We don’t know for sure what the E-Cat X is comprised of, but Andrea Rossi has said it uses different materials in the reactor compared to the old version of the Hot Cat tested at Lugano which used nickel powder along with lithium and hydrogen. From some recent comments by Andrea Rossi and Tom Darden it might be that the E-Cat X is using either palladium and/or platinum.
Steve Karels asked Rossi today on the Journal of Nuclear Physics the following questions, and Rossi’s answers are provided:
Dear Andrea Rossi,
In you posting with Hank Mills, you indicated that eCat technology with other metals, namely Palladium and Platinum, might be possible even though they are more expensive than Nickel. Can we therefore assume:
a. You have experimented with Palladium and with Platinum in eCat technology use? AR: yes
b. Are you saying that for specific, unique applications, Palladium or Platinum might have a possible advantage over Nickel? AR: this issue is the subject of a patent we are preparing
Separately, in Tom Darden’s interview with Fortune Magazine he specifically mentioned platinum and palladium when he talked about the patent that Andrea Rossi was recently awarded by the USPTO. He said:
Rossi was awarded an important U.S. patent recently, which is part of what we licensed, covering the use of nickel, platinum or palladium powders, as well as other components, in his heat-producing device.
The fact that Rossi is currently preparing a patent that covers Pd and Pt may be a hint that they are used in a technology they are currently developing — this could point to the E-Cat X.
One issue the use of palladium and platinum raises is that of cost. Nickel is far cheaper than these metals, and being able to use a common metal like nickel in an E-Cat has been one of the attractive features of E-Cat technology. If Pd and Pt are going to be used in the reactor mix it would raise the price of fuel — although it may be that only small amounts would be needed. If demand for E-Cat technology was high, this could also drive up the price of the metals used. There’s not much information to go on so far, but Andrea Rossi seems to think that there are a lot of advantages in the E-Cat X compared to the old Hot Cat (although he does not specify exactly what they are), so maybe if there are cost differences, the advantages may outweigh the extra expense.