The commercial launch of the E-Cat started quietly with an anonymous customer towing away the shipping container in which the first 1 MW plant was built. The event was noticed by a relatively few people, and when the event was over many people who had been hoping for a definitive demonstration of cold fusion were left wondering what really went on, since only the customer’s consultant got to see the live testing in any detail.
Andrea Rossi, however, seemed to be very satisfied with the days work — he said it was a beginning, but a very important beginning, one in which an “almost infinite” COP was demonstrated with the plant running without any input power for five hours. His first sale made, Rossi now seems to have turned his mind towards commercializing this technology, and if you read what he says carefully you will note that he is planning to build a massive organization around his invention.
One of Rossi’s challenges is if he is going to protect his trade secret, he is going to have to be the sole provider of E-Cat products and services. This will mean that unless viable competition comes on the scene, the huge demand for working cold fusion products will have to be met by Leonardo Corporation who will be the manufacturer of E-Cat based products.
Rossi has actually said quite a lot about his business plans in remarks on his web site, The Journal of Nuclear Physics, and from his comments it is possible to get an idea of the business plan he has in mind.
Here are some key points that can be gleaned from recent comments.
1. Leonardo Corporation will be the sole manufacturers of the E-Cat reactors. Until now these reactors have been made by hand, but Rossi has said this process will be automated. Rossi has mentioned having plants or offices in Miami, Boston and Manchester, NH.
2. Outsourcing will be done for other components.
3. 10 per cent of pre-tax profits will be spent on research and development.
4. Leonardo Corporation will have employees who will recharge the units on site, and spent reactors will be returned to treatment units which will be located strategically for regeneration.
5. Leonardo Corporation will possibly eventually become a public company. About this, Ross has said “Probably we will sell shares to allow everybody to participate to this enterprise. But before this we have to consolidate our manufacturing and commercial system.”
6. While production of the 1 MW plants is already underway, it appears that Rossi’s priorities are to produce home heating units and electrical generator — both of which he estimates will take two years to achieve. He also says he has a ‘duty’ to use E-Cats for desalination — which his technology is ready for now.
When asked recently what Rossi’s motivation was for all the work he is doing, his reply was “to make cheap and clean energy”. It’s a simple goal that is hardly possible to find fault with, but the difficulties involved are daunting — even if he has the technology to accomplish this. It sounds like Leonardo Corporation is going to try to go it alone and build the production facilities and organizational infrastructure to handle the demand that will surely come once the E-Cat is accepted as a viable energy source.
Two obstacles seem apparent with this approach. First, once people realize what Rossi has achieved there will doubtless be competitors springing up trying to match or improve on his discovery, and piracy is certainly likely. Rossi has said that although they have protected the reactor’s core, “before or later it will be copied. We are perfectly aware of this.” Secondly, if Leonardo Corporation beats out competitors and is wildly successful, this would create a monopoly situation which would surely be broken up by regulators — something Rossi has acknowledged also.
Andrea Rossi does not seem to be worrying too much about these possible future difficulties right now. While he certainly has the loftiest of goals, he seems to be a practical man who concentrates on the immediate tasks at hand which for the moment is putting his invention to use one plant at a time.