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Resource depletion, climate change and rising oil prices have led to large investments in renewable energy and new fossil fuel extraction techniques. However despite the positive headlines on solar, wind, and shale, all of these sectors are beset with problems that add to our uncertain energy future. We appear to be decades away from finding a renewable source that will help us avoid the impending energy crisis.
Yet amongst this bleak outlook a relatively unknown Italian inventor could be about to spark an energy revolution?
Andrea Rossi appears to have produced the first working “cold” fusion device, or low energy nuclear reaction (LENR), with his Energy Catalyser (E-Cat) machine; a technology previously declared impossible by the scientific community.
The E-Cat machine could provide almost limitless, clean, cheap energy and could prove to be one of the greatest inventions of all time. Rossi could become one of the most revolutionary scientists since Darwin.
Notoriously reluctant to speak to the media about his work, we have had the honour of interviewing Mr. Andrea Rossi about his E-Cat machine.
Some of the questions we asked Mr. Rossi take a look at:
• Why it took so long for him to go public with his discovery.
• How the E-Cat will produce energy costing $10/megawatt hour.
• When he will release more detailed information on the E-Cat.
• Why he believes international media coverage of the E-Cat has been so muted.
• His feelings towards critics and the scientific community.
• His manufacturing and distribution goals.
• How the E-cat will help reduce mankind’s dependency on fossil fuels.
• + Many more details on the e-cat, LENR and Rossi himself.
Oilprice.com: What exactly is the E-Cat and how does it work?
Andrea Rossi: The E-Cat machine is basically a heater. It uses a secret catalyser to fuse hydrogen and nickel together to form copper. Copper has a lower energy state than Nickel, and 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 whole process is incredibly efficient and can heat any fluid that passes through the machine.
Oilprice.com: Your E-Cat defies popular physics. Did you always expect the fierce resistance and criticism that you are facing?
Andrea Rossi: Yes, I always expected some form of resistance from people who are unwilling to accept change, but that is the case in all areas of life, not just in physics.
Oilprice.com: This could be the biggest news story of our lifetimes - yet the media coverage on this has been muted to say the least. Why do you think this is?
Andrea Rossi: A normal resistance against revolutions
Oilprice.com: Would you be able to tell us about the early days just before the E-Cat and what you were working on?
Andrea Rossi: I was working on energy plants powered by biomasses. Mainly waste biomasses, which didn’t compete with food.
Oilprice.com: Darwin fretted for a long time about whether or not he should tell the world about his Theory of Evolution, He knew that it would turn science on its head and therefore many would not believe him. Your E-Cat machine is similar. Many scientists don’t want to believe it because it defies their original beliefs. Did you ever question yourself when you first made the discovery? Did you refuse to believe at first?
Andrea Rossi: Yes, of course I questioned my discovery. It was hard to believe that I had finally produced a working example of LENR. I paid Sergio Focardi, the physicist and emeritus professor at the University of Bologna, to try and convince me that I was wrong, and relieve me of my obsession with LENR. In the end I ended up convincing him, and he decided to work with me in developing the
Oilprice.com: Could you tell us a little more about your discussions with Sergio Focardi?
Andrea Rossi: There weren’t really any discussions. Like myself, Focardi is a man of few words. I just told him I would pay €10,000 to teach me why my technology was wrong which he accepted. But he didn’t earn the €10,000 because he has not been able to do so. This then led to him becoming my partner.
Oilprice.com: You spoke with Focardi in 2007 - why did it take you so long to go public with your discovery? Were you working on prototypes for 4 years?
Andrea Rossi: Before going public I wanted to be sure of what I had. I only fight if I am sure to win.
Oilprice.com: LENR has been marketed as a cheap source of clean energy; but no young technology is cheap. Can you give us an indication of the price per megawatt hour of the electricity produced by your LENR machine?
Roughly speaking ($/megawatt hour):
Wind: (onshore) 97, (offshore) 243
Solar: 210 – 310
Andrea Rossi: I will only be able to officially answer this question once the E-Cat starts to generate electricity, at the moment we are concentrating on its heat production. We are currently working with Siemens to create a system to turn the E-Cats heat energy into electricity. Estimates have been made that the combined energy (both thermal and electric) will cost about $10/megawatt hour.
Oilprice.com: Complete transition to nuclear fusion would likely take decades to accomplish. High costs for fossil fuels would be a major incentive, but simply re-provisioning 7 or 8 billion people would be a major job. Once you have the patents in place what are your goals for manufacturing and distribution?
Andrea Rossi: Rome wasn’t built in a day. I try to follow the same philosophy, and show the same patience. The development will progress exponentially along the way to levels that we can’t imagine
today, but right now we focusing on building out a production line capable of producing 1 million E-Cats per year.
Oilprice.com: Do you think your past conviction in relation to Petroldragon, has hindered the acceptance of your E-Cat machine? Even though you were acquitted of all charges, do you think people are still expecting you to be discovered as a fraud?
Andrea Rossi: I have not actually had time to think about this. For me it is irrelevant, all that counts is my work, and that is what I will be judged upon.
Oilprice.com: With so many scientists writing off LENR as impossible, what made you continue to study it? Why did you think they were wrong?
Andrea Rossi: I don’t listen to anyone who tells me that I should stop. I have no time.
Oilprice.com: As of yet you have not let anyone study the intricate mechanisms inside of your machine stating the fact that the patents have still not been approved. This lack of transparency
has resulted in a great deal of criticism. Once you have received the patent will you reveal more detailed information on the E-Cat?
Andrea Rossi: Yes
Oilprice.com: You have stated in a previous interview that in the past two years your ideas as to what happens inside the E-Cat have changed a lot. You said that there is some form of fusion reaction, but it might not be the main energy source. Can you explain to us exactly what is going on inside your E-Cat machine? And where the excess energy is coming from?
Andrea Rossi: No, sorry I can’t. This issue is still confidential at the moment and I cannot add anything to what I have previously said, or to what you have correctly cited.
Oilprice.com: It almost seems as if you’re downplaying the role that LENR could play in providing cheap abundant energy for the world, by only developing relatively small units. Do you not believe that your LENR machine could truly solve a lot of the world’s energy problems? Do you plan to build much larger units of 10s-100s of megawatts, or is that not possible?
Andrea Rossi: We are already developing 1 MW plants, and it will be easy to link these plants together to make larger power plants. Due to the compact scale, and efficient energy production process, an E-Cat power plant will be much smaller than its fossil fuel or nuclear equivalent.
Oilprice.com: You mentioned linking 1MW plants together to make larger power plants. How would this work? What would the cost be?
Andrea Rossi: The 1MW units can be assembled at a reduced size of 10ft x 8ft x 8ft, and can then be stacked in series or parallel to produce the necessary power. It will cost 1,000 $/KW.
Oilprice.com: The problem with many clean energy technologies is that they use rare earth metals that are incredibly expensive. Does the E-Cat machine use any rare compounds that could dramatically influence the price of the machine in the future?
Andrea Rossi: I’m sorry but before the patent has been approved I cannot give any information about our catalysers.
Oilprice.com: Where did you receive the initial financing from to test and develop the E-Cat?
Andrea Rossi: I financed the development myself.
Oilprice.com: How are your current developments being funded?
Andrea Rossi: I am continuing to fund developments with my own money
Oilprice.com: Are you currently looking for investors?
Andrea Rossi: Only institutional investors.
Oilprice.com: Do you believe the E-cat is the answer to the impending energy crisis?
Andrea Rossi: Yes, I believe it will help.
Andrea Rossi: We are still very far away from powering transportation. It will be more than 20 years before we are ready to power transportation, but with the help of God nothing is impossible to working men.
Oilprice.com: What is your goal with the E-Cat machine? Are you hoping to change the world with a new, almost limitless energy source, or is your primary motivation financial?
Andrea Rossi: My goal is to develop a new source of very cheap, clean energy; it is the meaning of my life.
Oilprice.com: Have there been any recent developments you are able to share with us?
Andrea Rossi: We are very close to completing a 1MW plant in the US which will soon be opened to the public.
Oilprice.com: How many 1 MW plants have you currently made and sold?
Andrea Rossi: One 1 MW plant has been made and 13 are under construction. We would like to consolidate the first 14 before expanding. The oak must grow proportionally to the roots, otherwise hostile winds will sweep everything away.
Oilprice.com: How much would an E-Cat device cost?
Andrea Rossi: The domestic 10KW unit will cost around $900, the 1MW plant $1.5m. Both are totally different technologies.
Oilprice.com: Where will they be sold? Do they require specialist dealers to install them or could you literally pick one of the shelf, take it home, and plug it in?
Andrea Rossi: About a month ago I said that the E-Cats will probably be delivered within 18 months, and that they will hopefully be on sale from some point next winter. The installation of the E-Cat is very easy. Any normal plumber or contractor can be trained in how to install one into a home.
Oilprice.com: How many E-Cat units have you sold to date? Are you able to tell us more as to who your clients are?
Andrea Rossi: When we are in a position to disclose the names of our customers we will do so. That time is not yet upon us. Could you imagine what would happen to our customers if we would give their names to the public now?
Oilprice.com: If you are talking about the home unit to be primarily used for heating would it not be more efficient to use the E-Cat as a replacement for a conventional boiler and have it heat the water directly, rather than produce electricity to run an element to heat the water?
Andrea Rossi: Our current policy is to apply the E-Cat to an existing heater. It will be used to provide the central heating for a house, however a traditional boiler will still be needed to heat the water, this is due to the fact that the E-Cat needs time to warm-up and cannot therefore respond quickly enough to heat water on demand like a boiler can.
Oilprice.com: Nickel powders are toxic, and the heats generated within the reactor are high enough to cause serious damage. How robust will the home E-Cat system be?
Andrea Rossi: The nickel powders are completely inaccessible. Safety has been an absolute priority and the issues are currently under certification.
Oilprice.com: You talk of the fuel sources of hydrogen and nickel, but what about the catalyst? Will that need to be replaced at times?
Andrea Rossi: The refill cartridge will contain all the nickel (or copper, depending on whether it is the new or used cartridge) and catalyser together. Both will be replaced together.
Oilprice.com: Given that it takes time to power up an E-Cat as well as to power it down, do you think that a lot of people may keep their E-cats running on full power all the time, even when they don’t need the energy?
Andrea Rossi: No, because the E-Cat can be regulated.
Oilprice.com: How long does it take to ramp up or ramp down the amount of power generated?
Andrea Rossi: Circa 1 hour
Oilprice.com: To what extent is it possible to raise or lower the amount of power that the E-Cat is putting out during its operation?
Andrea Rossi: 100%
Oilprice.com: Once an E-Cat is installed and running, will it just run for 30 years producing a steady energy output, or will it need to be carefully regulated?
Andrea Rossi: The E-Cat should run smoothly, but will need a service after every 180 days of usage, when the fuel will need to be replaced.
Oilprice.com: Over the 30 year life span of the E-Cat, taking into account the purchase cost, running costs, maintenance costs, etc. How much should the E-Cat save a homeowner?
Andrea Rossi: Obviously there are many factors that will influence the answer to this question. The payback period could span from anywhere between a few months to three years, but after that the
customer should save at least 66% of his normal energy bill.
Oilprice.com: What position do you see your E-Cat machine taking in the future? Will each house have its own one, or will electrical grids be connected to giant E-Cat power plants?
Andrea Rossi: Maybe, but I prefer to only discuss things that I am sure of. If I say something I must be certain that I will do it because there will be no mercy for me, as you have already seen; and as has always been the case throughout my, not so easy, life.
Oilprice.com: Where do you see yourself and your company in one / three / five years from now?
Andrea Rossi: God only knows. We are working hard to develop exponentially the diffusion of this technology.
Oilprice.com: What do you make of the Praxen Defkalion Green Technologies Global Ltd.’s new LENR machine “Hyperion”? Does it offer serious competition to your E-Cat? Do you feel betrayed by
your ex-business partners?
Andrea Rossi: No Comment.
Oilprice.com: You mention the e-cat will work alongside fossil fuels. Do you think at some point in the future it will help reduce mankind’s dependency on fossil fuels.
Andrea Rossi: Yes
Oilprice.com: How can someone interested in purchasing one of your E-Cat machines go about doing that? Can they contact someone to place an order?
Andrea Rossi: Just send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org
We would like to thank Mr. Rossi for taking the time to speak with us and wish him good luck with further developments of the E-Cat.
Interviewer: James Burgess News Editor, Oilprice.com
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James Burgess studied Business Management at the University of Nottingham. He has worked in property development, chartered surveying, marketing, law, and accounts. He has also…