I have extreme doubts but I sincerely hope Andrea Rossi proves us all wrong with his device.  With his “energy catalyzer” (called E-Catalyzer or E-Cat) Rossi claims an energy multiplier of 30X.  I would guess if something is happening it’s a chemical reaction, though this does not jive with the incredible energy it creates.  Physicists claim it’s has to be some kind of micro-nuclear reaction with that kind of energy multiplier.

An Italia short documentary on Rossi and his device.

Now one important point if it’s fusion or not and he’s added no high cost gimmicks, it does not really matter if it’s cold fusion.  If the device can produce a 30x energy multiplier cleanly and cheaply it is indeed a game changer on every conceivable level.   The best part is Rossi says they are building a commercial size application of his device in October at Greece so we should know it’s viability as a clean and cheap energy source very soon.   If the production of these commercial devices are delayed for unexplained reasons or found to be a hoax at least we will not have to wait for years or decades to decide that this device was not viable.

Off the top of my head the only way there could be some fusion going on is through some induced nuclear crowding but even that is hard for me to visualize because in some way naked proton ions from Hydrogen would need to get through the electron clouds of all chemicals in the vessel.   The only way it could be fusion is if the catalysts he uses somehow aligns the Hydrogen nuclei extremely and I mean extremely close to each other on the order of a pictometer (trillionth of a meter) since the Bohr diameter of a proton is 53.9 pictometers.  Hot fusion requires about 45 million ºC to create energy plasma which is a free flowing sea of electron and proton ions.  It’s actually considered a different state of matter.  Hot fusion also requires “heavy water”, Deuterium-Tritium rich water where Deuterium and Tritium has 1 and 2 neutrons added to the Hydrogen’s proton, respectively.   You may be able to visualize how cold nuclear fission would be difficult considering at ambient temperatures atoms and molecules have electron clouds around them so accomplishing a psuedo plasma state which would required for cold fusion would be extremely unlikely.  Even ionized Hydrogen (one positively charged proton) does not exist as a free proton in water it actually exists as a Hydronium ion (H<sub>3</sub>O<sup>+</sup>) It’s too bad even if you did have nuclear fussion that the resulting amounts of Helium would be too small to measure to validate the fusion reaction.


My best guess (if the device is validated), what may be happening could be something as simple as leveraging chemical electrolysis to turn water into free Hydrogen and Oxygen, catalyzed by the Nickel.  Then the reaction between Hydrogen and Oxygen which is highly exothermic would create the heat turning the remaining water to steam.  Rossi already uses Hydrogen as a catalyst so this is not far off.  So it could be not a nuclear reaction at all but some kind of super catalytic reaction.

Here is a video of Rossi showing how the device works.

Rossi crunches the numbers on the efficiency of his device.

There are some big questions about this character Rossi who is not a scientist by training but a philosopher even though he has worked with energy technology much of his life.  Rossi has a very checkered past indeed.   Rossi in his past energy ventures has been widely condemned for creating what we would refer to as EPA super fund sites for leaving untreated toxic waste in leaky vessels in Italy.  Rossi is certainly a character and characters like him have proven the scientific community wrong many times in the past.

There is more nuttiness involved because an energy conspiracy website that was formed in 2007 called freeenergytruth.com who claims for 100 years clean energy sources have been withheld from the public, supports the Rossi device and tacitly claims evil big energy interests with the US and other governments are try to squelch the technology.  The only reason I post a video they made about Rossi’s device is because it does give a succinct account of what Rossi claims the device can do (actually they describe the possible gains better than he does and their website has allot of good info on alternated energy technologies too despite their questionable claims).

For entertainment purposes only.  Some of Free Energy Truth’s conspiracy theories.

Whether this device works or not is not all we should take from Rossi’s efforts. Today there are thousands of scientists around the world that are working on new energy technologies. So if this device does not work it just becomes part of the prior art so scientists know what not to try again. That’s the way science works thousands and thousands of experiments, sometimes more to get one to work.  That’s why when I use to work in R&D we jokingly called it “Remorse and Disappointment”.  However the point is we need to fund these technologies so scientists can do as many experiments as possible because whether it’s one in thousands or one in millions of experiments, game changing technology does happen and the more experiments that scientists can perform the higher likelihood of success.

 

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bito
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Interesting post KQ, and you and Daedalus leave me in the dust on this topic. Thanks for doing such a good explanation that even this liberal arts schoolie can grasp. Too good to be true? Was Greece scammed like the were by the bond traders? I guess sometime in October we will find out.

“Remorse and Disappointment” 🙂

BlueStateMan
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Shades of the “Pons-Fleischmann” scam in 1989?

http://partners.nytimes.com/library/national/science/050399sci-cold-fusion.html

If THIS works, it could change everything…. which is why it will be in litigation for about a century.

ADONAI
Member

I have to agree BSM. If this works, you’ll never see it again.

ADONAI
Member

I think the biggest point you made is that it doesn’t matter what forces are driving the device. If it produces that kind of energy output the implications are incredible.

I don’t know a ton about cold fusion. Only that it’s been claimed off and on for a long time and the results are never duplicated independently.

I don’t think we have the technology right now to produce and support fusion power on a commercial scale. Cold or otherwise. But, as you say, we shouldn’t stop trying. Whether it succeeds or fails it will contribute data and that is important as well. Fusion energy is the holy grail I guess. Enormous amounts of energy produced for long periods of time for very little cost. It would be amazing.

Daedalus
Member
Daedalus

I gotta say, K, I’m probably more skeptical than you (probably because I’m older). With a BS in astronomy (particularly emphasis on stellar astronomy) and an MS in physics (several offers to be a PhD student under two different prof’s),a stint in the research unit at an AEC installation and, finally, a secondary level teaching career in the physical sciences, it’s hard for me to wrap my head around such a spectacular failure of the laws of thermodynamics. It’s even more difficult to believe that the fusion of atomic nuclei can be attained without the energy needed to strip outer electron shields in order to allow those nuclei to react. Can there be that much energy stored in a catalyst? This is highly unlikely.

Yep, we’re trained to recognize that every so often (Kepler, Einstein, Josephson, etc.) a completely new perspective emerges. Still, it will take a lot of hard, peer-reviewed data to convince me.