Sudden Interest in 1 MW Plant May Be Problematic

For some reason, there has been a surge in interest over the last couple of days in a page on Ecat.com where the 1MW low temperature E-Cat reactor is listed for sale. As I mentioned yesterday, this page is not new — in fact it has been on Ecat.com for about a year and a half — but for some reason the link has been picked up by numerous blogs as if it is a new development. Here are some of the sites that are talking about it.

Next Big Future
ExtremeTech

Gizmodo
21st Century Tech
World Future Society
Vice.com

You might think that sudden publicity of this kind would be good in building awareness of the E-Cat, but I see a few problems here from a PR point of view.

1. The site advertising the plant is a licensee’s site.

Ecat.com is operated by Hydro Fusion, the distributor for Northern Europe. The site is listed as ‘the official site of Andrea Rossi’s Energy Catalyzer’, but Hydro Fusion is just one among a number of E-Cat licensees. My understanding is that the licensees have a rather loose relationship with Rossi and the new partner, and as we learned yesterday, the German licensee, Gerd Neumann, has sold back his license (or maybe has had it revoked). From everything Rossi has said, production and commercialization of E-Cat plants is being directed by the still unidentified US partner, and the Licensees may be in the dark on a number of developments.

2. The advertised plant may no longer be available.

The unit showed on the Ecat.com site is an early model. Basically, these first units were hand built, and to the best of my knowledge, only two were ever completed. The first went to a military customer, and the second one (the one pictured on the site) was shipped from Italy to the USA after being redesigned. From my understanding, in the US facilities E-Cat technology is undergoing rigorous testing and redesign and I expect new plants will be quite different from the one listed at Ecat.com.

3. Not just anyone can get an E-Cat Plant.

There’s a caveat on the ecat.com site which states “Orders are accepted from all over the world and require a routine due-diligence process. Customers must comply with several criteria set by Leonardo Corporation in order to qualify for a purchase of a ECAT 1MW plant.”

I think at this point it will be very difficult to qualify for an E-Cat plant. The team is being very cautious about where this technology will deployed, fearing loss of the trade secret that covers this technology. Rossi said that due diligence on potential customers is the main means of protecting the IP — in other words, if they don’t trust you completely, you won’t be able to get your hands on a plant.

4. Lack of information and communication is causing confusion

At the moment there is an extreme dearth of information about the E-Cat. Andrea Rossi is the only person we know of who is aware of the inner workings of the new partnership — and he will not comment publicly on the business or commercial aspects of the technology, and because the partner does not want to be identified, there is no one to whom commercial questions can be addressed. So if there is misinformation or confusion among the public, there is no one available to set things straight in terms of business arrangements. As far as I know, even Rossi’s licensees don’t know who the new partner is — so if we are confused, it must be more frustrating for them.

Right now the public, businesses and the press are very much in the dark, and in this kind of environment it is understandable how confusion and misunderstanding can easily occur. Obviously, the E-Cat is not your conventional product — it is something that could turn the world on it’s head, and I understand Rossi and Co.’s desire to stay out of the spotlight for now, but I hope that we won’t be in this information wilderness for much longer, and that when the current testing is completed and the results are published, the partner will step forward and operate in a more conventional corporate manner with a public relations and communications department to help present accurate information to the public.

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