The following post was submitted by E-Cat World reader Rick Allen.
For the past few weeks I have been following the H-Cat saga. For those who are not familiar, Justin Church and some other experimenters have claimed to be producing excess heat, via a possible LENR process, by blowing HHO gas (also known as Brown’s Gas) onto the inner surface of a catalytic converter from an automobile. They claim that the amount of power produced in the form of heat is far greater than the electrical input needed to produce the HHO.
I see several problems with how these tests have been conducted. First, however, I think one thing needs to be specified. HHO is not simply hydrogen and oxygen mixed together. It is a combination of hydrogen in both mon-atomic and diatomic forms, oxygen in both mon-atomic and diatomic forms, water vapor, and potentially electrically expanded water. The reality of electrically expanded water is uncertain. Certain researchers and builders of HHO systems, such as George Wiseman of Eagle Research, claim that it is a form of water that has been expanded into a gaseous state not by heat but by electricity. Some theorize that one reason an HHO flame can heat materials so fast is because the flame is discharging an electric current into the material. Part of the heating effect would then be a resistance effect.
So far, when the H-Cat has been tested, HHO has been applied to the inner surface. This means a number of different gases are being exposed to the material. Also, a number of different gases from the outside atmosphere are being exposed to the inner surface. In traditional LENR systems, such as the E-Cat, all the air from the atmosphere has to be removed from a reactor before a test can begin. According to Defkalion and others who have performed LENR tests, atmosphere can contaminate the material and prevent LENR reactions. In fact, nitrogen, which is abundant in the atmosphere, is said to quench LENR reactions, at least in nickel based systems. So with the H-Cat, I am skeptical about how a mixture of gases can produce LENR reactions.
Another issue that having oxygen present brings up is the possibility that the metal inside the H-Cat is oxidizing and producing heat by being “burned.” Metal can burn. You can burn steel wool by placing a match near it. With a constant flow of oxygen from the electrolysis unit and more from the outside atmosphere, this produces another variable.
I personally think that exposing pieces of catalytic metal to a flow of mixed gases that is open to the environment is not the best way to go about testing.
Here are some alternative proposals that I think would make for better testing:
First, I think that multiple sealed catalytic converters or pieces of catalytic material isolated from the atmosphere should be used. In this way, the outside atmosphere will not be contaminating the reactions whether they be chemical or nuclear. For example, an inert material such as a high temperature glass beaker could be placed on the catalytic material and sealed with a substance that would not give off gas.
Second, I think we need to know the exact composition of the catalytic material.
Third, I think we need to have a way to apply not only apply HHO (a mixture of gases), but also pure hydrogen, pure oxygen, and water vapor. This way we could determine which gases are responsible for the heat production.
Fourth, someone who is qualified in chemistry and math should calculate the maximum amount of chemical energy that can possibly be obtained by exposing a known quantity of oxygen, hydrogen, or HHO to the catalytic material.
Fifth, we need a vacuum pump to remove all atmosphere from each piece of catalytic material before each test is performed.
Now, unlike previous tests of the H-Cat which utilized a constant flow of HHO, we would add a known quantity of gas. If the heat production is brief and does not reach the maximum possible chemical energy, we can conclude that most likely no (or very few) LENR reactions are taking place. However, if the heat production is large and lasts for a long period of time – far beyond what is possible chemically – we can conclude LENR reactions are happening.
The simple fact is that nuclear reactions can produce millions of times the energy of chemical reactions. The E-Cat, for example, uses a tiny amount of hydrogen to produce very high temperatures for weeks or months at a time. Seeing the H-Cat temporarily heat up for a short period of time while a constant flow of HHO is applied does not impress me. If it is a true nuclear reaction, a sealed H-Cat filled with one charge of hydrogen should produce constant heat (or at least more heat than is chemically possible) for an extended period of time.
If an LENR effect is strong and robust in the H-Cat, there will be no need for a calorimeter to determine if there is a gain of energy beyond what is chemical and beyond what is being used to produce the HHO. A sealed catalytic converter cannot produce huge amounts of excess heat for days or weeks. However, to enhance my proposed experiment further, each piece of catalytic material should be placed in a calorimeter. A calorimeter does not have to be a scary device. They can be made of styrofoam coolers and plumbing parts you can buy at Home Depot. It may not be as accurate as the ones in a scientific lab, but it would be accurate enough for our purposes. With the calorimeter we could determine, even if the sealed samples of material do not produce heat for long periods of time, if more heat is produced than chemically possible.
The H-Cat is interesting to me, but the way it has been tested so far (not talking about Alan Smith’s upcoming test) has been less than stellar in my opinion.
* We are not using a different, pure gas in each test to determine which one is producing the heat effect.
* We are allowing the atmosphere to contaminate the effect and potentially quench any LENR reactions.
* We are using an open container which does not allow us to do calculations on the maximum amount of chemical energy that could be produced by a known quantity of gas and catalytic material.
* We are not testing the reaction at different gas pressures or temperatures. For example, if we filled up a catalytic converter with these different gases, we may have to heat it up externally before the reactions begin.
* We are not using a calorimeter, which could be made at a fairly low cost.
The H-Cat is interesting, but I firmly believe that we need to GET SERIOUS about testing it using REASON and LOGIC if we are going to continue giving it time and attention. Pumping HHO on a sample of material in open atmosphere and measuring the temperature and guessing that excess heat may be produced is NOT scientific. It may be fun or interesting, but proves NOTHING.
I propose we get serious about the H-CAT or re-focus exclusively on the E-CAT – a technology that has been proven to work.