmup phase of the active run. that would provide proof positive either of a highly unusual heater element or of a X 1/3 mistake in input power measurement. We know they have the necessary data because they use it, after the warmup phase, to obtain their results. We must hope this clarification happens in a timely fashion.

    (5) The photo of the PCE-830 screen with triac switching shows the relative phases of I1 and I3 signals. It is compatible with a reversed clamp, either on I1 or I3. It is not compatible with all clamps correctly connected. It therefore supports the suggestion in (3) that one of the current clamps was reversed during the active test so leading the input power to be underestimated by a factor of 3 and explaining the anomalous current and power results mentioned in (1).

    Thus far the testers have not resolved the matter. We must hope that they do. Until they do (a personal judgement) the most likely explanation for the apparent excess heat is experimental error, probably from Rossi, who performed the reactor removal and reattachment and therefore would replace the clamps. This precisely explains all the anomalies.

    This test as you would is going round the blogosphere receiving mostly uncritical secondary comment. That does no service to the testers, nor to the scientific community, nor to the public. The correct response would be to ask, firmly, for the anomalies to be addressed before drawing any conclusions.

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  • K.J.

    Dear Thomas Clarke,
    Even in the report is written that the Inconel alloy type was special custom made being significantly doped with semiconductor. This means that the resistivity was decreasing with temperature because of the exponential rise of charge carriers in the semiconductor. Note also that because alternate current has no defined direction even the connection a clamp in reverse would cause only the recording of a negative current but NO effect in the total power calculation that is done by means of ABSOLUTE VALUES. Also the anomalous negative current would be recorded in the data files by the committee and immediately noted. Nobody of you notes also that in this case two PCE 830 analyzers were used.
    The only possible explanation is that you are supposing an international plot founded also by the Swedish Academy of Science.

    • DNI

      Your comment is not correct. I don’t think you understand the test set up and the measurements performed with PCE-830. If you don’t belief me you can have a look in in which Giancarlo has made tests with a reversed clamp and found that the measured power is 1/3 of the real value. And the only way to spot the error is if you understand how to interpret the phase diagram.

      • Thomas Clarke

        Yes, or, you could spot the error by looking at the individual line powers from the analyser. Not obvious, but should be possible from the stored data.

  • Thomas Clarke

    You are making assumptions about how the testers checked their results which are not warranted. We know they did not check very well because the figures they provide for current and power are inconsistent with their own statement that the heater was Inconel (which fact determined their experimental protocol, so they must have been confident of it). You cannot dope inconel with a semiconductor – it is a class of Ni-Cr alloys which have well understood temperature characteristics. The doping alters various properties but not the metallic nature of the material.

    I agree the anomaly could be resolved, either way, by the data the testers have recorded. the fact that they have not year clarified the matter indicates a lack of inclination or ability to do so.

    The problem with a semiconductor for the heating coils is that it is just not feasible. The bandgap would need to be very large (for example SiC has lowest resistivity at around 500C. We need 3X drop from 500 to 1250C as well as 1% increase from 1250C to 1400C. Such a material would not be malleable.

    It is also beyond belief, even were it possible. Why on earth would Rossi do such a complicated thing? There is no merit in NTC between 500C and 1250C, well below the intended operating point of the device.

    Your statement about power is of course, as has been pointed out by others, wrong. AC current has a defined phase, and reversal of the current phase relative to voltage does indeed reverse the direction of power transfer.

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  • Oystein Lande

    Dear Mr. Schumacher,

    I have a few comments to your article

    A. “….Rossi, the inventor of the e-cat device”

    Please be aware of following:

    Rossi didn’t really invent something from scratch, but rather developed further upon what was done by Professor Sergio Focardi in the early 1990’s at the University of Bologna. He did nickel-hydrogen reactor experiments, and got Heat out larger than what could be explained by any chemical reactions.

    Focardi further published a few papers in the 1990’s on the subject in a scientific Journal (peer-reviewed ;-)… )

    – Focardi S, Habel R, Piantelli F (January 1994): “Anomalous Heat Production in Ni-H Systems”. Il Nuovo Cimento A, Volume 107 A, Number 1, 163–167
    – Focardi S, Gabbani V, Montalbano V, Piantelli F, Veronesi S (November 1998). “Large excess heat production in Ni-H systems”. Il Nuovo Cimento A, 111 (11): 1233–1242. OCLC 204819206. 
    – Neutron emission in Ni-H systems. Il Nuovo Cimento A (1971-1996), Volume 112, Number 9, 921–931.
    Authors: Battaglia, Daddi, Focardi, Gabbani, Montalbano, Piantelli, Sona, Veronesi. Retrieved on SpringerLink.

    Later Rossi contacted Focardi with some creative ideas to possible increase power levels….

    In Professor Focardi’s own words:
    “After that, at a certain point … I was running the risk of dying of a tumor. I was lucky, I found a good doctor who saved my life, and so I retired, I stopped working (as a professor, obviously), but kept on … then I did quit for a while … until Rossi looked me up……. and I could see that he had some innovative ideas; for instance, he immediately thought of using powder. Powder increases the surfaces involved……”

    B. “Rossi is a controversial character with a shady history[3,4]. Hence the e-cat always had a credibility problem.”

    Yes, possibly,BUT there may be more sides to this story:

    General Emilio Spaziante has recently pleaded guilty for corruption and has been sentenced to serve 4 years in prison: he is the officer of the Guardia di Finanza that closed Rossi’s Petroldragon and all the other factories twenty years ago. This fact may cast some new light on that strange affair, that finished by Rossi being convicted of tax evasion (which seems triggered by desperate tentative to escape some money from the bankruptcy caused by the pursuits), lack of pollution permit (because a change in the laws, despite clear support of the government before and some media) , but no fraud, despite clear witch hunt in the press, with unsupported accusation.

    “one cannot fail to notice the coincidence in historical dates between the war against Andrea Rossi, now a major player in petroleum products thanks to his research and activities with Omar and Petroldragon, and the decision on the part of Camorra organized crime to establish itself firmly in the waste management business, and achieve a monopoly on waste disposal.”

    C. “……Fleischmann & Pons announced cold fusion at low temperatures. But subsequent attempts by most scientists to replicate the effect failed and since then most scientists are sceptical about cold fusion experiments.”

    I believe a more correct statement would be “attempts by the few important institutes that decided the faith of the F&P experiment, failed to replicate their results”. AND the deciding Institutes where CALTECH and MIT.

    BUT: Was the attempts done by CALTECH, MIT and other laboratories anywhere close to being scientific replications?

    The deciding moment in time for Cold Fusion was the MAY 1989 APS meeting in Baltimore.

    A frenzy of tests had been performed between March 23. and May 1. 1989. Tests at Caltech , MIT and in other labs. Tests based on data from “news articles” and “TV pictures”, since Fleischmann and Pons did not reveal any exact lab data. So, These were very far from “scientific” replication efforts.

    On May 1-2, 1989, a series of three “cold fusion” press conferences took place in Baltimore, MD at the American Physical Society meeting, the world’s largest yearly gathering of physicists. And Cold Fusion was pronounced dead and buried.

    As The press after reported: NYT: “….the scientists on a panel at the American Physical Society meeting Tuesday voted 8-1 that they were 95 percent confident the excess heat was not produced by nuclear fusion.”

    Associated Press: “A panel of nine scientists on Tuesday disparaged Utah researchers’ claim of achieving fusion in a jar, suggesting they were fooled by faulty measurements.”
    Professor Fleischmann was probably the leading scientist in the 20th century on calorimetry, so accusing him of fault by not “stirring” was a pretty offensive remark. And As it was shown later the Fleischmann cell needed absolutely no stirring.

    SO from 2.May 1989 Cold Fusion was no longer part of mainstream Science.

    It’s interesting to watch the press conference, where Nathan Lewis says they find no evidence of excess heat. Martin Fleischmann then replies that loading (Deuterium/Palladium ratio) is not high enough, whereupon Lewis replies: “The loading is more than high enough ! ” – as if Lewis new anything about what the loading ought to be !!! Well in the early 1990’s Stanford Research Institute proved that loading needed to be at least 92% to have any hope of seeing excess heat. The Caltech, MIT and other laboratories where nowhere close to 90%, but rather down around 80% loading.

    And that is the sad story how the science of Cold fusion got the worst start imaginable.

    C. “It is also strange that an electrical heater is required not only to initiate but also to control a highly exothermic reaction; normally a cooler is used for this purpose”

    As shown in some experiments an initial temperature is required to reach the condition of LENR. Also it’s possible that an active AC coil is required to induce electrical currents in the reactor material to sustain LENR, which has been shown by other scientists to enhance the LENR effect (like Celani wire).

    D. “….measure temperatures of the reactor by IR camera rather than fluid calorimetry”

    Of course, fluid calorimetry would be preferred, but would complicate the setup and increase the costs (It’s my understanding that it’s the related costs that prohibited fluid calorimetry in the latest test).

    Anyhow: There is nothing magical to using IR camera. The spectral range for both IR cameras used was from 7.5 to 13 μm. In that range, the alumina is opaque. So they used the right cameras for the job, no transparancy issues.

    E. “Andrea Rossi, the inventor, personally intervened several times.”

    I think the important issue here was the sampling:
    “Do you think Rossi could somehow have manipulated these powders under your eyes?”
    Bo Höistad:
    “Of course we were very careful not to allow anything occult or hidden to happen, as a precaution. But the answer is no. We manipulated the ashes. Rossi was present, and he assisted in the operation.”

    My own comment here is that a 0,2% ash sample is not likely to be representative of the total.

    F. “…not ruling out manipulations by wiring tricks”

    It’s was the testers own wiring and equipment that was used, so You imply that this last test is part of a larger conspiracy?

    Let me end by saying that I don’t consider myself being part of the “Rossi church”, but I find the story interesting enough to follow it closely. Because of Professor Focardi, Celani, Piantelli and others work on Hydrogen/Nickel systems. And Because of the whole history of Cold Fusion and it’s maltreatment by the Scientific community.

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