One of the most important aspects of the E-Cat is that it requires such a small amount of ‘fuel’ to operate. The report of the Lugano test stated that only one gram of fuel (the weight of a small paper clip) was required for a run period of 32 days, and this fuel allowed the reactor to consistently produce more than 3 times as much energy as was input. The Lugano testers also reported that there was no reduction in the potency of the charge during the 32-day run.
Andrea Rossi was asked by a reader on the Journal of Nuclear Physics about the fuel used for the current operation of the 1 MW plant being tested at a customer facility — whether any fuel has been removed from, or added to the plant; if there were plans to add or remove fuel during the operation; and if the quality of fuel has met expectations.
One of the things we have to test is the duration of a charge under the stress of a 1 MW plant in a long period. We plan not to change the charge until we have a decrease of efficiency, to check which is its real duration under stress. Due information about this issue will be given at the end of the test, probably within one year. Good question.
Again, Rossi emphasizes here that this is the first time a commercial-grade plant has been long-term tested ‘under stress’ (or under load) — meaning that the plant is currently doing work in a customer’s production facility, providing a constant output of steam to provide heat for some as-yet unknown purpose. So far, it sounds like there has not been any reduction in potency of the fuel, and from what Rossi has reported, it sounds like the plant has been running for a number of weeks now.
Rossi has said in the past that he expected that E-Cat charges would need to be changed every six months, but that was a conservative estimate, and the duration could be longer in real-world applications. This current operation will be very useful in determining the life-cycle of the E-Cat’s fuel.