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Brian Westenhaus

Brian Westenhaus

Brian is the editor of the popular energy technology site New Energy and Fuel. The site’s mission is to inform, stimulate, amuse and abuse the…

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What’s Happened to Andrea Rossi and his E-Cat?

Yesterday Sterling D. Allan of PESN and Frank Acland of E-CatWorld conducted a one and a half hour interview with Andrea Rossi hosted by Gary Hendershot on his Smart Scarecrow service regarding developments in the E-Cat technology based on the cold fusion technology called “LENR” for Low Energy Nuclear Reaction.

SmartScarecrow has chat room where people could post questions, several of which were presented to Rossi during the show. At its peak, there were just over 1000 people listening to the live broadcast, which began at 4:30 pm Eastern time (GMT-5), with nearly 200 people in the live chat.

The conversation while on YouTube is audio only.  Rather than sit through over an hour and half here is a brief summary.

What Rossi and the enthusiasts have learned is it’s a very long path from the lab demonstration unit to production.  Mr. Rossi’s credibility has taken quite hit from observers without familiarity in making such a jump.  Every little glitch in the scaling that fails has to be worked back, discovered, redesigned or engineered and then the process starts in again.

To build the 1-megawatt unit takes 106 reactors, so getting each one built is quite an undertaking for a startup.  Meanwhile the company is well, starting up, getting located, equipped, supplied, staffed and all the myriad details to build something. Days means weeks and weeks could be months adding up to years.

Loaded E-Cat for Transport.
Loaded E-Cat for Transport.

Related article: Scientists must Study the Nuclear Weak Force to Better Understand LENR

The very first unit experienced just these kinds of problems and wasn’t in fact actually shipped; a second unit with the results of the experience from the first build is what was delivered to the U.S. military customer.

Currently, a unit that was built for delivery has just been shipped after a test suite was run.  Shipping for the container-sized unit would be almost a month and simply installing the unit will take a month as well.

That puts two 1 megawatt units out the door.

Understandably, with all the outside attention the customers have no intention of public acknowledgment of the deal, delivery or results. Quiet is the word – no one wants onlookers hanging around and the attention on a very technical and controversial device.

The next important point is safety.  This is new technology with all the enthusiasm comes novelty and inexperience.  The E-Cat gets hot, very hot, past the temperature of boiling water and there are 106 of them in a smallish box.  It’s not something the untrained need to be near.

These points also have thrown the brakes on consumer-sized units.  The certification and safety agencies that need to sign off on something like this require extensive testing before they will approve it to be made available to the general public.  It would seem the famed UL Laboratories attempt is on hold.  That makes sense, as the UL isn’t holding a protocol in the files for the testing.  Something has to be built up and the experience needed is sparse at best – missing as a practical matter – for any protocol at all.

Mr. Rossi is getting data and did say that these plants consume only 1 gram of Nickel for every 23 gigawatt-hours of heat they produce.

There is also a hotter running model called the “Hot-Cat”. The Hot-Cat runs at 350ºC and Mr. Rossi said it is “very stable.” At this temperature, he said that creating electricity will be easy, and that they are making progress on building one.  He also confirmed that the European based world wide operating firm Siemens is still working with his firm to generate electricity.

Hot-Cat Testing to Destruction.
Hot-Cat Testing to Destruction.

Related article: Nuclear Fusion – Possible at Last?

The Hot-Cat is garnering attention as well.  A test was run back in late March with over 120 hours of continuous no interruption running.  The test was run by four professors from different parts of the world, with Mr. Rossi absent, though he was available if they had any questions.  The professors used their instrumentation and they controlled the cabling.  The group hasn’t provided Mr. Rossi with the exact results but he said, “they were “smiling” and indicated that it was “very good””.

Meanwhile Mr. Rossi is staffing up.  The company has 2 specialists working on electronics for the control systems. They have made enormous progress in the last 7-8 months. They also work on any kind of thing connected with electricity.

There are 3 specialists working on thermal technical problems: thermal dynamics, upgrading the heat exchanger and upgrading the energy density.  Two specialists are working on design, external aesthetics as well as functionality and space utilization for energy density optimization.

There is a team that makes tests of plants, to run plants; to invent new things that improve efficiency.  Plus a manufacturing team and another team working on prototype design in the U.S. (for 1 MW plants).

Perhaps one item of interest to many working on the technology from other ideas is Mr. Rossi’s explanation of how the reactor starts.  He explained that each module has essentially two apparatuses inside: and activator and the reactor. He calls the resistive heater element the “mouse” and the reactor the “cat”. It takes a little tease from the mouse getting in front of the cat’s nose for the cat to go off running. He compares this to the little amount of energy required to get the reaction going, using outside electricity to bring the resistive heater up to a temperature that the reaction takes place. Of the two components, the reactor is only “the size of a whiskey bottle”.

For the future Mr. Rossi noted most of the R&D would stay in Italy, but that the rest of the operations are taking place in the U.S. (Florida).  At one point in the conversation he talked about the friendliness of Sweden to his company, due to their need for heat and their environmental consciousness. They are in process of developing manufacturing capability there as well.

For many the Rossi E-Cat story is about the news and promotion efforts.  That would be quite a story in its own right, but for most of us Mr. Rossi’s progress depends on the ability to attract enough attention to get the edge of the wedge into the market while building up a stronger technology and attracting the world’s best innovative minds to help.

We’re coming up on three years of watching Mr. Rossi.  Most any fraud would have fallen apart long ago.  What is actually here for the future is getting less cloudy and a bit clearer for our inspection.  If you want to gripe – take it to the patent offices – were these bureaucrats helping we’d have a very complete look.  Until that happens the game of information release will have to be played to keep the intellectual property secure while luring just enough customers to keep development on track.

However one feels about Mr. Rossi one must respect that he has come quite a long way and looks to be on track for further progress.  Your humble writer wishes him God’s Speed and good luck – as he surely needs them.

By. Brian Westenhaus

Original article: An Update on Andrea Rossi and the E-Cat




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  • PeterW on May 09 2013 said:
    He did not say " size of a whiskey bottle". In fact he said the active stuff has a volume of 45 ml, and then, for people unfamiliar with such measurements, said that it was about the size of a glass of whiskey.
    Please correct the text.
  • praos on May 09 2013 said:
    23 GWh (8.23e13J) out of 1g of Ni is close to mc2 (9e13 J) so it's probably error. Fusing of Ni and H into Cu gives something in this ballpark for each kg.
  • Rand on May 09 2013 said:
    You have to be kidding me. Rossi is a convicted felon, pulling off a very transparent 'cold fusion' scam. His devices include an internal electrical heater, and that is what generates the heat, not any magical nickel fusion reaction.

    He has already been caught out in so many lies, it boggles the mind that people can still believe him. There is no mythical partner or Ecat factory churning out devices, just Rossi sitting in his workshop posting on his blog.

    This is no different to the dozens of scammers before Rossi - Steorn, Perendev, Intelligentry. I can't believe the writer actually believes this.

    Rossi is so clearly dissembling in this lame interview, he couldn't fool my grandmother.
  • maryyugo on May 09 2013 said:
    @Brian

    For some bizarre reason, you seem to take Rossi's word as truth. In fact, Rossi's past history is that he was convicted of investor fraud in the Petroldragon affair, resulting in massive environmental pollution and damage. He was also arrested in Italy for illegal transactions in gold. In addition, he lied and cheated to the DOD and took over a million dollars for thermoelectric devices some of which never existed and others of which never worked. No working device was ever shown to the DOD.

    I don't completely agree with Rand that Rossi does nothing but sit in his condo in Florida and write on the internet. He has also managed to bamboozle and fool a few old scientists who should have known better. He performed misleading demonstrations and he got away with it because of the gross incompetence of the people witnessing the testing.

    Rossi has NEVER shown a properly calibrated and blanked test. He's been told that and has made nonsensical excuses about it on his silly blog which he pretentiously calls the "Journal of Nuclear Physics" (it's no such thing).

    It is absolutely amazing that this transparent scammer stil fools people into writing an article like this one. EVERY ASSERTION IN THE ARTICLE is simply something ROSSI SAID! There's not one proper proof that any of it is in any way true.

    Rossi has never named a single customer. There is no reason at all to believe he has any. Rossi has never conducted a proper test of the equipment even though it is straightforward and inexpensive to do so and would not endanger his intellectual property.

    What will you say, Brian, when Rossi has nothing more than words after two (or ten) more years? If you really believe Rossi, call him up and press him to let you talk to one of his customers. Ask him to get a proper test done by a credible agency. See what happens then.
  • CFE on May 09 2013 said:
    Mr. Rossi is a colorful character, and many may dismiss his claims based on that. Having met him personally, and seeing the advance of the broader field of cold fusion by many groups worldwide, I actually find it quite credible that someone in this field would indeed have discovered the "trick" to transform cold fusion from lab scale to commercially viable levels...
  • Roger Bird on May 09 2013 said:
    I was sort of hoping that LENR being proved true would come upon us suddenly, not slowly as it seems to be doing. I was hoping this so that patho-skeptics could be embarrassed and shown to be the social and philosophical retards that they are. But with a slow dawning of the age of LENR, the patho-skeptics will be able to change their tune slowly and perhaps avoid the embarrassment. (:->)
  • maryyugo on May 09 2013 said:
    So far, Roger, only the people you erroneously call "patho-skeptics" have been 100% right. NOBODY has demonstrated high power (hundreds of watts) for sustained periods (weeks) from LENR/cold fusion reactions. At least, it has not been done in a credible manner.

    You are typical of a small group of gullible people who believe what you want to believe when you see it from probable crooks like Rossi and Defkalion or from wishful thinkers like Miley, Swartz and McKubre.

    It would be wonderful if LENR worked. But given that it's a nuclear process which could, if it were real, generate thousands of times the energy density of dynamite, where are the VERIFIABLE and BELIEVABLE experiments which show all that energy?

    If all you have to show are the nonsense experiment Nelson reported from Defkalion and the constant stream of disingenuous and obvious lies from Rossi, you aren't helping your case!
  • Toussaint françois on May 09 2013 said:
    MARYYUGO is polluting this blog with pathological

    skepticism and many other blogs , MARYYUGO has been kick

    off by Vortex-I.

    I wonder where he gets his paycheck , EXXON ,CIA , NRO ??
  • atanguy on May 10 2013 said:
    It's true that, so far, there are no third party to verify what says Rossi. But there is no question that LENR, or Cold fusion phenomena exists and that there is nuclear reaction and transmutations at low temperature. Fleischmann and Pons were right 24 years ago and it is a shame that the scientific establishment still doesn't recognize it!
    See SPAWAR the US NAVY research center: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VymhJCcNBBc

    AND READ this OFFICIAL PATENT:
    http://www.freepatentsonline.com/8419919.pdf
  • Alan DeAngelis on May 10 2013 said:
    Professor emeritus of physics from the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign George Miley, the first man with DoE Q-clearance who was to investigate Fleischmann and Pons’ announcement in March of 1989 is a wishful thinker?
  • maryyugo on May 11 2013 said:
    "George Miley, the first man with DoE Q-clearance who was to investigate Fleischmann and Pons’ announcement in March of 1989 is a wishful thinker?"

    Yes. I am being generous because I don't think he's a scammer. He recently reported that in his lab, an LENR reaction produced several hundred watts of power sustainable indefinitely. He then showed data which amounted to less than 8 watts for a few minutes, in support of the claim. That's within measurement errors. He then told Krivit something about one of his staff making an error. He has never show the hundreds of watts although he keeps projecting that his team will make batteries to replace radioactive power generators in spacecraft. That's purely wishful thinking IMO. If he has LENR batteries, let's see them.
  • John Cook on May 12 2013 said:
    You guys that try to "debunk" LENR are disgusting.It IS REAL, it's been replicated by may people all over the planet. Nobody appears to fully understand what is happening but the. FACT that it is is incontrovertable. For twenty years it's been clearly true that energy, in large quantities can be extracted from non-radioactive matter at desk top temperatures. It is a Fact.
    How moronic can you be to mistake the inability of SOME other researchers to duplicate the effect (when nobody claimed to fully understand what was happening) for proof that there is no reality to it? This is just STUPID. it HAPPENED. And many people have reproduced the effect. And the energy released is huge. It was a massive shame on the " scientific Comunity" the way they treated Pons and Fleischman.
  • John Cook on May 12 2013 said:
    Bullshit.
    There is heaps of evidence that the physics. Is real.
  • Jordi Heguilor on May 12 2013 said:
    It is somewhat paradoxical that the "believers", who choose to swallow everything Rossi says despite having no proof, feel that they are smarter than the "skeptics", who are just asking for independently verified proof.
  • Rockyspoon on May 13 2013 said:
    Thank you, maryyugo, for warning those of us who have been asked to invest in Rossi's scam!

    But wait--I haven't been asked to invest; in fact, any requests to invest have been declined by Rossi.

    Now THERE's a scam for ya--somebody you describe as a "criminal" but making nary a cent on the people he's supposed to be criminalizing.

    In the meantime, you keep us posted on these types of "criminals", maryyugo.

    You go, girl!
  • maryyugo on May 13 2013 said:
    Hey Rocky, Rossi has to have investors to make all his cats and tigers, to travel from continent to continent and to pay the rent on his Florida condo. And that doesn't even consider the cost of a robotic factory which can make a million ecats a year. Remember that claim? Where do you think he gets the money? From selling all those nickel-62 isotopes he makes for himself on the cheap (LOL!)? From selling megawatt power plants that can never be visited to himself or anonymous mystery "customers"?

    Just because he doesn't bother with small fry like you doesn't mean he hasn't fleeced some gullible fat cats. When will the investors complain? Sometimes it takes a long time.

    Just look at Steorn, the Irish "company". Amazing claims but no product ever sold in six years, their own "jury" said they had nothing, and their magnet motor, shown a couple of years ago to the public, needed a big battery and could barely keep itself moving even with that. And no complaints yet, 20 million Euros later. Whether Steorn investors ever complain or not may depend on the agreements they signed. If those are worded to provide only for "best efforts", suing Rossi may be difficult and take a lot of time.

    Rossi and Defkalion behave exactly like Steorn and like all the other investor scams before them. But it may be a lot more time before we find out what they really are. That they are legitimate companies is unlikely. They both lie consistently and constantly and way too much to be legitimate. They even call each other liars (exactly like the Rohner brothers)!

    And John Cook, whether or not cold fusion/LENR is real has nothing to do with whether or not Rossi and Defkalion's exorbitant claims to huge power levels are real. Nobody else makes the same claims. And neither Rossi nor Defkalion has ever properly demonstrated that their claims are valid.
  • Marc on May 23 2013 said:
    Its May 23rd, after the "independent report". Rand, MaryYugo, and Roger should reflect on the above comments that spits in the eye of hopeful people like myself. Rossi could be perpetrating a scam, but if you guys are so genuine in your disgust why not one iota of rage about the hundreds of $billions given to scientists promising to deliver hot fusion. Until there is some balance you guys need to cut LENR researchers some slack. Given the numbers, the potential far out way the risks. You won't even give him the rope to hang himself. Come on.
  • Not maryyugo on May 26 2013 said:
    WE PETITION THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION TO:
    Form a National Commission to research LENR energy production from devices such as Andrea Rossi’s ECAT.

    For the last 57 years we have spent an average $393 million a year on hot fusion research for a total of over $22 billion dollars and have yet to develop anything useful for the average citizen.

    In contrast in the 24 years since the announcement of the discovery of Low Energy Reactions by Stanley Pons and Martin Fleischmann we have spent far less than 1% of the total spent on hot fusion even with very promising results shown by our own SPAWAR Naval research lab.

    Current evidence points to a real effect that could provide all the energy we need. Many prestigious research labs have shown research evidence that LENR reactions are real even with the shoestring budgets put forth to study the field.

    It is time for the United States to put serious effort and research into the field of LENR.

    Sign the petition if you agree: http://wh.gov/SyJC
  • David on June 16 2013 said:
    I'm very relieved to see that at least maryyugo and some other rational thinkers can see through Andrea Rossi. One does not have to be prejudiced agains LENR to see with astounding clarity that this devious man is at best an empty vessel, and at worst a shameless scam artist. His entire "success" in this field is rooted only in his own words. Consequently, almost every argument offered in his favour has to rely on things he has claimed without providing any proof - never on simple facts that are independent of his slippery tongue. Goodness, some of you are gullible! Mark my words, there will never be a real cold-fusion machine emanating from the supposed workshops of Andrea Rossi. All the experience I've had bringing real inventions to market convinces me that Rossi has nothing. Oh, sure there is an excess of heat being generated, but it's only hot air.
  • Mario on September 27 2013 said:
    I am italian and I am ashamed of Andrea Rossi never-ending story of lies.
    Apparently he is spending most of his time on the internet creating article here and there to self-support his fantasy. Also his blog is a misuse of the title.

    ANDREA ROSSI HAS BEEN AND STILL IS A GREAT SCAM ARTIST!

    PEOPLE WAKE UP!
  • Average Joe on November 05 2013 said:
    Um, you can have your proof at http://arxiv.org/abs/1305.3913, the Cornell University repository containing the peer-reviewed article to indicate the results are beyond normal convention. To argue that the science is a fraud because the man that is most vocal about the technology was in the past convicted of fraud, is not a valid argument when so many other scientific groups around the world have reported independent results indicating that somthing is happening beyond our comprehension, but excess heat is indeed being generated. I would love for every naysayer to sit upon a LENR device and argue that the science is a fraud because Andrea Rossi is a fraud, as their bottoms receive 1st degree burns. Is that what it would take to acknowledge that the science is real and humankind should put forth an effort better understand the science so that further breakthroughs may happen. Or do we love the world of scarcity that leads to war, too much?
  • Nogo Joe on July 04 2014 said:
    "I would love for every naysayer to sit upon a LENR device and argue that the science is a fraud because Andrea Rossi is a fraud, as their bottoms receive 1st degree burns."

    There is not debate that heat is being generated but you are a fool thinking this means LENR is real. That article is by no means a peer reviewed experiment confirming LENR because there are unknowns in the experiment. That's the problem with Rossi. He is claiming material be unknown because it is a trade secret. Guess what. IF this worked and he sold it, someone would actually get the material and analyze it and it would not be a trade secret. It's a scam. It was a staged test that didn't confirm what you think it did. You need to take a hard look at what is going on and not stand blindly by Rossi.
  • FredZ on April 08 2015 said:
    Today is April 8, 2015 (almost 2 years after this article). Could we have another update, please? I would love to know how those two 1-MW units "that went out the door" are doing. FYI, both the USPTO and the EU Patent Office have rejected Rossi's patent applications. Is the end of this long-lived scam at hand?? What an enormous black eye for the entire LENR community.

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