Rossi on Decentralized Power Generation

I have tried to get some information from Andrea Rossi about what he and his partner’s plans might be for using the E-Cat for decentralized electrical production. We know that for now, at least, home E-Cats are not on the table, but I have been wondering about using the E-Cat to generate power on a local, rather than a central scale. Here is my back and forth with Rossi on the JONP today.

Me: many people advocate for more distributed power generation, where smaller generators produce power close to where it is used. This has many advantages, including reliability (e.g. in storms, natural disasters), efficiency (reduction of costs andlosses from long distance transmission), flexibility, independence, etc. Is this an area that you and your partners are planning for?

AR: Both.Ther e are different specific situations, we have to make distinction upon. More distributed power generation is more efficient, for example, in towns. Generation isles are more efficient in smaller and insulated locations, just to give an example, but the general situation is very complex, it is not possible a “tranchant” opinion.

Me: Thank you for your reply. Just for clarification — do you mean in your response that centralized power generation is more efficient in towns (e.g. one power station for the whole town?)

AR: Yes, but in any case specific situations can still have to be analysed.

This isn’t a very specific answer, but it seems like he and his partner are certainly thinking about the possibility of small-scale E-Cat power generation. In my estimation, if they were techically feasible there would be a very high demand for this kind of power plant. No one wants to be dependent on the vagaries of the power grid. Every year we hear of the great disruption that is caused in places around the world when power is lost due to storms, earthquakes, floods, war, grid failures, etc. Distributed power generation would allow for much greater energy security and reslience in times of upheaval.

When Rossi talks about things being complex, I would imagine that technical complexity may not be the most difficult problem to solve — I guess that security of the plants is something they would be concerned about. If you had a small remote community powering itself with a local E-Cat generator, how would you keep people away from it who had a strong desire to figure out how it worked?

  • Roger Bird

    Never. It is much too plentiful and would be used in an LENR+ world much to little.

  • Fortyniner

    Corporations hoping to introduce CF will be aware of the problems with grid distribution and will probably stay away from long HV power lines, but IMO the most likely route at least initially is likely to be conversion of existing centralised power stations in ‘good’ locations (probably, near cities), unless safety concerns dictate the use of remote locations initially.

    It’s likely that there will be a choice of plants to either offer deals to, or to acquire outright so that they can be converted, either by retro-fitting suitable boilers and control systems only, or by gutting out existing generators and re-using just the buildings and infrastructure including distribution power lines.

    It might not be the optimum solution, but the costs involved would be fractions of what it would cost to start from scratch, suitable site permits (or at least, precedents) would be in place, and the whole changeover could be carried out relatively quickly. This would also take advantage of the ‘green’ meme so carefully implanted and fostered by politicians, by being seen to convert a ‘dirty’ CO2-producing coal station to the new clean power source of the future.

    • Omega Z

      I agree 49’r
      Plants near Cities will likely be retrofitted. It will be the begining of a transition to a more distributed grid vesrse central.

    • Bernie Koppenhofer

      Agreed. Existing progressive Power Companies could have a huge advantage licencing LENR tech. (would also be the optimal choice for Rossi and partner) The problem is there are very few “progressive” power companies.

      • BroKeeper

        Agree, but just to survive all companies will have to be progressive or be possessed by municipalities.

  • malkom700

    Perhaps it is useless to mediate which will be the preferred form, can all remain coexist as road, rail, shipping and air transport. In cities go cars, metro, trams, trolleys, boats.

  • fritz194

    I think its a very difficult situation if you want to promote remote units – but need industrial proof for you certifications.
    Remote units would make sense – but if a huge power company would jump on the train – refurbishing 30 old plants – there might be interests to keep remote units as rare as possible.
    So I think the way to go would be definitely utility companies – offering heat/cold/electricity in a reasonable scale – up
    to few MW. Because of the many LENR flavours – I think there is still some chance to produce electricity in a direct process – without having 2/3 waste heat, generators, shafts, safety, turbines. This would open the direction for very tiny remote units – with reasonable maintenance (no moving parts). Electrolysis in combination with fuel cells could be such setup – but maybe there are even better ways to do that.

  • BroKeeper

    It appears Rossi and partner are taking the most natural economical, developmental, and scientific evolutionary approach. Focusing first on utility companies removes much of the safety requirements of home ownership thus requiring less legal protection; building a base for quick growth amongst a competitive energy industry and providing a solid cash flow. This provides time preparing development and manufacturing expansion for the massive incursion of safer home/town E-Cats. These home/town E-Cats will then force the very same utility companies to reduce their charges and possible liquidation with fire sales of their antiquated Hot Cats – all maximizing potential sales and profit. AR and partner are thinking of a bigger picture.

  • Babble

    Mr. Rossi needs to concentrate on generation for commercial and apartment buildings. Once the technology is accepted and proven then it may be useful for homes. Capstone Turbine produces power generators for large buildings and local power for oil and gas drilling/production. BTW Cyclone is not a turbine system.

    • Roger Bird

      I agree.

  • theBuckWheat

    If you want utility-grade electricity service that is as inexpensive as possible, then a certain level of centralization allows utilities to minimize costs through scale. However, centralized power has increased vulnerabilities to single points of failure. If you don’t care how expensive electricity is, then everyone ought to have their own power plant. I would say allow the market to decide, but governments at all levels have entrenched themselves into a position of control and regulation of utilities for so many generations that I am not sure any utility executive could function in a totally free market. Don’t forget that regulators really need something to regulate so they will not give up control easily. And utility executives can hide behind regulation as the reason their company had a certain level of performance.

  • Bernie Koppenhofer

    I would be very surprised if Rossi and partner are not deep into beta testing, I hope they are converting a coal plant.

  • jim

    I’m thinking that the complexity Rossi is talking about is both the complexity of regulations for homes and complexity of making the ecat fit any home.

    It’s not a small issue to end up replacing both the water heater and the furnace with a device that also provides electricity. If you’re generating all three, what do you do with the excess hot water before it’s needed? The heat is simpler. Just redirect into the house until the thermostat indicates enough. But you still need to design the thing as a system.

    Or you can say the heck with it, just work on generating electricity for now and let it grow into a complete system later. This is especially true if you’re discovering new features of the new process you’re creating.

    • GreenWin

      Jim, there is some added engineering to building an energy appliance like a Combined Heat and Power unit for residences. But micro-CHP is on the uptick as grid reliability, weather and energy security become bigger issues. Take for example this Wall Street Journal story about major corporations disconnecting from the grid. The very same disruptive action predicted for LENR.

      Once large, well-financed businesses subscribe to a new technology, it is bound to scale to smaller applications like energy appliances. Which is the likely course for Dr. Rossi and friends.

  • Smallie Smalls

    All you need is a location with a wall plug and a water supply. The fact is that large scale locations are few, since you need power lines capable of carrying the additional load which is considerable. Small scale can be plugged into any line which is capable of handling a few more homes. Literally you spin the meter backward, and the power company sends you a check.

    If it were certified for the home, most homes should have local electrical generation, in this way every family could sell back power to local industry and get a cut of the pie, capitalism serving the family above the corporation.

    Saying that this is a power source best suited to large scale is equivalent to saying this is a rich mans game now, and you are not invited to the table.

    Bought, sold, owned. Game over and you ain’t invited. Le famiglie non benvenuti!

    • Donk970

      True enough except that once even a single full scale E-Cat power plant is up and running the race to get into the game will be on. Once all doubt as to the existence of LENR or the practicality of using it has been removed you will see a huge amount of research into LENR. Once that happens it will only be a matter of time before somebody publishes a “how to” on building your own LENR device and then all bets are off. The reason LENR is a real threat to the big power and oil companies is that there is no way to control it. The fuel is cheap, abundant and readily available and the technology will be cheap and easy to manufacture. Basically Rossi and partner will need to make their profits early because once the cat is out of the bag there will be no profits.

    • Omega Z

      If Everyone is producing Power, Who will the grid sell it to. The Grid isn’t a storage system. If you produce energy, you Have to use it. All has to be in balance.
      Also you need a separate system & meter to feed power to the grid. You can’t just feed it back thru the existing meter.
      They also only have to pay you wholesale price. Not Retail & they have to have the final control over if & when you feed energy back.

      • BroKeeper

        Municipalities will take over for a short time and require all meters changed as a tax base until home owners won’t need the grid.

  • GreenWin

    One possible approach to field testing LENR E-Cat applications in traditional energy generation format is to retrofit a small cogeneration (CHP) facility. Replacing a cogeneration thermal source like natural gas with E-Cat heat may not be a huge challenge. For example the Kern River Cogeneration Company in Bakersfield California uses four 75MW GE combustion turbines, each with a heat recovery steam generator able to produce 450,000 pounds per hour (lb/hr) of steam.

    Given engineering competence in development of modular E-Cat HT heat units, refitting one of these 75MW congen units with LENR – would make a good testbed. What makes this somewhat ironic is Kern River sells its steam & electricity to former partner Chevron for use in nearby oil extraction. Kern River and twin Sycamore Cogeneration assets were recently purchased at deep discount by NRG Energy Inc. a diversified independent utility based in Princeton, NJ.

  • Fortyniner

    Rossi’s answers essentially amount to ‘how long is a piece of string?’. That’s probably reasonable at this stage, as they may not know yet the maximum safe and stable output that is possible from one reactor unit, its likely size and operating requirements. When they have this information a logical path for commercialisation will probably suggest itself.

    Of course the CEO and technical management of the partner company might have their own ideas of where they want to go, which may or may not prove technically feasible. IP security considerations will probably be quite near the top of their priority list.

    • bitplayer

      This reminded me of the recent New Yorker article on Silicon Valley CEOs, which was saying that they were more like robber barons of the 1890’s than accidentally wealthoid hippies. Which is to say that they ruthlessly overpromise their customers and overwork their employees, in order to stay ahead competitively. However, I can see that that model may not be useful in the development of heavy industry weird science high capacity energy sources.

  • Alain Samoun

    Personally I am for a power generation adapted to the smallest group of users: Town,village and better, family or individual. Excepted for industries/plants that use a lot of KWH. But I could understand the need of a transition from the current centralized energy distribution.

  • Chris I

    It is a very easy matter and Rossi isn’t necessary to figure it out. Each has its pros and cons, and the wide scale distribution and transmission lines already exist in the key places, so the most obvious answer is to both add more local plants and also replace the largest in order of priority. Only details remain to sort out, such as the exact criteria of priority.

    • Daniel Maris

      I think we will see transmission lines coming down in rural areas of outstanding beauty.

  • Pekka Janhunen

    I got the impression that by “complex” he doesn’t refer to technical or IP problems, but just that the question of optimal size of power generation units does not admit a generic answer. Similarly to, for example, if one asks about the optimum size of an aeroplane, or a computer.