Rossi: E-Cat Heat for Desalination is ‘Not Competitive’ — Electricity, Maybe

One of the hopes that many people have if the E-Cat becomes commercially available is that it could help with providing fresh water to many parts of the world that are now arid and unfit for agriculture.

This topic came up on the Journal of Nuclear Physics today with a reader saying:

All that is needed [for desalination] is boiling water and a condenser- and your low cost energy to make it practical.

To make a quantum leap, pardon the pun, could you irrigate the deserts? Could you turn the Sinai Desert into an oasis instead of a war torn wasteland?

Andrea Rossi responded:

I have no idea. I am not an expert of desalination, but costs of desalination are already very low, as far as I know: experts in past analyzed the possibility to desalinate with the E-Cat, but it turned out not to be competitive.

The two main methods of desalination used today are: (1) reverse osmosis, in which salt water is forced through membranes — a process which uses a great deal of electricity (around 40 per cent of the operational cost is the cost of electricity) — and (2) multi-stage flash distillation (MSF) where salt water is pre-heated and then boiled and condensed to produce electricity.

Using cheap heat from an E-Cat would could lower costs in the MSF process, but even then, it may not be competitive with reverse osmosis. Apparently mineral scaling in MSF is a significant problem which requires expensive maintenance. It sounds like cheaper electricity is the key to cheaper desalination, and it sounds like E-Cat electricity generation will take a while to come online. Andrea Rossi writes (admitting he is no expert on distillation):

The fact that when and if we will be able to sell electric power producing E-Cats will make cheaper electricity is true and, in this case, convenience should be generalized, but the desalination made by steam is not competitive with the reverse osmosis by an order of magnitude.

So will the appearance of the E-Cat in the marketplace lead to a new era of cheap and abundant fresh water for all? It sounds like that remains a possibility, but it sounds like the production of cheap electricity is the key, and that could take a lot of time and engineering.

  • malkom700

    Incidentally e-cats can not be placed anywhere for safety reasons. At the beginning will therefore be favored large facilities in protected areas.

  • Omega Z

    What about radiation. Rossi’s e-cat gives of radiations while in operation. These fall with in normal range within a few minutes after it stops running. So your back to a container. It also requires energy for some time to start the reaction and RF of some type.

    • Kwhilborn

      I forget the idea in its entirety. Maybe someone here can recall the proposal. But imagine just contained fuel being added right behind one that is ready to snuff out long enough to reach the temperatures to begin its own reaction. The idea was to allow the devices to reach their maximum heat. You could harness heat or smaller explosions.

      It is a different approach to just heating the ingredients.

      Everything would occur in a shielded chamber, although I thought they now say the Gamma is not much higher than normal background.

      Imagine the ecat with 2 sides for fuel (Nickel/Hydrogen/Catalyst). As one side starts to fire up .

      Note: Again I am using “fire” and “burn” as analogies. I know they do not “burn” like wood. They might burn if you touched the glowing ecat though.

      So as one side starts “firing up” then new fuel is put in second side and heated by first side. When it begins to “fire up” then the first side is emptied and new fuel is added …

      rinse and repeat.

      There are a number of ways this has sounded somewhat practical in earlier discussions.

      It seemed novel enough to warrant at least consideration.

  • Omega Z

    By the time E-cats have saturated the market, It will be time to start replacing them all. Energy prices will decline only when competition makes it so And Power plant building, R.O. facilities & everything else will all be handled by other parties.

  • Omega Z

    Even if Rossi obtained Infinite COP, It would still be many times cheaper to use Reverse Osmosis.
    The cost Consequences of MSF desal greatly outweigh the savings verses just using R.O. to begin with.

  • Hhiram

    Rossi is spot on here. Reverse osmosis desalination is much more energy efficient than vaporization desalination. So much so, that it would be more efficient to produce electricity with the e-cat and drive RO desal than to use the e-cat for direct V desal.

    • GreenWin

      It certainly has, thanks. The membrane tech has gotten a lot better lowering the cost of RO pumping and filters. MSF requires 3X kWh RO, but MSF systems produce water with less than 100 mg / L total dissolved solids compared to 400 mg / L in RO systems. This may require a second set of membrane filters for higher water qualities.

      In RO systems the output depends on the sea water feed quality. MSF being a vaporisation system performance does not depend on feed quality. Nice to see the Doc is up to date.

      • Omega Z

        Their aim is to use several filters(Stages) to remove only what they want removed. There are many nutrients & minerals you want to keep. They also want to be able to simplify it to being similar to straining water thru a cheese cloth with little or no energy required & also filters that are self cleaning that last for years.

        You’ll still have other needs for energy such as UV treatment & pumps. The big cost will be the plumbing to get it where it’s needed.

  • Ophelia Rump

    Sounds to me like you just said your superiority is misunderstood and unappreciated.

  • GreenWin

    Hecktor, if you are excessively “thin,” you should eat ice cream. Chunky Monkey is effective.

  • GreenWin

    I do Roger. And perhaps these “Captains of Industry” will actually deserve the honorific.

    • Barry8

      Thanks Greenwin. A corporation can easily serve and be profitable as well. Hopefully it will become a trend.

  • Freethinker

    I believe the idea has been tossed around in this forum a few times already …
    And believe me – Rossi knows. Lookup Rossi’s “mouse” and “cat” configuration. Not quite the same, but as far as Rossi goes to loop or serialize these machines.

    • Omega Z

      The Mouse/Cat is in reality just 2 Cats.
      Defined as Mouse=Driver/Control. Cat=Main Reactor
      The difference between the 2 is the make up of the charge.
      I don’t know precise details but works something like this.

      The Mouse activates/operates within a lower temp range such as from A to B. The charge composition is optimized specifically for these temps for stable operation.

      When these temps in the Mouse reach temp “B”, it in turn activates the charge in the Cat who’s charge composition is optimized for higher temps.

      This introduces some interesting speculation.
      Does the Mouse stop reacting once temps exceed a certain temp. Say at 800’C it stops when the Cat starts. Does the Cat act in a similar way when reaching say 1100’C then when temps drop below 800’C the Mouse restarts to reactivate the Cat.
      If the Charge can be composed in this manor, it would be eloquent. It could minimize runaway reactions & maximize control & stability.

      I note Rossi says the mouse is not inside the cat & the cat is not inside the mouse. This does not exclude a chamber butted up against a chamber. It also fits Rossi’s statement that the cat has no resistance heating coils.

      I also note temps are used to activate the process, but I believe once active, control is done by RF of some sort which could vary according to operating temps.

  • jousterusa

    Hard to understand why Rossi’s electricity would not be competitive with others’. To me, it sounds like someone presented Rossi with a distorted proposition and he mistakenly agreed with it. Whose electricity could be cheaper, unless it was Mills’?

    • Gerard McEk

      You need a high COP (>10) to efficiently generate electricity. I asume that is stil a problem with the E-Cat.

      • Barry8

        Hi Gerald, George Miley is claiming a COP of 12.

    • ecatworld

      I think IH is still in the very early stages of product development. They have still to deploy a commercial plant, and I don’t think it will be making electricity. I am sure they are working on electricity generation, but I expect they are still in R&D phase.

    • bachcole

      I am thinking that Mills’ energy will be infinite dollars per kilowatt-hour since any number divided by zero is infinite. (:->)

  • HarryD

    LENR might not only disrupt the energy market but also some saltmarkets!
    When desalinating seawater only for the purpose of waterproduction (and dumping back the salts) might best be served with reversed osmosis.
    BUT, when one (also) takes the production of salt into consideration one would take the concentrated seawater and crystallize the salt with the left-over (low-grade) steam after producing electricity from LENR based heat/steam which creates furthermore (demin)water.
    For this the industrial eCat must ofcourse have higher specs then the current max temp. of 120 (or so) degrees C………

    • jousterusa

      I think the current specs call for 600 C… .

      • HarryD

        Nope, still 120 C.
        And price still 2.000.000, so hard to get a good ROI on with these low grade specs.

        Fresh from the the following specs for 1MW plant:

        Power per Module

        Water Pump brand

        Water Pump Pressure
        4 Bar

        Water Pump Capacity
        1500 kg/hr

        Water Pump Ranges
        30-1500 kg/hr

        Water Input Temperature
        4-85 C

        Water Output Temperature
        85-120 C

        Control Box Brand
        Leonardo Corp.

        Controlling Software
        Leonardo Corp.

        Operation and Maintenance Cost

        Fuel Cost

        Recharge Cost
        Included in O&M

        Recharge Frequency

        2 years

        Estimated Lifespan
        30 years




  • GreenWin

    If the heat for MSF desal is cheap enough it will be competitive. But AR may be thinking about making fresh water from more than the ocean. Take a look at this documentary trailer for Dean Kamen’s Slingshot distillation device – sponsored by General Electric. Recall that Kamen has a partner in Coca Cola and NRG Energy – a trio of big boys who know the value of global humanitarian outreach.

    Personally I find this idea rather encouraging.

  • Sanjeev

    No worries, someone else will do it as soon as the Ecat hits the market.
    A working product will demonstrate the possibility of lenr magic and upon seeing that the desalination market is untapped, one or more companies will jump into it, probably producing a better and cheaper Ecat than IH.

    • malkom700

      You’re right, it’s interesting that we focusing on certain special problems while now it is all about the need for the presentation of the first functional device. Nevertheless, it appears that competition is not intense enough.

    • mytakeis

      Yep, give me free energy and I’ll make my world!

    • Omega Z

      Desalination is already a huge business. There is no need for jumping in.
      Once E-cats can produce electricity, these entities will incorporate it.

  • bitplayer

    “People like to connect dots in their heads that are not necessarily connected in the real world”

    Seriously good line.

    • mytakeis

      connecting dots in the head is the path to advancement

      • bachcole

        Yes, and it can also be the cause of a lot of misunderstanding and confusion. This is why it is important to test those patterns that are the result of that dot connecting.

      • Ophelia Rump

        Or measles.

  • malkom700

    This is an important entry from Rossi that indicates that it is too early to discard electrical network,
    but rather the broadening will be required. But it means that the E-cats are set mainly for the production of electricity. Someone also mentioned the issue of global warming, you can attack …

    • Ophelia Rump

      If the Ecat was for initial electrical production, Rossi would have said that the E-Cat will power Reverse Osmosis water purification which is the best technology.
      And solve the problem at last.

      • malkom700

        You’ve got me in a difficult position, because you actually agreed. On behalf of the Rossi thank you.

        • Ophelia Rump

          Yes, very subversive of me!

  • Ophelia Rump

    The great expense in evaporation for desalination is corrosion.
    No amount of heat will overcome oxidation/rust/corrosion.

    • GreenWin
      • Ophelia Rump

        I think the picture was relatively cute, you should not flatter them either.

        • GreenWin

          O R, I found the nose pick accurate. 🙂

    • Omega Z

      Mineralization is the biggest issue. Boil a pan of water, Refill. After a dozen times this builds up substantially.
      This is actually an issue with water heaters which don’t boil water. It builds up on the heating element & acts as an insulator reducing efficiency until it cause premature burn out of the heating element. They place an anode in these heaters for this purpose, but it only increases longevity, not stop it.

      There’s a small town not far from me who’s mineral content of their water is so high that an 8 year warrantee is null & void. They write on the sales invoice that it is only good for 3 years unless you document an in home filtration system pre water heater hookup.
      This is allowed because it’s claimed it is not used in accordance to manufactures suggested use. You abused it.

  • Robert Ellefson

    This nonsense reply from Rossi provides yet another compelling example of why IH needs to release their IP for worldwide development immediately. Apparently, having decided that fresh water production does not fit well into their product roadmap, Industrial Heat has abandoned the notion, and is not attempting to develop their energy production technology in a way that can best address this critical humanitarian need. I’m confident that other engineering organizations would gladly tackle such an application for optimizing a derivative offshoot of this new technology, if Rossi or Darden would back up their lip-service about helping the world by actually doing so.

    • Ophelia Rump

      When are you going to give the computer you wrote this on away to someone who needs it? You clearly do not believe in the concept of ownership.

    • Omega Z

      What has this to do with Desalination.
      Reverse Osmosis is already 10 times cheaper then desal would be by use of an E-cat. Even if the E-cat had infinite COP.
      MSF Desal has serious cost issues totally separate from the energy used. These issues alone make R.O. far cheaper.

      There is also research on R.O. filtration systems that will increase it’s efficiency to the point of being 100 times cheaper the MSF Desal. At best, When E-cats generate electricity, it will have a minimal impact on cost. Maybe in the 1% to 2% range.

      As to Desalination, It is already a Multi-Billion$ international business. The Issue of Desal has far more to do with the magnitude of the task then cost. 1 cent to produce 10 gallons of water is cheap & projected to be 1 cent per 100 gallons in a few years.
      However, when you need a couple Trillion gallons a day, even that becomes expensive. Especially when you add the infrastructure to distribute it where needed.

  • MikeP

    The other problem with water is getting it from the seashore to where needed. A mechanism to condense water from the air might be effective in some circumstances.

  • Hope4DBest

    Methinks Rossi would do himself a favor focusing on releasing a marketable product (In mercatu veritas) instead of spending time answering theoretical questions.

    • Bernie777

      “theoretical questions”……millions of children die each year because they do not have a clean water source. If the e-cat can produce power for one cent vs ten cents it would save millions of lives because it would put the cost of clean water within their reach. Rossi understands this and is the reason he has spent so much time on the subject.

    • Ophelia Rump

      If you want him to be silent, why are you here?
      He is almost voiceless already.

      • Hope4DBest

        Voiceless? Just about every day Frank quotes some statement from Rossi on JONP. Hate to see it if he were verbose…

        Rossi should focus on bringing some product to market. THAT is going to silence the critics. Res, non verba!

        • Ophelia Rump

          Frank is nearly voiceless too.

          I do not see major media picking up this site.
          You really do wish they were silenced.
          Thankfully, your opinions are held in esteem among ours.

  • bachcole

    bilbo, where do you see that? I did not see the meaning or the words referencing any past.

  • David Dow

    Lots of comments regarding Rossi may be off target on his remarks…..makes me wonder if he was attempting a misdirect (which he has been known to do).

    • Ophelia Rump

      You lost me, are you saying that because people are making wild statements, Rossi made them do it? How does he achieve this mind control?

      It looks like just a comment to me, correcting a general misunderstanding, and then people pile on trying to defend their misunderstandings as usual.

  • Ophelia Rump

    How do you logic that?

    • hempenearth

      Bilbo gets his “b”s and “d”s mixed up.

    • bilbo bagowins

      He said “an analysis IN THE PAST” showed that producing water using ECAT was uneconomic. Well, in the past he was promising COP 3-6. If the analysis is still
      relevant, this means that the COP hasn’t changed, otherwise the analysis has to
      be redone because the higher the COP the cheaper the heat.

      • Omega Z

        I did some reading on a desal plant, I think it was in California.
        Their biggest cost when involving MSF Desal was 1000’s of man hours continuously removing the mineral scaling of the water vessels. With R.O. this is not an issue. Thus even with an infinite COP, R.O. will still be cheaper. With additional Nano research, this will become even more so.

        The infrastructure for desalination & the manpower to maintain it is huge. Costing Billion$ for a city of a couple 100K people. R.O. can reduce all this cost. Smaller facilities & far less manpower. Providing much cheaper water.

  • GreenWin

    AR may know something about Slingshot. Just a wild guess. 🙂

    • Fortyniner

      As I suggested at the time, I doubt that Mr Kamen really intends his Slingshot devices to run on dried camel dung.

      • GreenWin

        Reread the 2013 discussion re DEKA. Makes a lot of sense to me. Regardless of IH’s positioning, I will be surprised if Kamen does not end up a player in the LENR sweepstakes.

        As you noted, Kamen is not big enough to roll out an industrial level generating product. But he does have partners in both NRG Energy and Coca Cola. Coke might surprise us all and underwrite an E-Cat/Slingshot campaign in Africa.

        And this documentary short on Slingshot, sponsored by none other than… GE. Imagine.

  • Ophelia Rump

    IH needs to focus upon it’s core product and allow the rest of the world to perform the migration.

    Allow experts time to contribute and miracles will happen. Tesla did not set out to provide us with microwave ovens, but he made that and so much more possible.

    • Kwhilborn

      Yes. He seems to go off in tangent directions. A while ago he was playing with Turbines. He should focus on heat and improving the ecat as much as can be expected.

      One ecat design suggested here I thought was magical was that the ingredients be added to pellets in effect creating pellet sized ecats designed to overheat. Mass produce these pellets and burn them one after another, or a few at a time.

      Ideas like that one are certainly more up his alley than concerning himself with the price of tea in China.

      • Ophelia Rump

        He was trying to address a misconception which he probably noticed on this site.
        That people think you can solve the worlds desalination problem by boiling water.
        He is saying that you cannot, it is too expensive. Reverse Osmosis desalination is what is needed and it requires electricity, not heat.

      • Ophelia Rump

        The device you described is not by Rossi, it is someone claiming to have a competing technology. Their company is BLP Black Light Power.

        Rossi’s company is IH Industrial Heat

      • Omega Z

        The E-cat doesn’t burn anything. Likely it fuses hydrogen or some other effect we don’t understand yet.
        As to pellets, That Fit’s Mill’s SunCell process. But even his will work in a specifically designed loop producing a light emitting plasma using the same pellets repeatedly.

        As to the desal, It is an issue brought up by posters repeatedly on JONP. Hopefully his last post will put it to rest. R.O. is at least 10 times cheaper then if done by E-cat MFS system. Even if E-cat’s become totally self sustaining.
        But I wouldn’t bet the farm on it. It will come up again.

  • Gerard McEk

    I am not so sure Rossi is right about his remark that the e-cat cannot be competitive as heat source for the MSF process: If energy is limitless and very cheap, you should not evaporate all the water. That is much less efficient from energy usage perspective, as you throw away a lot of heat, but you win a lot on maintenance. The balance will shift and that could make this MSF process competitive again.

    • Bernie777

      This was discussed on JONP two years ago, Rossi convinced me, as a heat source the e-cat cannot compete with reverse osmosis, especially using the e-cat as a cheaper electric power source.

      • Gerard McEk

        The only reason I can think of that it would not be competitive is that the COP of the E-cat is stll too low. That would be a pitty as for the same reason it will be difficult to generate electricity efficiently.

        • Bernie777

          It is very involved, not sure if Rossi did the research himself or turned it over to one of his associates. I guess you could go back into the archives at JONP. I know since that discussion, there has been great improvement in RO.

    • Omega Z

      Even with infinite COP, R.O. will still be much cheaper. MSF creates many problems that R.O. doesn’t.
      R.O. is constantly improving and due to Nano technology will soon be similar to pouring water through a screen. Requiring little or no energy using natural tendencies of nature.
      Electricity by E-cat will still be of benefit though. To run the pumps & UV sterilization processes & getting the fresh water where needed.

  • Sandy

    At most places on this planet, water vapor in the atmosphere can be condensed into liquid water, so salt extraction and disposal need not be a problem. An E-Cat that can drive a refrigeration circuit can provide the cooling that is necessary to extract water from air.

  • Kwhilborn

    They recently invented a solar cell that creates steam. About 80% of the sun energy it receives is converted to steam.
    Honestly it is pretty useless except perhaps for desalination. I could see them used on boats, or for families of the grid. I suppose a lot depends on how cheap they are to make.

  • Frederic

    Strange comment to me as well : Rossi said many times in the past that desalination was a very good way to use E-cats energy.

    The fact that cheap electricty produced by E-cats seems now to be far ahead in the future is also another disappointed news, as many hopes with Hot-cats led to the opposite.

  • Curbina

    This was and still is the factor that keeps me interested in “free energy”. I don’t entirely agree that RO is “low cost”. It is indeed the most widely used technology for Seawater desalination, but at the flows required is a huge electric energy consumer. And the cost of replacing the membranes still makes the treated water expensive. On the other hand, MSF is also a huge energy consumer but the scaling problem can be tackled much more cheaply than the cost of replacing RO cartridges. The biggest MSF facility is in Abhu Dhabi in the Al Taweelah energy and water project, and uses the waste heat of the thermal (oil based) electricity generation. The key for succesfull MSF is to keep the temperature of the water low by using partial vaccum. I think MSF is not cheaper than RO exclusively because it depends on waste heat and that has greatly limited its scope of use. With low cost heat from the E-cat MSF could quickly become cheaper, and more important, less dependent in inputs (Every RO facility manager dreads the moment when the RO cartridges needs replacement because of the huge cost, and the fact they rarely last what they should).

    • Omega Z

      R.O. is quit common in the U.S.
      Half of all the water our city uses is produced thru R.O. And has been for 10 to 15 years.
      We actually have plenty of water. R.O was just found to be cheaper then expanding our conventional water treatment plant.
      This R.O. processed water is just feed through with the water processed in the main facilities. Being mixed, it also doesn’t cause a deficit in mineral content.
      They also have the option to lay 3 miles of pipe to recycle 50% of our waste water facility back to the main processing plant should we ever suffer a serious drought in the future.
      Some people have an issue with the ick factor. They should get over it. It’s by far cleaner then where their regular water supply comes from. Even clean fresh spring water has been procreated in by fish & had animal carcases in it somewhere along the bank. Note: When out riding your horse, Always drink up stream from it. LOL

      • Curbina

        Omega, I agree that producing high quality water from fresh running water is very easy through RO and low cost. But we are talking about desalination, which is taking brackish and/or seawater for producing fresh water. That process takes a lot of energy to pressurize the water and force it through the membranes for leaving the salt behind, and also produces a lot of reject brines.

        • Omega Z

          Well it’s not always so fresh lake water, but yeah, salt makes it a bit harder, I agree. They use the 50/50 process. 50% goes back into the lake. I’ll also say that Lab results are different then product in market. They take a lot of time to implement. Maybe we can Ration the water to the Lab techs to provide incentive for them to hurry it up. 🙂

  • Karl

    Strange comment from A. Rossi to my mind. Desalination was one of the first no brainier application I thought about in regard to the E-Cat. This especially after I was involved in a study of how oil rich Kuwait used large part of their oil to make their parks green.

    • Job001

      Looking forward desalination has a good learning curve, getting less energy intensive. Carbon film is anticipated to further reduce the remaining 40-50% energy related cost significantly since strong water permeable film has been shown in research to be excellent. Consequently, it is an electrical power issue already for large scale and more so in the future, except for very small scale where distributed desalination will favor LENR done thermally, IMO.
      Combine that with more economical drip systems and local LENR with thermal desalination can be a great system. Local LENR is way down the road after the big cats eat first.

      • Omega Z

        What about an R.O. self cleaning filter that processes water like straining it thru a cheese cloth.

        • Job001

          That is a different kind of research that I would not do. Nor would Rossi, Given energy research is his business, not how to use it. As you’ve noted, R.O. research is competitive.

          • Omega Z

            I fully agree, Rossi should focus on the E-cat. Let others worry about the water.
            I would note however that many think it’s Rossi’s Job001 to fix everything.

    • John De Herrera

      Still, the BEST intro application of the E-Cat is heat for Industrial Boilers! All heat, no electrical production. Later, when E-Cat is able to create electricity efficiently, go for desalination and many other applications. jdh

    • Omega Z

      Saudi Arabia has dumped a ton of money into R.O. research the world over. They don’t see a future for the MSF process even if using Sun Heat which would be free.