Rossi: Self Sustain Mode ‘By Far the Main Mode of Operation’ in 1 MW E-Cat Plant [Update #2: ‘ 2 hour’ run in SSM]

There’s another interesting Q&A on the Journal of Nuclear Physics today regarding the mode of operation in the 1 MW plant that Andrea Rossi reports is taking all of his attention at Industrial Heat these days.


In the 1MW plant operating in the factory of Industrial Heat’s customer will be the self sustaining mode important, or it will not be used, as in the Lugano test of the Hot Cat?

Andrea Rossi

The ssm should result to be by far the main mode of operation of the 1MW E-Cat. This thanks to the new control system and this also is the reason of most of the difficulties we have to overcome. Honestly, our Team is making a masterpiece, among many difficulties.
Warm Regards,

If self-sustain mode (where the electrical input is turned off) is to be ‘by far’ the main mode of operation, as Rossi says here, it would imply that COP could be much higher than the 3.2-3.6 that was measured in the Lugano test when self-sustain mode was not used at all. We must remember, however, that the reactors in the plant are low temperature E-Cats, not the high temperature ‘Hot Cats’ used in the Lugano test, so the performance could be different.

Rossi has said that in order the plant to be accepted by the customer (and for IH to get payment) it must meet certain contractual performance levels; also that it must be profitable for the customer. We don’t know what those required performance levels are, but if self-sustain mode is going to be used most of the time, it might mean that the customer is wanting the E-Cat plant to use a quite minimal level of input power to save them the maximum amount of money.


When you say “the ssm should result to be by far the main mode of operation of the 1MW E-Cat” does this mean that for the great majority of the time the input power is turned off?
If so, this should result in tremendous energy savings for the customer, shouldn’t it?

Many thanks,
Frank Acland

Frank Acland:
We are aiming at that.
Warm Regards,


There has been some discussion regarding the acronym ‘ssm’ which I asked Rossi about. According to what he said, it can mean both ‘self-sustain mode’ and ‘start-stop mode’, and according to Rossi’s comments on the JONP today, both modes are employed in the E-Cat. The start-stop mode is when the drive is turned on and off at frequent intervals, apparently to help control the E-Cat and prevent thermal runaway from destroying the reactor.

Self-sustain mode is when the reactor is able to maintain a constant temperature for prolonged periods of time without any electrical input applies

Hank Mills today asked Rossi about the use of self-sustain mode with the 1 MW plant they are working on.

In tests of the individual reactors that compose the plant, how long is the period of self sustain (in which the reactor maintains a constant or increasing temperature without input) that has been deemed to be safe for use with minimal risk of thermal runaway


Hank Mills:
The longest period of ssm we got so far with the E-Cats is 2 hours, but only after the end of the test period of the 1 MW plant in the factory of the Customer we will have reliable numbers.
Warm Regards,

In response to another question on the same topic, Rossi said that the control system that is being used in the 1 MW plant decided which of the two ssm control mechanisms are used with the reactors.

  • builditnow

    Converting water into steam takes a huge amount of energy which means that it has a huge cooling effect. It takes 100 calories to heat water from 0C to 100C and takes 540 calories to convert 1 gram of water to steam at 100C. This is a huge cooling effect that occurs instantly at any point the cooling jacket attempts to go above the boiling point.

    With a pressure valve, the boiling point can be raised to the desired point, the constraints being the ability of the water jacket to contain the pressure and handle the heat. 600C is common in power stations. The steam pressure release system has the advantage of being simple requiring no fancy control systems. It’s a strategy used in every car radiator and every steam based power station including fission plants and the old steam trains and your hot water boiler in your house.

  • Axil Axil

    During the first third party test(TPR1), the test team melted down the Hot-Cat on their first attempt to startup the reactor. At that point, the meltdown condition became public knowledge and well characterized. Whatever Rossi had said in the past claiming total control of the reactor was now null and void since passive sail safe control was not demonstrated.

    For your convinence as follows:

    And on self-destruct — 1MW in 10 seconds !!!!!

    James Bowery
    December 28th, 2013 at 7:54 PM

    Dr. Rossi,

    When you say that reactors “explode” when out of control, do you mean they actually produce a loud noise? Or do they merely destructively over-heat? (As apparently happened to a HotCat in this photograph during the prior validation test:)

    Andrea Rossi
    December 28th, 2013 at 8:32 PM

    James Bowery:
    Very sorry, I cannot answer to this question exhaustively, but I can say something. Obviously, the experiments are made with total respect of the safety of my team and myself. During the destructive tests we arrived to reach temperatures in the range of 2,000 Celsius degrees, when the “mouse” excited too much the E-Cat, and it is gone out of control, in the sense that we have not been able to stop the raise of the temperature ( we arrived on purpose to that level, because we wanted to study this kind of situation). A nuclear Physicist, analysing the registration of the data, has calculated that the increase of temperature ( from 1 000 Celsius to 2,000 Celsius in about 10 seconds), considering the surface that has increased of such temperature, has implied a power of 1 MW, while the Mouse had a mean power of 1.3 kW. Look at the photo you have given the link of, and imagine that the cylinder was cherry red, then in 10 seconds all the cylinder became white-blue, starting from the white dot you see in the photo ( after 1 second) becoming totally white-blue in the following 9 seconds, and then an explosion and the ceramic inside ( which is a ceramic that melts at 2,000 Celsius) turned into a red, brilliant stone, like a ruby. When we opened the reactor, part of the AISI 310 ss steel was not molten, but sublimated and recondensed in form of microscopic drops of steel.
    Warm Regards,

    • bachcole

      Axil, after giving you a hard time (and what fun that was!!!), I realized that it all depended upon what we mean by the word “safe”. A drinking cup can be unsafe if a person decides to drink too much water. I think that probably the original writer means by “safe” was that there was no way for the E-Cat to go critical and cause a hell of a nuclear mess. Obviously, anything that can get up to 1000 degrees C should not be on the list of things that would be completely safe, and of course, what you have written above unscores the inherent unsafeness of the E-Cat (or any other furnace like object).