I had the opportunity to speak with Andrea Rossi via Skype, on Saturday, May 12, 2012. Below is a transcript of the interview, and at the bottom of the page links to the three mp3 audio files on which the interview were recorded. During the interview, the Skype connection dropped a couple of times, so it was recorded in three parts. I apologize for the poor quality of the audio — certainly not up to production standards. I had a Skype plugin fail on me last time I interviewed Rossi, so I went for the safe option this time — I recorded the conversation into Audacity using a built in laptop mic. Low tech, but at least I had a recording!
Frank Acland: So we are speaking this morning to Andrea Rossi who is in Miami, and its a pleasure to have you join us, Andrea.
Andrea Rossi: It is a pleasure for me to be here with you and thank you for your attention.
F. Okay, you are very welcome. I would like to start out by talking about — you mentioned recently that you have made a breakthrough with stable heat production. Could you tell us a little about that?
R. Yes, we are working right here on a new reactor, but I cannot give very much information about this because it is a work in progress
R. Yes, we have stabilized the reactor at very high temperatures which is very promising for other kinds of applications, mainly for electric power applications. But, but we started less than a month ago, a couple of weeks, twenty days ago with this new reactor. So far so good. Until this moment it is working very well, but I prefer to suspend any kind of consideration because, we have a record to have solid consideration to make. The work in progress is going very well.
F: Excellent. You have mentioned previously you were hoping to achieve temperatures of around 261 degrees Celsius. Has this been made possible now due to the breakthrough?
R. Well, it is probably we will be able to operate the ECAT at temperature much higher. I mean temperature that reach the Carnot cycle can have a good performance and good efficiency. And sorry…
F: So this would mean that you would not be restricted to one type of turbine. Actually different turbines would be possible…
R: Yes, because before that we were working to reach at least 260C to have with a turbine made by Siemens to have an efficiency around 20 and 25%. But these breakthrough be confirmed we will be able to reach much higher temperatures and therefore to enter in the classic range of efficiency of the Carnot effect.
F: Do you think that will make you able to be able to achieve equivalent temperatures to what conventional electrical generators use at the moment?
R: This is my hope.
F: That would be very exciting. How about the use of a Stirling engine? Is that something that is attractive to you?
R: At this point, yes. If this new reactor will confirm what we are seeing, the Sterling engine returns in the race horse. Because I can see very well. I can see very well a cylinder that would be put directly in contact with the surface, with the top in contact with the surface of the reactor so that the cylinder is moved by the temperature, and we are working on this. We will work on this design. Yes, Sterling engine that operates, until now had too low efficiency with the temperatures for we had reached so far. Becomes a player with the new higher temperatures if the data is confirmed.
F: For people like me who are not particularly technically minded what is the advantages of a Stirling engine over a conventional turbine.
R: It is not a matter of advantage it is a matter of a kind of applications.
F: I see.
R: The efficiency of a Stirling engine, well I am not honestly an expert on Sterling engines. It is not my professional skill. We have a specialist that is working on this and he is working here with us in the United States. And you know, a Sterling engine can be extremely interesting as an application for you know transportation or also other things like that.
R: While the Carnot cycle and also the Stirling engine can be useful for lower power levels. While the Carnot cycle is indicated for industrial high power applications.
F: Ok. Very good. Thank you. I would like to move to the subject of certification. I know that you have said that your dependent as far as your smaller ECAT devices upon the certifiers. Could you tell us a little bit about why certification is so important?
R: The certification is demanded by law. You cannot, it is not just important, it is mandatory, because by law you cannot sell a device that is not certificated for the safety of it. And we must put an important distinction between the certification of the domestic apparatuses and the industrial apparatuses. For what concerns the industrial apparatuses we are all set already, because it is easier to get certification for that kind of stuff. Because they are operated by specialists that make a course to learn how to operate with this technology. They make an exam after the course and after the exam they are certified by us as certified operators. In an industry there are all the safety apparatuses that are demanded by law, and they are totally maintained, etc, etc. So basically the opperation in an industry is much more easy to be made in safe way. For what concerns the domestic application, the situation is more difficult because the owner of a household is not supposed to even read the instruction book, let alone the course of preparation. You know in an apartment the owner of an ECAT can be not able to read the instructions, even if they are written in an easy way. You know he can be a prime example in your house, inside your house it can also be dry and he can make stupidities. Think to the lady recently has put a cat in a microwave oven and the manufacturer had to pay the damages because I do not know if you remember the case.
F: It sounds familiar.
R: There has been a history case, you know basically so the certification for a unit in a domestic situation is much more difficult because there is not a certainty of proper management of the ECAT. So that the ECAT must be supplied with all with everything that makes it absolutely safe even if improperly managed. It is clear that the liabilities that the certificator pays are very high in the case of domestic ECAT and also our liabilities are very high. And it is unthinkable that we can sell a household unit without certification.