This comment was originally posted by Omega Z on this thread.
Most of you see the shipping container full of hardware and have concerns about the 1MW E-Cat plant’s cost. The cost is a valid consideration, but needs to be taken into perspective. What portion of that hardware is required regardless of the heat supply? Most of it; only the E-cat specifics will add higher costs.
The boiler tank, heat exchangers, most of the plumbing & sensors would be required for any system, gas or electric. If gas was used, there would be gas valves and an array of safety sensors. It would require expensive burner tubes made of a nickel alloy. It would also have a combustion air blower. Electric would be somewhat simpler, but is a higher value energy.
In the past, Rossi and others have discussed payback time, usually posed as: how much savings does the E-cat have to make in order to pay for itself? As a sales point, this is actually a miscalculation. It should be posed as the difference between a conventional versus an E-Cat boiler. Following are some rough numbers to give an idea about how to calculate the savings.
If the conventional boiler costs $500K, and the E-cat boiler costs $800K, then the (savings/payback) required is $300K within in x-time. If x-time is 3-5 years, this is an easy business call. If the E-Cat replaces an electric boiler, anything beyond COP=1 is positive. If it’s replacing a gas boiler, anything beyond COP=3 is positive as 1 & 3 are about breakeven energy cost respective to the E-cat.
Replacing an electric boiler with an electric E-Cat boiler.
Keep in mind, cost will vary by region, and large energy users also get special bulk rate and bypass some middle costs. This is just an example.
1MW=1000KW at (10 cents ??) a kilowatt would be $100 per hour. $2400 a day times 365 days=$876,000
COP=1 annual costs $876,000
COP=2 saves 50% or $438,000
COP=4 saves 75% or $657,000
COP=8 saves 87.5% or $766.500
COP=16 saves 93.75% or $821.250
I took it this far (COP=16) to show not just the savings, but to show that you get diminishing returns. As the COP increases exponentially, The savings decrease exponentially. Also, I think COP=20 kind of hits the wall. Even if it stays in self-sustain mode (SSM) all the time, you still have to include the control panel energy use. Only a fool would want something you have no control of.
If I were Rossi, and obtained COP=20 including the control power, I would change tack. Say if the control panel of a 1MW plant uses 1000 watts for the control, I would look at the possibility of bringing that down to 500 watts. You just doubled COP to 40.
At that point, I would just sell them because who wants to quibble about fractions of a watt per 1000 watts gained. Additional efforts become kind of silly.
P.S. COP calculations will be different for replacing a gas boiler with an electric E-cat. You start at COP=3 & double 6,12,24, Etc to calculate savings as to the chart.
Note. Some get caught up in the higher & higher COP. This does not give you more energy per se. A 10KWh E-cat is still a 10KWh E-cat. Higher COP just makes it cheaper to operate. As you can see, the benefits of higher COP become seriously diminished after COP=10. In fact, COP=20 only saves an additional 5%. COP=40 another 2.5%.
Finding a better means for conversion of heat to electric is far more important after COP=10.