Rossi on Heat, COP and Natural Gas

Today on the Journal of Nuclear Physics, Peter Fosberg made a comment regarding the COP measurements mentioned in terms of the E-Cat. He considers COP a misnomer since the E-Cat consumes electricity and produces heat — and if there is to be efficient electricity generation with an E-Cat, you will need 3 times the amount of heat produced to break even. Fosberg said, “Heat energy is the most useless type of energy that you can have, whereas electrical energi is a very versitile type of energy. It is easy to go from electrical energy to heat, but not vice versa.”

Andrea Rossi responded with an uncharacteristically long post:

Peter Forsberg:
Thank you for your comment.
I think we must make a distinction between the COP under a scientific point of view, related to the Thermodynamic first and second principles, and the commercial point of view; besides, we also have to make a distinction between thermal energy market and electric power market.
The COP ( Coefficient Of Performance) under a scientific point of view is correct as it is calculated in all the existing literature on the matter, because of the equivalence, under the energetic point of view, of a thermal kWh and an electric kWh.
Thermal energy is a necessary commodity, without thermal energy most of the industrial activities could not be performed and 3/4 of mankind could not work ( or survive) during the cold months. To say that thermal energy is a useless type of energy is groundless.
The fact that nuclear plants and also most of the existing electric power generators working with the Carnot cycle waste about 2/3 of the energy does not mean that thermal energy is a waste, means that we waste 2/3 of the energy, which is a completely different thing. In the smartest plants heat is recovered, as you surely know, by co-generation and by the most recent tri-generation, and the heat is sold, not wasted. Your Country ( Sweden) is very advanced in centralized heat distribution, as you obviously know.
Still remains a part of heat ( about 20%, if I am not wrong) that necessarily gets lost , not because heat is a waste, but because exhaust gases must be expelled above a certain temperature ( if I am not wrong about 150°C) to avoid looping and fogs, and this is an unavoidable cost in terms of heat for power generators that use the Carnot cycle.
On the contrary, you are right about the fact that the commercial ( not physical) COP of the E-Cat must be divided by a factor 3 in case of electric power production, because if we use electricity to drive the E-Cat, to make 1 kWh of electricity is necessary to burn 3 kWh from a thermal fuel. As you correctly say, to make the E-Cat convenient to produce electric power we need one of the following at least:
1- get a COP > 3
2- make the E-Cat work with gas instead of electricity, issue upon which we are making strong R&D with problems to resolve ( casually, your comment arrives after the day during which- while riding my bike- I got a very good idea that could resolve the problems: if this new invention works, soon we will have the gas driven E-Cats, but there is work to do).
Thank you for your intelligent comment,
Warm Regards,

It seems that so far, even though Rossi and Industrial Heat have been working on natural-gas powered E-Cats for some time, that there have been significant problems involved — but it appears that natural gas solution would help with the economics of the E-Cat significantly, and thus would be an important achievement. Natural gas has become much cheaper in North America since the fracking revolution has allowed for major production increases.

However, I don’t think it is wise to count on the long-term availability of cheap natural gas. Commodity prices rise and fall based on various factors, and as we have seen with the recent IPCC report there are political forces that could apply restrictions on any kind of fossil fuels in the coming years and decades.

Still, a natural gas cat could make a lot of sense in the short term, and it looks like IH is going to continue to persue R&D in this area — especially now Rossi has a had new brainwave to work on!

  • MontagueWithnail

    Surely, when he says natural gas, he really just means thermal input – with natural gas being the obvious thermal fuel choice for now. That could be switched to coal, or biomass – or heat generated by another eCat – depending on convenience and economics.

  • Iggy Dalrymple

    admin – “However, I don’t think it is wise to count on the long-term availability of cheap natural gas.”
    Successful use of gas powered e-Cat would guarantee low-priced natural gas……because natgas and coal would be the main fuels displaced.

  • bkrharold

    My understanding is that the ecat uses certain pulsed electromagnetic frequencies as an integral part of its operation. This is beside the heat required to initiate and maintain the reaction.
    It would be much better to use solar energy instead of gas. There are now some very advanced flow cell batteries with large capacities that are quite cheap. They can store the energy for use at night. Let’s keep the ecat green

  • Albert D. Kallal

    If the e-cat outputs a COP 5-6 range (in the so called self sustain mode, or what we now know to be an on/off cycle mode), then one should be able to run a generator off this setup. We don’t know the COP of this reactor in a commercial setting, but someone should simply ask Rossi what COP they are seeing and what COP they expect in their current commercial plant?

  • Obvious

    Titan (a moon of Saturn) has plenty of non-organic hydrocarbons.

  • ecatworld

    Well I am only going from what Andrea Rossi has said — that he works at the factory of Industrial Heat which is in the Research Triangle area of North Carolina, or at the factory of the customer where they are installing the 1 MW plant — which he says is somewhere in the USA.

  • Steve H

    I wonder if Rossi has tried to push air through the centre of a an eCat and used the hot exhaust gases to feed through the centre of a series positioned – eKitten. If you loop the hot gas back to the eCat through a modulated heat exchanger and add a bypass around the eKitten – it would give independent control of the heat going through each one. It also provides free control heat to the Kitten.
    Add a manifold from the eCat and this could then control several Kittens.

    Just a thought!

    • Alain Samoun

      Well the demonstrated E-Cat reactor was closed both sides,this means to me that it needs a controlled atmosphere, don’t you think?

  • bitplayer

    More bike rides?

    • Alain Samoun

      The answer my friend is blowin’ in the wind. 😉

  • Bob Greenyer

    I agree, but as much as SKINNER would like to share it, it is Energetics proprietary technology. Sad.

  • ivanc

    Let suppose the e-cat is real and uses a new to be accepted principle.
    For Rossi to make the most of it, He needs a patent.
    An stringent protocol for the test and secrets to be keep.
    He needs independent verification and pier review. (at least two teams)

    Publication in a scientific magazine.
    He got 11 Million, but He could get billions for it.
    Energy is the most desired commodity.
    Why he keeps going around and around. I am following him for about 5 years and the one megawatt was offered to be fully functional 4 year ago. but we drag this chain of tests with complicate measurements with data that shows errors in measurements.
    Electricity is easy to measure, yes if you use DC or pure sinusoidal AC.
    But if you needlessly use three phase with a distorted wave it turn into a niche field for and expert in electrical measurements (there is two subjects just dedicated to this in the graduated studies of electrical engineering, and are not easy subjects)
    Now instead of Phase, Rossi Knows it could run on gas, He stated in the past the electrical energy is only to produce heat for the ecat, so any kind of energy or electricity could be used.
    so use DC is the easy electricity to measure.
    The RF generator also gives input power, Why it was not measured?, at least measure its raw consumption

    • Freethinker

      ivanc, you seem to be a very unhappy camper.

      Note that there are two independent test reports.

      You are also loosing me in your ranting about the small amount of money he has received. The $11M you are referring to is the investment capital that Cherokee and Thomas Darden has managed to pull into IH, for further development. You have absolutely no idea about what contract Rossi has with IH. For all you know he could surpass Bill Gates in 10 years time in fortune.

      Also, what timeline are you living by? You started follow Rossi in 2009? He did have a 1 MW plant 2010? I think you are wrong.

      I know for a fact you are wrong in your arguments about the power feeding to the Inconel wires. Each line is powered with a frequency of pulses. The Inconel wires are coiled and will generate an electromagnetic field inside the core. That will create a pulsed electromagnetic field inside the reactor. What do you mean that RF is not measured? The control box was also checked and drew only a small amount of power.

      Perhaps a second read through of the report will help you see these facts?

    • Omega Z

      “He got 11 Million, but He could get billions for it.”

      To have sold his technology for Billions would have required a Manufacturing business up & running based on market share & projected growth. Enter GE/Siemens Business deal.

      This is not the situation. It is a product in development.

      Rossi received $11+ Million with a total of $20 Million when certain milestones are reached. He will then get a percentage of sales once they go to market(About 2% of manufactures cost). Over about 20 years, Rossi or his estate likely will make several Billion$. That’s how it works. That is the standard arrangement in these developments with little room for variation.

      As to a Gas cat, Still R&D and whether it works is yet to be seen. If it does, It will still require Electricity for control. In the previous TPR, this Electrical control utilized about 110 watts. This was calculated into the COP at that time as it should be. This number was obtained during the self sustain mode. The Latest test ran 24/7 so a specific number was not readily available, but we can assume it was similar(+/-) to the previous test. Other then speculation, I have no clue of how that breaks down to control electronics verse RF or what ever.

  • Ophelia Rump

    There could be both. I have very little doubt that there are both.

    If there were not non-biological hydrocarbons, where did the tar in the La Brea tar pits originally come from, since it swallowed dinosaurs whole.

  • Gerard McEk

    The connection between a gas fired Ecat (hotcat) and COP is interesting. If you do not need electricity to drive the Ecat (but gas), then you can generate electicity without too much (heat) loss. In case of a gas fired Hotcat you do not need to count for the bad efficiency of generating electricity, of which again a considerable part is needed to drive the Ecat.In other words: You can more efficiently generate electricity with a gas fired Ecat.

    • Axil Axil

      The best way to drive an E-Cat is with its own heat, that is, to make it self sustaining. Then the COP would be infinite. Rossi needs to figure out how to do that.

      • Gerard McEk

        I fully agree, but Rossi needs to increase the COP of the Ecat to 10 or more then.

      • malkom700

        You said fundamental idea. Over the certain COP for exammple COP 6 E-Cat can be considered as self sustaining machine essentially. It would be enough if we only understand so many in issues the COP.

  • Fibber McGourlick

    If the e-cat energy is ten to a hundred times cheaper than competing resources (and is clean to boot) I don’t think it matters that much, comparatively, if there’s a thirty percent loss. (I’m remembering that a gram of the magic powder equals 10 gallons of gasoline.) Of course it would be nice to improve the efficiency, where possible, and that will undoubtedly come in time.

  • Ophelia Rump

    Where Does Electricity Come From?

  • LEVI506

    Note: To be classified as a Co-generation plant here in the United States, a power generating plant is required to send a small percentage (5 or 6%) of their total steam produced to service a second parties needs, such as down hole steam for oil liquefaction or use in food prep etc. Seldom is the latent heat of vaporization able to be used and is almost always lost,

    • Omega Z

      You will find it in the large metropolis settings. New York Etc..
      Some is used in fish farms & such, but most is not utilized as the power plants are not located where it can be easily utilized.
      E-cat/LENR technology may change all that as it can be more widely dispersed at point of use rather then Centralized 10’s or 100’s of miles away. A local manufacturer at the cities edge can take advantage of this excess heat.

  • Obvious

    I was just thinking that Rossi’s English had greatly improved over the last couple of years.

    • Axil Axil

      Rossi could be using a proof reader to improve the readability of his posts.

      • Obvious

        His blog has given him much opportunity to practice. I bet he can write very well when he takes his time.

        • ecatworld

          He’s now working pretty much full time in the US, presumably surrounded by many English speakers. His English is bound to improve.

  • Mike

    In the new Ecodesign system across EU the system efficiency for space heating devices uses the primary energy input, ie. electricity use is multiplied by, not 3.0, but approx 2.5. That corresponds to the average power plant efficiency. New gas-fired combined cycles can reach 60 percent efficincy for example, and have very low flue gas temperatures, far below 100 degree C.

  • Axil Axil

    I have always believed that the Ni/H reactor should have been based on
    a liquid metal heat pipe concept. The heat pipe concept is required
    to keep the reaction zone inside the E-Cat free of combustion gases
    that might come from using natural gas as a external heat source.

    The heat pipe is a great heat isolation and transfer technique used to
    move heat in a controlled manor. Heat flow in heat pipes can be setup
    to use computer controlled flow valves to regulate how much heat
    stimulation that a E-Cat might receive. As central Lithium storage
    reservoir can connect all the 103 E-Cats together whereby the heat
    from a subset of hot E-Cats could stimulate the reaction in a subset
    of cooler and less active E-Cats.

    The common Lithium reservoir might be initially bought up to operating
    temperature using natural gas. As the E-Cat array got rolling, the
    natural gas external heat source could be shut off and the E-Cat
    array could run in self sustaining mode.

    Furthermore, the excess heat from the reservoir could be used to to power a
    turbine to produce electricity at high efficiency as well as provide
    high quality industrial heat and hydrogen for the chemical industry.
    A lithium heat pipe system would be a good fit to operated in a Ni/H
    reactor heat range at about 1300C to 1400C.
    It is possible that a Rossi competitor using this idea or a similar on could beat
    Rossi at his own game in the high end industrial heat marketplace.

    • Fortyniner

      I agree. Heat is just heat, and the only logical way to drive multiple e-cats is to common together the outputs by means of a shared thermal store, so that heating becomes self sustaining after initial ‘start up’ input. If there is an EM or RF component, there seems no reason why this shouldn’t operate independently.

      However, lithium’s boiling point of 1342°C may be too low, and liquid lithium is truly nasty stuff (as are other light metals such as sodium and potassium. Lead (BP 1750°C), tin (BP 2603°C) or aluminium (BP 2519°C) might be better choices.

      • Axil Axil

        A way to modify the boiling point of the heat transfer agent in a heat pipe is the add or reduce pressure. Lithium heat pipes run at a slight vacuum to adjust the temperature of heat transfer agent vaporization point. This operating temperature could be adjusted through on the fly pressure control using a computer to match the liquid metal vaporization point to the operating temperature of the reactor.

  • Christopher Calder

    Natural gas can supply the needed heat, but what about the electromagnetic stimulation/control mechanism?

    • Maybe it’s possible to reduce this to work for days with a car battery. Also easy to verify if the ecat is fraud or real not understood science.

  • A natural gas cat would also be easier to measure from a scientific pov.
    Burn, let’s say 1kg of gas, to heat the ecat and look what the ecat is producing.

    Less easier than measuring complex electrical input.

    • Frechette

      For a competent electrical engineer electrical power is the easiest and most accurate
      measurement that can be performed in fact more accurate than depending on the heating value of natural gas. The skeptics would have a field day arguing that natural gas heating value is all over the map.

      • Omega Z

        And the Skeptics would be right.
        Pre-heating Natural Gas can have serious impact on the Btu’s obtainable when burnt. A Gas line that travels a long enough distance in a heated crawl space or basement can actually reduce the amount of gas used in winter heating. Note the Gas Utilities are well aware of this fact. The Skeptics would also bring up the issue that N-Gas comes in different qualities.

        • Frechette

          You make my point. Using electrical energy instead of natural gas gets away from all the variables. We should leave the skeptics no quarter.