When something is given the acronym LENR and your name is Len Rosen, it is hard for me not to sit up and take notice. LENR stands for low energy nuclear reactor which is also known as cold fusion. Cold fusion is nuclear fusion occurring at ambient (room) temperatures. When Drs. Stanley Pons and Martin Fleischmann at the University of Utah first announced their discovery in March 1989 it was met with speculation by the fusion science community. Fusion without a plasma containment field, without extreme pressures, without extreme temperatures, without a tokamak or pulse lasers? Unheard of, preposterous. Since then and even before 1989 cold fusion experiments had been carried out with lots of people trying to demonstrate the technology in laboratory settings. None has proven to stand the test of scientific orthodoxy.
Enter Andrea Rossi, an Italian inventor of E-Cat, the energy catalyzer. In a headline dated July 16, 2012, a new Australian company, E-Cat Australia announced that it was taking orders for a 10-Kilowatt home unit and 1-Megawatt industrial unit with delivery promised by mid-2013.
On the website the cost of the home unit is estimated between $2,000 and $2,500 Australian dollars as posted. Refill cartridges of which you will need one every 6 months, are priced at $150. The lifetime operational estimate for each unit is 20 years. The website promises an 80% saving on electricity and gas bills. Homeowners can sign up to be on a wait list.
The E-Cat industrial unit is priced starting at $1.5 million U.S. with a promise of delivery in 3 to 4 months. Buyers are asked to place a down payment of $500,000 on the 1 Megawatt unit and more on higher output units. The company offers a 100% money-back guarantee should the unit not perform as specified.
Is this flimflammery? Are the people running E-Cat Australia bag men? The general scientific community are total skeptics about the claims Rossi makes about E-Cat technology. So how does it work and why are scientists in general calling this a load of hooey?
E-Cat uses powdered nickel and hydrogen to generate an exothermic reaction, namely heat. The heat is then used to produce energy. The device infuses the heated hydrogen into the nickel powder causing transmutation of the nickel to copper with the byproduct as much as 100 times the energy input in the form of heat.
When Rossi applied for an international patent it was rejected by the issuers as offending the generally accepted laws of physics. Although demonstrated to academics, Rossi’s E-Cat has never been independently tested and the only papers on the subject appear on his own blog site which he has given the very official name, Journal of Nuclear Physics.
At this site you can find a journal-styled article complete with mathematical formulae and posted in March 2010 called “A new energy source from nuclear fusion.” The article provides experimental results from what is referenced as “a process and apparatus not described here in detail and protected by patent in 90 countries.” It goes on to state the the process produces heat output up to 100 times the energy input through the interaction of the nickel and heated hydrogen.
When I first heard the word transmutation in documents on the E-Cat site my thoughts went back to my boy scientist days reading about alchemists who always tried to turn base metals like lead into gold.
Transmutation can happen. There is no doubt about that. You can turn lead into gold but you need an enormous amount of energy to do it and the energy you use would cost more than the value of gold that would result. Today we transmute elements all the time using particle accelerators like the Large Hadron Collider.
So I leave this question with you, is Dr. Rossi a bag man out to swindle a whole bunch of Aussie home and business owners not to say the rest of the world with his promise of cheap and clean energy? What do you think?