Has Rossi demonstrated Cold Fusion?

Well, over at WUWT, it looks like a firm “maybe”:

http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/10/28/test-of-rossis-1-mw-e-cat-fusion-system-apparently-successful/

The basic claim is that the ‘client’ chose to run at reduced power of 470 kW with no external power input to show closed loop net power production rather than at the full 1 mW with external power making control easier.

All the usual hems and haws apply, with plenty of ‘not as open disclosure as promised’ et. al. Yet, the assertion is now made that the open loop run was done and:

According to the customer’s controller, Domenico Fioravanti, the plant released 2,635 kWh during five and a half hours of self sustained mode, which is equivalent to an average power of 479 kilowatts – just under half the promised power of one megawatt.

Kind of hard to fake that many kWh with no external power in.

Guess it’s time for the backbiting, recriminating, name calling, and assertions of fraud to commence again.

I’d give it a month until we have it pretty well shown as ‘in production’ or ‘unexpected issues prevent actual use’ (OR close observation). At any rate, time to put it back on the radar.

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About E.M.Smith

A technical managerial sort interested in things from Stonehenge to computer science. My present "hot buttons' are the mythology of Climate Change and ancient metrology; but things change...
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24 Responses to Has Rossi demonstrated Cold Fusion?

  1. Jason Calley says:

    For something that could be a potential game changer (if real, and YES, I know that that is a big IF) even a qualified confirmation is worth noting.

    As you say, time will tell. Sure would be nice though… I’ve always wanted to see steam locomotives come back. Maybe even Heinlein’s early steam driven rocket ships! (Though that would take very high temperature steam.)

    :)

  2. kuhnkat says:

    Yup, there is still a little room for there h=to have been fraud.

    What I find interesting is the repeated references to heating up and instability in self powered mode requiring throttling down the output for stability. Wonder if these things can be caused to blow up and how up is up?? Of course it may just mean that it falls out of self powered mode and stops. With the heating doesn’t sound like it though.

    I notice Lubos Motl is very negative about this. Wonder if the physics required for this to work as advertised upsets some of the String theory or other physics he believes in???

  3. bruce says:

    I’ve been following Rossi’s tests over at the “next big future”, the consensus remains fraud. Mainly caused by the inappropriate means Rossi uses in his “shows”.

  4. Jason Calley says:

    @ bruce “I’ve been following Rossi’s tests over at the “next big future”, the consensus remains fraud.”

    Very possible, even likely. Still, one wonders how big the error bars are on that opinon! :)

    As for Lubos Motl, I am reminded of Arthur C. Clarke’s quote:
    If an elderly but distinguished scientist says that something is possible, he is almost certainly right; but if he says that it is impossible, he is very probably wrong.

    Of course Lubos is not elderly, but why is it so difficult to just say, “This violates the principles which we today believe to be true; Rossi cannot be correct unless our current ideas are incomplete.” Until we have more evidence, that seems to be the simplest and most accurate description of the state of things regarding Rossi’s cold fusion.

  5. E.M.Smith says:

    What bothers me about the ‘instability’ is that it ought to be solvable via a big energy storage step. Be it a capacitor, battery, or heat sink: IF you have instabilities they can be smoothed by storage of the working energy flow.

    That requires that either they don’t know this, or don’t want to ‘go there’. Kind of odd. (Or perhaps, it’s just more work than they want to do…)

    At any rate, having gotten excited about the first Pons & Fl. claims, I’ve got a much higher level of proof now to get excited again. Basically, it’s s nice show; now run it for a month with dramatic net energy produced and show us the power bill and the energy sales income…

    From last time we looked at this, I’m pretty sure I can see a way for it to work that doesn’t take a whole lot of new physics, just some unexpected behaviours of hydrogen when mostly inside the electron shells of a metal ion (that whole ‘bond length less than atomic radius’ issue..) But we’ve got to see the whole process, start to end, and including the ‘waste products’ of a nice long run before it’s going to be a ‘done deal’ for me.

    At any rate, they are saying “production run worked”, so now they must produce, literally. Hard to fake 1 MW net energy production for a few months… The power company would notice the size of the bill ;-)

  6. EM, I just read a little about the device here http://www.nyteknik.se/nyheter/energi_miljo/energi/article3144827.ece
    Not everyone here may understand the units correctly. A kilocalorie (kcal) (definition) is the amount of heat required to raise 1kg of water 1degree Celsius. However, a kcal is not a fundamental unit in the SI system. The Joule (j) is a derived unit from a) the gas constant, b) electical work & c) mechanical work. The recognised simple conversion factor from kcal to kj is 1kcal=4.186 kj.
    A joule/second is a watt W ( which is recognised as power or energy flow)

    The net energy production of the Rossi unit was heat energy measured by the flow of water and the temperature increase -not electrical or mechanical power. In a coal fired power plant the efficiency of energy conversion from the specific energy of the coal to electrical energy, via heating water to steam driving a steam turbine which is coupled to a generator, is about 37%.
    There could be a number of reasons why the temperature of Rossi’s unit or units need to be restricted. Maybe he has not sufficient water flow capacity, maybe he is concerned about steam pressures and temperature (ie safety) and maybe he is concerned about the destruction of the lead shielding. All things which could be solved by engineering with enough money.

    The big issue is the financial viability in the various sizes for the purpose, ie the cost of hydrogen, the nickel catalyst and the equipment & controls. Could it be viable against a petrol engine for a car – unlikely due to the cost of hydrogen & its difficulies of transport. Could it be viable in small scale regional power (ie 25 to 100MW/unit) -maybe in time but the hydrogen still needs to be produced. Could it be viable for large scale power (>1000MW/unit) -doubtful at least for the next 50yrs, now there is coal and development of nuclear fission particularly thorium.

    Engineers have been developing all sorts of catalysts for new or enhanced reactions for chemical or physical changes. Physicists have always been behind (ie playing catch up) with experimentation performed by engineers. Maybe Rossi et al are on to something which will require a new interpretation of some physics theories but who cares (beside physicists) if it works and can be scaled to be a viable plant.

  7. George says:

    The problem isn’t that power was generated, the problem is at what cost. What is the cost per kilowatt to produce this power?

    I find it interesting that the amount of power generated is almost exactly the same as the power generated by a ton of coal. Unita Basin low sulfur coal is about $41 per ton. So this amount of power could have been generated for about $50 by conventional means.

  8. adolfogiurfa says:

    Rossi´s conversion of Ni into Cu is “reversed alchemy and reversed economics” turning a more expensive material into a cheaper one.

    Cold fusion may happen more easily in a demineralizer, where water, if conveniently recycled, usually decreases its pH, which means more H+ ions than OH- ions, where a few H+ ions could fuse into Helium, then increasing temperature of product water.

  9. E.M.Smith says:

    I’m not so much worried about the economic viability of a very first cut engineering solution. It will be made much more efficient over time. That’s just what engineering does.

    What will be intensely interesting is if they prove cold fusion is real. The shift of world view that will bring will change the world. When every NICKLE asteroid is a gold mine of energy, well, “things will change’… When the fantasy of ‘running out’ is dead, at least for 100,000 years; things will change…

    When anyone with a bucket of water, chunk of metal, and some electricity can demonstrate the effect; things will change.

    It’s the change that’s interesting ;-)

  10. George says:

    The problem I have is the secrecy.

  11. Ed Forbes says:

    the one item I find encouraging is: proof first—money second.

    Most frauds are: money first–proof second

  12. R. Shearer says:

    What are the chances a convicted felon (tax fraud and illegal dumping of toxic waste) might be involved in another dubious enterprise?

    From the amateurish calorimetry to the reported copper and iron products exhibiting their natural isotopic ratios, this thing smells. An eight of an inch of lead will shield all radiation? I don’t think so. Isn’t it funny that a detector was not placed inside the shield to show radiation when the device is producing energy?

    Rossi claims to have received a degree in chemical engineering from Kennsington University in California. Really? A real degree from a university that operates out of a suite in Glendale?

    He claims that he was a pioneer that led to today’s use of biodiesel.

    http://newenergytimes.com/v2/sr/RossiECat/RossiPetroldragonStory.shtml

  13. kuhnkat says:

    R. Shearer,

    there is some discussion that Rossi was targeted by the Mob in Italy because he would not let them buy in and was possibly not the perpetrator of what he was convicted on. I am still open on that.

    Still, if I had a large amount of money I would only be trying to purchase a personal unit to test!! 8>)

  14. adolfogiurfa, you said:

    “Rossi´s conversion of Ni into Cu is “reversed alchemy and reversed economics” turning a more expensive material into a cheaper one.”

    1 pound of nickel ~$10
    1 pound of copper ~ $3
    Loss of $7 per pound

    However, you need to add in the value of the 4 TJ of heat produced.

    How much coal would you need to burn to get the same 4 TJ of heat?
    Answer: ~ 116 tonnes, costing about $25,000.

  15. Frank Ch. Eigler says:

    “Kind of hard to fake that many kWh with no external power in.”

    But the “plant” was connected to a running generator during the whole run, and the amount of generated power is measured indirectly at best.

  16. Ric Werme says:

    @ E.M.Smith: What bothers me about the ‘instability’ is that it ought to be solvable via a big energy storage step

    My guess is (Rossi hasn’t offered many tidbits in his blog comments) is that he doesn’t have many input controls and the reaction rate is strongly temperature dependent. Basically the three inputs are hydrogen, water, and resistance heating.

    A little hydrogen goes a long way, and if it’s adsorbed onto the Ni, just venting it out of the device will have little effect for a while.

    If he’s using constant speed pumps and hand-turned valves, then response time to that is a bit slow.

    A thermostat for the resistive heating is easy.

    So the early systems may have relied on that for the main control mechanism. Keeping the gain as a finite number is good engineering. :-)

    I haven’t seen any hints about the 1 MW system, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s controlling water flow or blending in cold water to keep things controlled. Pure speculation on my part. Before this, Rossi said the self-sustaining mode was unstable and difficult to control. One of the drawbacks of infinite gain (or positive feedback if some of the output was used to keep the input hot enough).

    Over at WUWT, the more scientifically minded folks are completely bent out of shape over Rossi’s actions (and the physics-as-we-know-it folks are certain its all a scam).

    People who’ve actually been involved in rolling out new products seem to be in the minority and are willing to live with results for now (if it’s not a scam) than the scientific disproof.

    I’ve been decreed a cheerleader, so take everything I say with the same skepticism the Italian legal system deserves. :-)

  17. P.G. Sharrow says:

    @Ric Werme : Rick, your observations on the “Ecat” are similar to my own. Control of this very crude device seems rudimentry to me and appears to barely work. One should consider this to be on the level of a working crystal set when everyone expects a transistor radio.
    The latest device appears to be a 3 element set and uses some amount of frequency EMF input for start up. I think that this should be expanded for output control. The need is to push or pull the reaction “across the line” of needed atomic density. This would also allow for more stable “cat/fuel” elements.
    Much of “physics-as-we-know-it” is a scam! What the world needs is more Cheerleaders for work that expands our horizons! Keep up the good work. pg

  18. E.M.Smith says:

    @Ric Werme:

    I’ve been involved with new product roll-outs. Guess that’s why I’m more forgiving too ;-)

    I’ve also seen more “improbable things that work” (including Josephson Junctions) than I care to think about. Heck, even Woz was told that his disk drive controller would not work. AFTER having sold a zillion of them when he went back to school incognito to get a degree ;-) Bet that academic feels a bit odd at cocktail parties…

    So I’m willing to wait and see if it really works.

    The idea of resistance control of electric heat would make sense. If he’s just making heat, he can’t then use it to power the resistance heaters. So either run at low temps (keeping power excursions in the slow and far from runaway realm) OR have some external electric power source on a fast electronic control and run hotter. On the ‘someday’ list being ‘add electric generation and close the loop with the electric heaters’. Makes sense.

  19. P.G. Sharrow says:

    It appears Rossi has made the sale and the customer is satisfied. He is now offering 1MW systems for $2,000,000 ($2.00 per watt) and guarantees a COP of 6. pg

  20. E.M.Smith says:

    @P.G. Sharrow:

    $2 / Watt isn’t exactly cheap. Guess he’s going for ‘market rate’.

    We’ll also see pretty soon if the customer is satisfied after the winter heating season ;-)

    At this point I’d have to give it a provisional ‘probably does work’ (OR the person best positioned to know got hoodwinked pretty good… If I had a couple of $Million on the line, I’d be doing some pretty good testing / validation…)

    Got a link to the ‘latest news’?

    Found this link with video:

    http://www.freeenergytimes.com/2011/10/29/andrea-rossi-makes-first-sale-of-a-1mw-e-cat-plant-following-test/

  21. R. Shearer says:

    More likely Rossi fraud has come to light. LTI was incorporated in response to the thermoelectric power generation research by Dr. Andre Rossi.He indicated that his devices would produce 20 percent efficiencies vs. 4 percent from conventional TE devices. Mysteriously, a fire destroyed the NH lab where the work was done and it was never able to be reproduced. ERDC/CERL TR-04-20

  22. P.G. Sharrow says:

    @ all : here are two blogs that are running posts, pro and con,

    http://www.nyteknik.se/nyheter/energi_miljo/energi/article3284823.ece

    http://blog.newenergytimes.com/

    interesting points of view, 8-) pg

  23. P.G. Sharrow says:

    Rossi may need to lower his price! I’m finding PV solar panels for S2.00 per watt to as low as 89 cents per watt for Evergreen close outs.

    Man! and I need to buy 20 or so units. The Chinese are crashing the market. No way in hell anyone can afford to build panels at this price. pg

  24. P.G. Sharrow says:

    @ All, this is another blog connection to everything that is happening in the LENR field;

    http://opensourcenuclearfuel.blogspot.com

    the guy that posts here, Robert Mockan, seems to know what he is talking about and gives a lot of links. pg

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