The sinking of the E-Cat  

Posted by Big Gav in ,

Ugo at Cassandra's Legacy has an update on the tale of the "ECat" - The sinking of the E-Cat.

It was Captain Kirk of the starship "Enterprise" who said that it is not a good idea to put oneself in a no-win situation. Good advice that was not taken by Mr. Andrea Rossi, inventor of the "E-Cat," the cold fusion device that he claimed to be able to solve the world's energy problems. After having been unable to show that his device produces energy, Mr. Rossi stated that he didn't need any more tests because he could now proceed to market it in millions of pieces. But, in reality, Mr. Rossi had simply placed himself in a no-win situation. The E-Cat is now fast sinking, hit by the contradictions of its inventor.

Let's start with what Rossi himself had declared about his E-Cat. He said that it is based on the nuclear fusion of hydrogen and nickel nuclei (see Rossi's patent) and that gamma rays are produced during operation (see here) so that lead shields had to be placed inside the device. Rossi also said that he was building a factory in the United States where he would produce E-Cats by the millions to be sold as water heaters for people's homes. According to some recent statements by Rossi, the device had been undergoing safety testing for months at Underwriters Laboratory.

It couldn't go unnoticed in Florida that someone was claiming to be producing nuclear reactors in large numbers. On February 24, an officer of the State of Florida Bureau of Radiation Control went to investigate what was going on in the pretended "E-Cat factory" in Miami. There, he found no factory, but an apartment and Andrea Rossi in person. Questioned on the E-Cat, Rossi declared that "no nuclear reactions occur inside the device." Rossi also stated that all the facilities for testing and production are "overseas," and that safety certification with Underwriters Laboratory will be arranged in the future. The officer then left, writing in his report that his bureau has no jurisdiction over a device which has nothing nuclear inside. (The complete documentation is here, comments can be found here and here. Rossi himself confirmed the story here.)

No matter how we want to see this story, it is clear that Rossi has been victim of his own "no-win" strategy. First, he claimed that he had developed a nuclear device, but he never could provide convincing proof. So he said that he didn't need proof because he could just produce and sell the device - the market would judge it. But if he wanted to produce and sell the device, then he would have to obtain the necessary certifications. And how to obtain the necessary certifications after having declared that the device is based on nuclear reactions and it emits gamma rays? Surely, Rossi's word is not enough to prove that shielding with lead foil is sufficient to remove gamma rays. Maybe there are arcane reasons (as claimed in this paper) that reduce, or even eliminate, gamma ray emission. But just the possibility of such an emission would required extensive investigations and years of work. So, you see? If it is nuclear, Rossi can't sell it. If it is not nuclear, who would buy it? A classic no-win situation.

In the end, lacking experimental proof, the idea that the E-Cat produces energy rests only on Rossi's statements that say, basically, just "trust me". But after the Florida story, it is clear that this is, also, a no-win strategy. How can you trust Rossi after so many contradictions? Where is the E-Cat factory that he said was in the US and then, no, it is overseas? Most likely, there isn't one. And where is the safety testing (not) being done? Incidentally, if, hypothetically, the E-Cat were really producing nuclear reactions, we should think of Rossi as a dangerous criminal who lied to the Florida officer about his plans to produce and sell a device that generates gamma rays without the necessary safety certifications. That Rossi can't be trusted has been clearly perceived also by Rossi's supporters, who have been abandoning the sinking ship: for instance Sterling Allan. The University of Bologna had wisely disengaged from Rossi already in January.


Anonymous   says 11:59 PM

As Mats Lewander at Ny teknik often points out. "Inventing" something and "producing" something is a different ball game.

Countless of god inventors have ended bankrupt. In Mr. Rossi's case he don't trust anybody, the patent system or the legal system.. or customers or investors.

Many have described him as a challenging personalty. Said that, I I don't think it's fair to call him a fraud.

And as Mr Mats Lewander often had says.. it's not what you say but what the other guy hears that counts.

My Rossi may not be a fraud but there is zero evidence his device actually works so far.

Given the lack of transparency and numerous red flags I find it hard to put much store in what he says - but I'll retain an open mind about any future cold fusion / fission devices...

Anonymous   says 2:51 AM

Having read his blog, I always wondered how he could spend so much time answering, even shortly, all these messages. A very polite and careful person.

Now, I happen to have work on 2 different scientific fields, where every scientist would claim everything was clearly undestood and nothing was to happen (exactly as in the so called "cold fusion" field).

Each time, new approaches appeared (from random worlwide labs) and totally shifted the initial paradigms.

And both time, the shift came from a material related (catalytic) solution instead of an initial physical phenomena.

This personal experience explains why I did paid attention to Mr Rossi's claims.

To secure the help of the rest of the scientific community, he had to present his invention without referring to nuclear phenomena, and limit the publication down to only the smallest reproductible effects.

It seems that through the publications of other scientists on his blog, we understand that some bias phenomena are beyond their reach and Mr Rossi's struggle could help them find the answers anyhow.

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