Open Source the E-Cat?

As news of E-Cat technology comes to the attention of more people, a common response from people who believe in its legitimacy, and its potential to change the world, is to ask why Andrea Rossi does not go ahead and release his secret to the world so that people can develop it without any restriction. The argument is that that this would be the fastest way to propagate this technology and bring its benefit to the maximum amount of people possible.

We’ve seen the open source model work very successfully in the software world — think of Linux, Wikipedia, and Mozilla Firefox, for example. These resources are free for anyone to use, and thousands of people volunteer their time and resources to help improve these products without any expectation of monetary reward.

There are also examples of open source projects outside the purely digital environment. To me, two of the most interesting ones involve 3D printing:  Reprap and Makerbot . The designs for each of these printers are freely available online — anyone who wants to  can use them  build a 3D printer for use at home. There are active support communities to help people in the building and development of them. Over time, through cooperative effort new and improved models have been developed.

With successful examples like these and others, it is hardly surprising that people are hoping and suggesting that we try the same kind of approach with a technology as promising as the E-Cat. Andrea Rossi has been asked a number of times about the possibility of open sourcing his invention, but he seems to show no interest in the idea.

A few months ago, Rossi responded to this suggestion in this way:

“As for the development of the technology: the maximum development can be reached with the maximum investments. Nobody could invest significantly in a technology without having exclusive rights on it. When a thing is own by everybody nobody gives value to it. The story of communism has teached this to us. We and our licensee will put all our force to develope this tech.”

And yesterday he echoed this sentiment when he responded to a similar idea expressed by a reader of the JONP saying, “Nobody would invest anything in a non proprietary technology.”

I think there is logic to his thinking. In order for the E-Cat to achieve rapid proliferation, huge amounts of capital will need to be put to work to build, develop, market and service this technology. A company having the capability to invest resources at the scale needed to move this technology forward rapidly would likely not want to proceed if it saw that the intellectual property was available to all its competitors. Rossi’s argument is that exclusivity will be an incentive for licensees to invest heavily.

On the other hand, if the secrets of the E-Cat were in the public domain, it would allow anyone with skills and means to build E-Cats on a cottage industry level. You could have small manufacturers around the world making E-Cats, and if there was a collaborative online community involved, as there is with other open source projects, improvements and new designs could be shared rapidly leading to a flowering of the movement from the bottom up. It’s an interesting prospect to consider.

We have two different philosophies here then — Rossi’s old-style industrialization model vs. the new open source one. Since Rossi holds the secrets, we’re likely to see the former model prevail, at least in the near term.

  • Here is a note I sent to Rossi months ago on this topic:
    “The key point here is that breakthrough clean energy technologies will change the very nature of our economic system. They will shift the balance between four different interwoven economies we have always had (subsistence, gift, planned, and exchange). Inventors who have struggled so hard in a system currently dominated by exchange may have to think about the socioecenomic implications of their invention in causing a permanent economic phase change. A clean energy breakthrough will probably create a different balance of those four economies like toward greater local subsistence and more gift giving (as James P. Hogan talks about in Voyage From Yesteryear). So, to focus on making money in the old socioeconomic paradigm (like by focusing on restrictive patents) may be very ironic, compared to freely sharing a great gift with the world that may change the overall dynamics of our economy to the point where money does not matter very much anymore. …”

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  • Aussie Guy

    Guys all you need is already in the public domain. In 1998 Focardi published a paper showing 289 days of excess heat production from a Ni-H reaction. This is pre Rossi. It should be simple to duplicate Focardi 6/3a86f663d804b2877e9dcb0e1f003e699da87b26_m.gif’s cell and learn all the secrets of Ni-H LENR reactions:

    1994 peer reviewed:


    2010 with Rossi:

    How much more do you need to duplicate these experiments and move forward to understanding how the reaction works. If you don’t do it, well I can assure others will.

    • Aussie Guy

      I do intent to duplicate Focardi’s 1998 experimental results. It should not be that difficult or expensive or dangerous.

      Please note that in the 1994 and 1998 papers there are no secret ingredients. Just a solid Ni rod which produced a solid LENR excess heat result for 289 days. Just maybe Rossi’s secret ingredients are just a ploy to lead us away from the 1998 results and to not to seek to duplicate them.

      OK the Ni does probably need to be power as fine as you can get it to maximize the surface area but I will start with a non processed Ni rod.

      I will also test a Ni rod heated to 500 deg C in a hard vacuum and then move onto using Ni powder.

  • Loop

    Few things I have in mind.

    The current price is extreme, I’m shocked to hear that Rossi is asking for 200000 dollars per 1KV or KW I hope its a mistake same as hi mistaken the KG with grams.
    I will try to hear it one more time on the youtube video did I heard it right, is that Mw, Mv or Kw or Kv.

    We all know that this device is 1mw, but he didn’t said that 200000$ is the price for the complete device including his price. I he meant kw than his device is worth 200.000.000$ which is absurd.

    Second thing is that he could present his case to EU parliament, asking the benefit for him, his family and all of the offspring coming from his blood, something like free life on any soil on the EU continent, in exchange for making his project free to EU.

    Third thing is calling this system closed system, its not yet closed system because the electric flow from the commercial grid was present through each second off the test, they said its something about the steady flow of stabilized energy, I cant think why they didn’t included some stabilized inverters which could use as feed for the energy, there are generators in the system. Why would you connect to commercial grid?

    When you start the system, you could switch to internal energy.

    The question is, maybe he have some deal with energy lobby to make system half-opened, like make the system that still use the energy from the commercial grid.

    Also its very strange why he is using the tin aluminium foil, because its not strong to prevent the heat escaping, neither its strong enough to prevent some external particles or some rf or EM emission.

    Maybe he is trying to hide some rf which is flowing through the water and which is very low in signal strength and the tin aluminium foil is strong enough to hide it footprint if some of the public is recording the freq. in the building.

    Next thing that bothers me is why he used so long pipes, and why he decided to place components on such strange places inside the building, I think he said something like we made it like that because we had big space in the building.

    There is a chance that he made such disordered system in order to present it better to the public.

    I hope for the humanity that his system is 100% and that he will find the inner humanity inside of him in order to make this place on Earth a better place for living.
    I don’t like the greedy people I hope that he is a good human being without the greed.

    • Brian

      He said it was in the area of $2,000 per Kw. That is in the price range of a diesel generator.

  • Pontus

    We have never seen communism in the world but systems like the Soviet Union has used the name for an elite few owning the product of a nation. People are happy to to develop something they need and receive service from in an open source model but unfortunately greed is stronger. Unfortunately there is a big investment in existing energy sources that is protected by big interests who care only about their importance and power to control the world. Many scams have been presented to discourage belief in any real breakthrough like E-cat. If the powers that be can not own it they will destroy it. Hopefully E-cat technology will prevail by proving superior to existing technology and be more conducive to a decentralized energy economy thus diversify power production so it can truly serve the needs of many and not just the few.

    • Milton Lehman

      No doubt the open source and pro-socialism folks are writing their comments on a computer developed by a capitalist. Remember friends, Steve Jobs was a CAPITALIST, and without any government bailouts brought us incredible technology. Rossi can do the same, if the technology stands up to further scrutiny, as long as he is allowed to pursue his dreams as a CAPITALIST! Socialism only gives you Greece…..

      • Wes

        It is unfortunate that the CAPITALIST has 80 billion worth of product made in CHINA every year. China, may recall is not in the US. Only capitalism gives you a system which cares NOTHING for the PEOPLE it EXPLOITS, nor for the defense of their country or economy. Granted, it has its place as an engine of production managed in a socially-valid framework.

  • Coal plants and nuclear plants and oil plants and wind farms and every other kind of power generation do NOT require patent-protected proprietary technology to get investors to fund their construction, so that argument is specious.

    Mr. Rossi is certainly entitled to earn something from the fruit of his efforts but his desire for secrecy does not give confidence that he and his powerplant are genuine. Instead he appears to be a scammer, that is the appearance he presents. If it’s true his project will just fade away without doing any good to anyone. If it’s false and he’s no scammer after all but just another greedy capitalist trying to squeeze every dime he can out of people, we all have to wait until his patents expire before they can begin to benefit much of anybody except Mr. Rossi. Either way it’s a sad commentary on today’s state of social responsibility, don’t you think?

    • Brian

      “Coal plants and nuclear plants and oil plants and wind farms and every other kind of power generation do NOT require patent-protected proprietary technology to get investors to fund their construction, so that argument is specious.”

      That is complete and total hogwash. Every one of them have proprietary designs, and large installations are custom designed.

  • Luke Macmichael

    If this really works I would open source it as quickly as possible before the powers that be decide they’d rather not let there billions of dollars of investment in Oil and the current energy infrastructure go to waste. I’m sure they would be happy to spend hundreds of millions of dollars just to make inventions like these (and heaven forbid the people that create them) disapear.

    The only safety for something this big is to get it out into the masses as quickly as possible before the bad guys can take full control of it.

    Don’t worry about the money Rossi! If this works as you you say you would be hailed as the savior of the world and make billions just in the fame alone. You could sell your book “How I saved the world!” and make hundreds of millions on movie rights and consulting or speaking fees.

    I am praying hard that the e-cat isn’t a hoax but I tend to agree with the skeptics that if this erally works you could have just gotten it out there by now and had it verified by independant third parties.

    A patent on something like this would never work anyway. You can’t patent “Fire” or a “Wheel” and this falls into the same category as somthing that will completely change the world.

  • Matt

    As soon as China finds out what the design is, they’re *going* to copy it, I absolutely guarantee it. Patent or not, they’ll copy it, build it, sell it in their borders, & sell it to other countries that don’t respect patent rights.

  • erexx

    He can do both with no negatives.
    He can release the “secret” for everyone while also allowing commercial ventures to profit.
    The world cannot wait for what this promises.
    If the discovery is true then holding it back makes him a sociopath, not an intellect.
    The real reason why he does not release it?
    Its fake.
    Nothing real will come of this.

    • Rob

      I dont understand because Rossi selled plant to an hidden client.
      Many people is waiting his outing and he deceive them to take a few of money?

      When he make next plant? In October 2012?
      He has failed this important expiry date.

  • 0mega

    A few FACTS for everyone.

    Nothing Rossi has shown so far has been independently proven.

    He SAYS he invested his own money.
    He SAYS his experiments were successful.
    He SAYS the 1mw plant has been sold to a ‘mystery’ buyer.

    No university or reputable company (if such a thing exists) has confirmed ANY of his findings yet.

    So, up until now it’s all based on faith, and nothing else.

    If Rossi would open source his device, or rather, release it into the public domain, it would revolutionize the whole world – provided that it works. And I really don’t think that the guy inventing the energy revolution would have any money problems AT ALL. This leads me to the conclusion:

    a) It’s a scam, and Rossi is greedy (95% chance)
    b) The e-cat works, and Rossi is still greedy (5% chance)

    That being said, I still hope for b).

    • Robert

      Here it depends upon what it is that you think you want to do with this device. If you are waiting to buy one to put into your basement to replace the furnace, water heater, and electrical power supply to your house, I would agree that it is not time to put the money down to buy one of these devices.

      If instead you are looking at investing into building these devices under license from Rossi, it would perhaps be a somewhat reasonable business investment to spend a little bit of money to buy one of these units (maybe a few of them), dissect them and find out for yourself if they work. Either they do or they don’t, and for a few thousand dollars it might be worth the risk. You could put in an anti-fraud clause in the contract to purchase these devices, demanding perhaps even a higher refund (double your money back or something like that) if you find that these devices fail to deliver the promised energy production.

      Really, at this point it makes no difference as to if the scientific basis of this device can be explained, what matters is if it actually works as advertised. This isn’t faith, what somebody is asking for here is to simply see the thing run. I’d love to grab one and set it up on a webcam just to show it working non-stop for a prolonged period of time, showing the energy inputs and outputs. So would others I suspect.

      BTW, I agree with you on the skepticism… which is well deserved. I have no idea if this thing works at all, but a device which is producing steam after the plug has been pulled and continues to do that for several hours (preferably days) after I’ve yanked that power chord would definitely sell me on the product.

  • Peter Anderson

    Well, Rossi can be sure of a thing: in today’s world, he may expect to profit from his patents in the “developed world” (USA, Canada, Western Europe, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, maybe Taiwan and South Korea).

    But he can’t expect that his “secrets” and patents will prevail in the “Third World”. In the “Chinese century”, he can’t expect that the E-Cat won’t be reverse engineered and “pirated”. It will.

    Sooner or later, the Chinese will reverse engineer the E-Cat and create their own “generic” version. And this “generic” (and cheaper) version will be widespread in the “Third World”, from China to Brazil, from Mexico to India, from Russia to South Africa.

    This is how the world works in present days.

    • mike

      I remember in the 5th grade, we would have paper airplane contests at recess. Whoever could fly their plane the furtherest was champ. I figured out that by balasting the nose with gobs of elmers glue, I could throw my plane like a stone. It always won. And I refused to share my secret.

      It wasn’t long that by observation, the other kids figured out my secret. I was pissed that I was no longer king, but there was nothing I could do. Everyone could make planes just as good as mine.

      The same thing must and will happen with this tecnology, if it’s real. On the other hand, if it’s not real, no one else will be able to reproduce it. So, I would call for all the talented amateur chemists and physicists to get busy, reproduce this effect and publish the secret to the world. Because that’s the only way the benefit will be properly shared. If you leave it to the system, it will be monitized and just become another way to get our money away from us.

  • Az
  • Open source has not put the big guys out of business but it has had an effect on small developers. Yes even the big guys like Sun
    Gooble IBM and even MSNBC use open source and university developed free software.

    The simularity ends there since there is a material
    cost component to a physical device. There are no free open source laptops and tablets.

    It would be good to have skilled engineers develop plans for free and then publish them to anyone without cost. For the plan to work though the factories would have to be built for free the workers work for nothing and the product given away.

    This will not happen but the cost will be very significantly reduced for the main input to production, the environment will be spared and people will gain a measure of independence with an alternative to the grid and fossil fuels there will again be more choices for opportunity and much better lives.

    • Robert

      Before you completely dismiss the concept of “open hardware, I’d suggest you should look at least at this place:

      Also if you look up the term “Open-source hardware” on Wikipedia it gives a list of dozens of other major projects ranging from “open source firmware” for electronic circuits to 3D printers and other well developed projects that have been built using the philosophy.

      The Arduino project (based in Italy too, I might add) in particular has spawned not just a single product but a whole industry based upon the device and has yet to reach its full impact on human society.

      When I hear people suggest that opening this up is impossible, I think it is those folks who dare not to dream, and certainly haven’t looked around for what have been some very successful business models for getting to work.

      BTW, there are “free”/”open source” laptops and tablets as well. Try to look up “Raspberry Pi” and “OLPC” computer. Those are “open source” in just about every aspect, with a huge user support base offering far more technical support than you would typically get for devices of that nature. They aren’t “free” as in beer, I’ll admit, but the designs are available for anybody to build and you don’t need to negotiate licensing to construct those computers. It may be cheaper to simply buy them from the regular suppliers, but that is due to economies of scale.

      I’m suggesting that Rossi could certainly make a pile of money here even if he was to “open source” his design.

  • daniel maris

    Can we have a separate thread on the Fox News article? – probably the most important development since January 2011.

    • admin

      Yes, Daniel.

  • Az

    Al Potenza
    November 2nd, 2011 at 2:49 PM
    Dear Mr. Rossi,

    Thank you for your response. I understand that you can not reveal R&D results that would compromise your trade secrets. But that’s not what I was requesting.

    When you deliver an ecat to a university, could you simply authorize the university to say publicly that they have received it and have started their work — as in a brief press release? That alone would help those of us who believe in you when we have to deal with skeptics. And it would not jeopardize any secrets.

    Best wishes,


    Andrea Rossi
    November 2nd, 2011 at 4:04 PM
    Dear Al Potenza:
    The answer is yes.
    Warm Regards,

  • Sanjeev
  • in december of 2007 i wrote an utopian novel in where a basic pillar is that a global council of decentraly organised citizens and producer companies are introducing abundance into society … by donating up front and without conditions every human being the high or low tech tools… choice may be made by the individual … to live a selfsustaining life. the basic idea is that trusting in the basic good nature of all human beings will pay off in the long term … and we can not possibly know the dynamics what could enroll for a planet what has been held in a hyrarchy based on weapons and money for thousands of years … when suddenly a high number of citizens TOGETHER with the corporations would vote against armed forces everywhere and the money would flow into tools what would empower every single individual to do what exactly this individual feels is right … it might be very quickly that things come utopian ways if all the options are open… i would guess only a tiny fraction of the people would choose destruction and negativity once the top down hyrarchy has disappeared … and i would believe that the vast majority would be up to all good in a very short time ….. mmmh… so what has that got to do with open source ecat or not … i believe open source it yes … with trust … that the time is ripe for a counciousness what wants to unleash all the trillions of inventions yet awaiting our future openmindedness ….. there is plenty of room at the bottom …. and it is only a tiny bit before we reach the tipping point … where all the projections of innovations taking years reaching market … will be corrected in months … because of trusting in the open sharing that brings abundance to all….

    ( if anyone is interested… my novel is at …)

  • Alexvs

    I was censored Mr. Admin. And I did not attack any person, only stupidity.

  • arian
  • Open-source the e-cat, why not by using crowdfundind (kickstarter, kisskissbankbank, etc.)?

    It may bring huge amount of money, given to Rossi, only if independent experiments works and the tech is open source…