Is the Rossi e-cat real ?

Italian inventor Andrea Rossi claims he  has invented a device called the e-cat or energy catalyzer which is based on Nickel-hydrogen (Ni-H) nuclear reactions.

According to Mr Rossi, “It uses a secret catalyzer to fuse hydrogen and nickel together to form copper” (see Interview Rossi). The claim is extraordinary – nothing less than solving all the energy problems of this planet.

While robust evidence for nuclear reactions initiated at low temperature has been gathered in the last 22 years – clear evidence of nuclear reactions such as transmutation of elements and formation of He-4 – we are increasingly skeptical about the validity of the claims of the e-cat by Italian inventor Mr Rossi and his team.

The science journalist Stephen Krivit has done an intensive investigation of  the matter and raised serious technical concerns about the experiment, he even raised allegations of fraud (see Investigation Index ).

Accroding to Krivit “Rossi´s case is certainly extraordinary, and his claim is so bold that many people cannot imagine that he pulled off scam this big and for so long. Or that he would pull the wool over so many people´s eyes. But he has”

Not everybody appreciated the tone of Mr Krivit´s inquisition, however we believe Mr Krivik´s questions are very much legitimate and need to be taken serious until the Italian inventors come up with reasonable explanations. But so far they have failed to deliver.

Specifically the issues are lack of independent peer review, lack of scientific explanations and serious questionmarks behind the methods of energy measurement  to support the extraordinary claims.

Mr Rossi has refused independent scientific review of his machine. He has justified this with the fact that his patent is not yet granted. However, cross-checking the calorimetric data by professional experts skilled in the art would not give away any secret knowledge, only if he would disclose his secret catalyst he would compromise his intellectual property. Instead, the stubborn reluctance to any independent peer review is very suspicious.

The energy balance of the e-cat is very questionable, there are clear indications for serious methodic errors, at least for the experiments that were shown in demonstrations. For example, the energy calculation of excess heat of the  e-cat is based on the assumption of  fully vaporized dry steam, however it is questionable from the design of the experiment that all water would be evaporated as dry steam – the margin of error is up to 600% which would be fully compensating the claimed excess energy factor of 6 (see report)
In fact, the design of the energy measurement looks inappropriate, it would have been much easier to measure in liquid water at higher flow rate without vaporization, just from the temperature difference. However, the e-cat team has refused to use alternative measurement methods and turned down all professional advice.

The Australian engineer Dick Smith who stated “Rossi E-CAT … too fantastic to be true” came up with suggestions how Rossi could have manipulated the experiments.  Dick Smith offerred Andrea Rossi $1,000,000 if he could prove that the e-cat  would actually works as claimed. Rossi immediately turned down the challenge.

There are no independent reports that anybody has ever seen the large factory in operation claimed to manufacture e-cat devices. Rossi claims 300 e-cats operating in Florida and a factory in Italy heated with the e-cat. Why is he showing a small laboratory device with questionable experimental setup when he is already operating many devices in plant ?

Rossi´s laboratory does not look like a laboratory at all, there are no lab benches, no cabinets, the steam reportedly goes down a simple sink drain (see video of Stephen Krivit via  youtube video). For scientific experiments involving nuclear reactions and making such extraordinary claims the lack of a proper  “laboratory” is very remarkable.

Moreover, Mr Rossi has a track criminal track record ( Andrea Rossi Energy Catalyzer Investigation Index) of  fraud, toxic waste pollution and tax evasion. He reportedly spent years in prison. In his earlier life he had run a business (Petroldragon, Wikipedia on Rossi)  trying to convert waste to oil .

The patent application seems very vague and lacks sufficient disclosure. For people knowledgeable with patents, the application looks quite unprofessional and clearly insufficient to substantiate such extraordinary claims. No examples are given, no experimental details. The secret catalyst is just mentioned once very vaguely, but not further outlined, the application is mainly based on vague speculations. Consequently the international report on patentability has given a very negative judgment.
Rossi reaction to the negative search report was the announcement to build a special device within the e-cat that would self-destroy the e-cat once it is opened unless his patent is granted.

Mr Rossi stated “I want no money until the plants have started up to demonstrate they maintain the guarantees. I want all the risk on me”. On the other hands he has involved an investors trust and asks for 15 mio USD if people want to test his equipment (see report)

It is possible that the whole story is fraud form the beginning, also considering Rossi´s history.

Likewise it is also possible that the engineer Rossi accidentally stumbled on a specially active material to produce excess heat, but now struggles to repeat the results, due to lack of material control. Now he fiddles the experiments to keep the story going and he hopes that with sufficient funding he can make the process work.

In this context it is interesting that the claims of excess heat have been reduced from 213 to 6 time output of energy vs. input !  So possibly (assuming for a moment it was not outright fraud from the beginning), initially Mr Rossi may have found indeed some material (Ni plus additional unknown ingredients, or special quality of Ni) to operate a LENR device but now faces problems in reproducibility as so many people before. It became clear after 22 years of research that proper control of material is the key to success. Possibly Mr Rossi does not have proper control over the materials used. Note that factor 6 is now within the error margin of error –  there may be no excess heat any more at all.

Considering the above issues we have to seriously question the validity of the claims unless Rossi allows independent audits to confirm the same. Until this is delivered we remain skeptical. As one blog commentator has stated  “Steven Krivit’s criticism is fully understandable. Along with Rossi’s scamming past, Rossi’s claims demonstrations have no peer review, no independent verification, and no scientific explanations to support the excess energy he is claiming.”

A high number of e-cat blogs and websites give very positive endorsement to Mr Rossi. It looks like there is rather religious belief and very little scientific and technical understanding.

But how has Rossi convinced so many? “It’s a very important question,” Krivit said. Some scientists attribute it to wishful thinking on the part of Rossi’s audience. But it seems the inventor may also be a talented scam artist (read e-cat fraud claims)

Or put it in Mr Rossi´s words “the E-Cat will be on the market soon, and “the skeptics will be free to buy them and make all the tests they want.” And further he says “We are focusing on building a production line capable of producing 1 mio e-cats per year”, and discusses publicly to offer  1MW plants for 1.5 mio USD and even plans for  45 MW plants for a price of 30 mio USD.

Only time will tell.

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.

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. DrBob

    Dear Stepchange admin,

    There has been a lot of progress in Cold Fusion research last 12 months and for that reason you should make another article to get a bit up to date.
    We had Cellanis 2 public demonstrations, a security and a efficiency validation for Rossi, MFMP is doing a open project on, EU had an meeting on Cold Fusion a couple of days ago, new players in the industry, new patents approved, NASA engineers worked with Defkalion etc

    Kind Regards

    Dr Bob

    Information and Technology can solve all our problems.

    1. cschumacher

      thanks DrBob, for your suggestion. We are following the latest news in the field on LENR, and we are preparing another article.

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