E-Cat stands for “energy catalyzer” and is an invention considered by many to be one of the most important discoveries of our age in terms of a technology for energy production. It is a device invented by Italian-American inventor Andrea Rossi. Patent disclosures state that powdered nickel metal, lithium and lithium aluminum hydride (LaAlH4) are combined to produce large amounts of heat, far in excess of possible chemical reactions, through a little understood low energy nuclear reaction (LENR) process inside a reaction chamber.
In this process, when an external heat source is applied (Electric or fossil) to the reaction chamber, large amounts of thermal energy (heat) are produced, much more than the energy input into the device. From reports of tests, it appears that the reaction begins when the reactor is heated to around 60 degrees Celsius, and once the reaction is stable, the external heat can be turned off and the reaction can continue for a considerable length of time. In an October 6th test in Bologna, Italy, the E-Cat ran without external heat (referred to as ‘self-sustain mode’) for almost four hours, maintaining a constant temperature and boiling water continuously. In third party testing of the E-Cat, radiation detectors have found no radiation emitted by the device above background levels.
How long the E-Cat can run in self sustain mode without external heat being applied is unknown, but Andrea Rossi has said that for safe and stable operations it is necessary that the external heat source be cycled on and off.
The energy produced by the nuclear reactions can be used to heat water, and the output of the E-Cat is hot water or steam. Lead and Boron are used as a shield to prevent the release of gamma rays during the reactions, and when the reactions are complete (The hydrogen input is turned off) there is no radioactive waste.
The significance of the E-Cat as an energy source is that it can produce energy at a much cheaper rate and much more cleanly than other sources on the market. The major ingredients, nickel, lithium and hydrogen are common elements and readily available at low cost and inside the E-Cat are consumed in very small quantities. There is no release of CO2 or other greenhouse gases from the E-Cat. Unlike traditional nuclear fission power, no radioactive materials are involved, and no radioactive waste is produced.
Andrea Rossi launched the first commercial E-Cat plant, a 1 MW thermal power plant in Bologna, Italy on October 28th, 2011 which was tested and certified as being acceptable by an agent for an unknown customer. Rossi has stated that the customer is a military entity that does not want to be identified.
Rossi’s Leonardo Corporation is planning to move into the domestic market within between a year and eighteen months, and has already started production of parts for one million small 10-20 kW E-Cat units that can provide heat and air conditioning to homes. Rossi has said that his target price for these first units is going to be around $1000 each.
Rossi has said that while electrical generation is possible with this device, there is still work to do in order for E-Cats to produce electricity efficiently. The first generation of small E-Cats will not come with electrical generation capacity, but these units will be able to be retrofitted with electricity generating modules once that technology has been perfected. Second generation E-Cats will be able to produce heat, cooling and electricity.
According to Rossi, the cost of energy produced by these E-Cats will be at least one sixth of the cost of conventional sources. Every six months, E-Cat units will need to have their reaction chambers which contain processed nickel and the catalyst replaced by licensed agents of Leonardo Corporation.
Rossi has reported the development of a high temperature E-Cat reactor that can reach peak temperatures of ‘well over’ 1000 C, and are stable at around 350 C. These reactors, he says, will be capable of producing steam at temperatures that will be able to produce electricity efficiently. These high temperature reactors are only going to be available (for the time being at least) in industrial level E-Cat plants — not for home use.
Below is a photograph of one of these high temperature E-Cat units (sometimes referred to as ‘hot cats). Andrea Rossi recently provided the dimension of this reactor: “the diameter of the internal cylinder is 30 mm, the diameter of the external cylinder is 90 mm, the length of both is 330 mm.”
In May 2013, Italian blogger Daniele Passerini released a photograph (without Andrea Rossi’s approval) of a hot cat that was being tested to its maximum performance. Andrea Rossi explained in an interview on May 7, 2013 that this picture, although unauthorized, showed a Hot Cat reactor in self-sustain mode being allowed to run away — i.e. the reaction was uncontrolled.
On May 16th, 2013 a report was published by a group of European academics who were given access to a hot cat reactor over a period of about five months to test. The conclusion of the group was that the E-Cat provided energy in amounts far greater than would be possible from any chemical reaction. The report can be read here. More tests are scheduled to be done, including a 180 day test which will apparently be started this summer.
So far, Rossi has maintained that the only validation that really matters is from satisfied customers who own working E-Cats. Only when E-Cats are readily available will the forgoing information be able to be fully confirmed.
Industrial Heat, LLC Acquires the Rights to the E-Cat
In the last days of 2013 a poster on ecatnews.com noticed that Fulvio Fabiani, an engineer for Andrea Rossi’s Leonardo Corporation posted on his LinkedIn account that he was working for a company called Industrial Heat LLC, in Raleigh Durham, North Carolina. More searching uncovered the fact that Industrial Heat LLC was incorporated in 2012 and its chairman was Thomas Darden, CEO of private equity company Cherokee Investment Partners of Raleigh, North Carolina. Industrial Heat LLC and Cherokee share the same mailing address.
Further searching uncovered a report on a Chinese website that Tom Darden had travelled to China in September 2013 and had signed an agreement with Chinese officials to help establish a Sino-US Science and Technology Innovation Park in Baoding, China. One of the proposed industries listed as being installed at this park was listed as ‘nickel reactor new energy projects’ — a clear reference in the context of all this information to the E-Cat.
On January 24, 2014, Industrial Heat LLC issues a press release announcing that they had acquired intellectual property and licensing rights to Andrea Rossi’s E-Cat technology. Tom Darden, co-founder of Cherokee Investment Partners was mentioned as one of the investors behind Industrial Heat. The press release said that Industrial Heat has validated E-Cat technology by inspecting the E-Cat during performance tests, and having an independent expert certify its performance. Industrial Heat plans to embark on an industrialization effort to make the E-Cat’s use widespread, and has reached out to companies, universities and NGOs, inviting them to participate in partnerships to help develop the E-Cat. Andrea Rossi has stated recently that ultimate ownership of the E-Cat’s intellectual property still resides with Leonardo Corporation, of which he is CEO.
Third Party Test, October 2014 (The Lugano Report)
In October 2014, the team of researchers which had conducted the testing in 2013, released a new report about testing of an E-Cat reactor they had operated during a 31-day experiment during February and March, 2014 in Lugano, Switzerland. The team reported that the reactor produced over twice as much energy as was fed into it, and that during the testing analysis showed that isotopic makeup of elements used in the fuel changed significantly. See here for more information on this test.
Industrial Plant Under Test at Customer Site (2014-2015)
Starting in late 2014, Andrea Rossi reported that he was working at the site of a customer of Industral Heat, performing a long-term test of an industrial-grade 1MW E-Cat plant that was supplying heat for an unnamed industrial process. Rossi has said that at the conclusion of this test, data from the testing will be made available, and visits to the plant will be allowed by selected individuals, including members the press. Rossi has said that he expects the testing to conclude between November 2015, and February 2016.
Patent Awarded by the US Patent Office
On August 25, 2015 the US Patent and Trademark Office awarded Rossi a patent for his invention called in the application a ‘Fluid Heater’. The full text of the patent can be found here:
Year-long Test of the E-Cat Concludes
On February 27, 2016 Andrea Rossi announced on the Journal of Nuclear Physics that the year-long test of the 1MW E-Cat plant was finished. He said he expected the results to be reported in about one month.