What is the E-Cat?

I’ve been noticing that this site has been getting an increasing number of first-time visitors just lately, and thought it might be useful to repost an article I wrote last year for people who are just learning about Italian engineer Andrea Rossi’s invention.

The following information about the E-Cat has been gathered over the past year from statements by Andrea Rossi and Sergio Focardi, Rossi’s collaborator. So far, no thorough independent examination of the E-Cat has been permitted — but numerous tests have taken place in which outside observers have been involved in and have their reports have been published.

E-Cat is short for the term “energy catalyzer” and is a device in which hydrogen gas, powdered nickel metal, and an undisclosed proprietary catalyst are combined to produce a large amount of heat through a little understood low energy nuclear reaction (LENR) process inside a specially designed chamber. The inner workings of the reactor are covered by a trade secret which Rossi consistently refuses to discuss.

In this process, when an external heat source is applied (Electric or fossil) it is claimed that the nucleus of a hydrogen atom, a proton, penetrates a nickel nucleus and in doing so a nickel atom becomes a copper atom, and releases gamma rays creating a large amount of thermal energy. 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.

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 is 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 and hydrogen are common elements and readily available at low cost and 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.

Rossi has been awarded a patent for the E-Cat by the Italian Patent Office and is seeking further patent protection.

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 a year, 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 units is between $100 and $150 per kW — so a single unit could cost as little as $1000.

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 pursued a deliberate strategy of preventing independent third-party testing, maintaining 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 confirmed.

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