Rossi: Improving E-Cat Power Density 'Extremely Alluring Issue'

I may be reading too much into things here, but I get a feeling that Andrea Rossi is hinting at improvements in power density in the hot cat.

Steven Karels recently asked on the Journal of Nuclear physics, “A year or so ago, you were suggesting a 1MW eCat unit in a container with a volume of 1 cubic meter. Any updates on projected volume for a hypothetical 1MW eCat?” To which Rossi responded:

“We are working also to increase the power density.”

I followed up with a question about whether they had seen any improvements in power density, and Rossi responded:

“As you know, it is premature any anticipation. I can say we are working with strong efforts on this issue, but, still, the results could be positive or negative. The energy density is an extremely alluring issue.”

To me it seems that Rossi may be signalling here that we could be seeing improvements in the power density over the previous report when the reports come out. Rossi has said that they are working with a ‘cat’ (main reactor), and ‘mouse’ (activator) setup in this test, which is different from the single-unit hot cat that was tested by Levi et al. last year. This must be an improved system, or they wouldn’t be using it — and maybe improved power density is one of its advantages. The fact that Rossi describes energy density as an ‘extremely alluring issue’ says to me that it’s something they have been working on in a significant way.

  • Gerard McEk

    Frank, I am not sure what you are thinking. Do you mean that the cat&mouse setup is a kind of series connection of multiple Ecats?
    Because Ecat is heat controlled, that kind of set-up seems not viable to me, unless Rossi found another way to conrol Ecat.

    • ecatworld

      According to Rossi, the mouse — the activator — is a small unit which itself has a COP >1. We haven’t yet seen any data from the cat and mouse configuration, so it’s quite hard to understand how it all works.

      Regarding the E-Cat control, here’s another interesting Q & A:

      Steven N. Karels

      January 18th, 2014 at 11:58 AM

      Dear Andrea Rossi,

      1. For the 1MW eCat unit, can we correctly assume that the eCat module(s) are in one physical unit and the electronics are located in a separate unit in a more temperature controlled environment? A: Yes.

      2. This still leaves some form of control within the high temperature eCat module which is apparently more than a resistance heater plus temperature sensors. Is this essentially correct? A: Yes.

      • Fortyniner

        Moved – wrong place.

    • artefact
  • Gerard McEk

    Frank, I am not sure what you are thinking. Do you mean that the cat&mouse setup is a kind of series connection of multiple Ecats?
    Because Ecat is heat controlled, that kind of set-up seems not viable to me, unless Rossi found another way to conrol Ecat.

    • Frank Acland

      According to Rossi, the mouse — the activator — is a small unit which itself has a COP >1. We haven’t yet seen any data from the cat and mouse configuration, so it’s quite hard to understand how it all works.

      Regarding the E-Cat control, here’s another interesting Q & A:

      Steven N. Karels

      January 18th, 2014 at 11:58 AM

      Dear Andrea Rossi,

      1. For the 1MW eCat unit, can we correctly assume that the eCat module(s) are in one physical unit and the electronics are located in a separate unit in a more temperature controlled environment? A: Yes.

      2. This still leaves some form of control within the high temperature eCat module which is apparently more than a resistance heater plus temperature sensors. Is this essentially correct? A: Yes.

    • artefact
  • Pekka Janhunen

    It might also mean (if Rossi meant what he wrote: energy density) that they have made a Ragone plot based on a long validation run. The Ragone plot looked “nice” already in the Levi et al. report where they ran it for 5 days.

    • Andreas Moraitis

      I also think that Rossi meant “energy density”. A high energy density is not automatically an advantage. The higher the density, the more dangerous the device. One could remind the numerous accidents with Li-ion batteries in aircrafts or cars. Engineers would usually design a device in a way that its energy density is just as high as necessary. However, in some cases high densities may be required. This would make it more difficult to obtain safety certification, on the other hand.

  • Pekka Janhunen

    It might also mean (if Rossi meant what he wrote: energy density) that they have made a Ragone plot based on a long validation run. The Ragone plot looked “nice” already in the Levi et al. report where they ran it for 5 days.

    • Andreas Moraitis

      I also think that Rossi meant “energy density”. A high energy density is not automatically an advantage. The higher the density, the more dangerous the device. One could remind the numerous accidents with Li-ion batteries in aircrafts or cars. Engineers would usually design a device in a way that its energy density is just as high as necessary. However, in some cases high densities may be required. This would make it more difficult to obtain safety certification, on the other hand.

  • Oceans2014

    This would be a natural progression to increase the power density, no surprise here.

    • Fortyniner

      If Rossi is working towards a drop-in ‘retro-fit’ boiler (a goal that might be ‘extremely alluring’) he needs to achieve roughly the same power density as a gas boiler of similar output, and within similar dimensions, i.e., the units must be of approximately the same size or smaller, power for power, or there will be problems fitting them into available spaces.

      1MW per m3 is too low, although it would obviously be adequate for a demo purpose-built genset. He probably needs to get this up to about 2.5-3 MW/m3 for use in small units (i.e., a pilot conversion of a typical 3-5MW commercial gas unit). For full scale use in existing power stations he would probably want about 6-8MW/m3 to replace a powder spray or fluidised bed coal furnace.

  • Finnish Engineer

    I believe the Mouse is:
    Water breaker unit, producting Hydrogen on demand.

    The improved idea what I can see that instead of using water as a fuel pressure, they would use Hydrogen pressure and the Cat reactor is using only catalyte to make hydrogen atoms into Neutrinos that can penetrate nickel. With this setup they can add metal conductives arround the copper and then induce the beta decay into direct electricity.

    This kind of reactor would be ideal to all mobile applications such as cars, plains, boats and you name it. And even in bigger scale you could manifacture bigtime reactor that uses this approach and makes clean atomic eletricity while producing copper as an another good side business.

    • US_Citizen71

      Oxygen supposedly kills the reaction. I don’t think it is water.

  • Zeddicus Zul Zorander

    So Rossi works on making his reactors more powerful?

    Interesting how that came to light after BLP’s announcements…

  • Zeddicus Zul Zorander

    So Rossi works on making his reactors more powerful?

    Interesting how that came to light after BLP’s announcements…

  • Ophelia Rump

    Note that the question was about size and Rossi answered in terms of power density.
    It is a simple fact of geometry that heat transmission is a factor of surface area and mass.
    Appropriate mass will act to stabilize a fluctuating temperature range, and appropriate surface area at that temperature will facilitate flow of heat from that mass.

    If you assume a maximum temperature before meltdown, then size, shape, mass, and transfer medium determine power density.
    You must also consider the size and properties of the thermal transfer system.

    This is not so much about how powerful the system is, the system has real world limits, which is to say if it gets too hot it melts.
    This is about how to get the most heat out of a single initiated event, without melting.

    Assuming the cost of initializing and maintaining the reaction is constant, sizing the reactant and device are your only options.

  • US_Citizen71

    I finally read the blog entries over at rossilivecat I think Rossi was referring to multiple MW in a cubic meter. I’m sure there is some type of Moore’s law that applies to energy research. Maybe he is up to 5MW per cubic meter now.

    • Ophelia Rump

      MW per area are a simple matter of heat transfer possible at max temperature below melting point.
      A simple engineering problem.

      To be anything but this, would require the reaction to sustain in the liquid core of a melted nickle reaction.

      • US_Citizen71

        Density refers to volume not area, I think Rossi has figured a means to make the ECats smaller with the same or greater output similar to the shrinking of electronic circuits. So where he was getting 20 10kW ECats maybe he is now getting 50 15kW Ecats, which would increase the power density of a setup. Hence my reference to Moore’s law.

  • US_Citizen71

    I finally read the blog entries over at rossilivecat I think Rossi was referring to multiple MW in a cubic meter. I’m sure there is some type of Moore’s law that applies to energy research. Maybe he is up to 5MW per cubic meter now.

    • Ophelia Rump

      MW per area are a simple matter of heat transfer possible at max temperature below melting point.
      A simple engineering problem.

      To be anything but this, would require the reaction to sustain in the liquid core of a melted nickle reaction.

      • US_Citizen71

        Density refers to volume not area, I think Rossi has figured a means to make the ECats smaller with the same or greater output similar to the shrinking of electronic circuits. So in the past where he was able to put 20 10kW ECats maybe he is now getting 50 15kW Ecats into the same outer container, which would increase the power density of the setup. Hence my reference to Moore’s law.

  • Ophelia Rump

    The limiting factor is meltdown of the powdered nickle. That determines maximum temperature.

    It appears Rossi has achieved doing this in a stable manner and has now turned his focus to optimum reactor design. Which is a simple engineering problem.

    I wonder if there is some field effect involved which limits the reaction to some distance from the initializing heat source, or if the reaction could be initialized at say, one end of a long cylindrical core, and progressively extend to the far end of the cylinder.

    If the reaction is limited by distance from initialization heat source then that distance limits the scale of COP. If the reaction can be maintained at any distance from the initialization source then there is no limit to how high the COP can be scaled.

    This is the question we should all be asking.

  • Omega Z

    “We are working also to increase the power density.”

    Has everyone forgotten about Rossi mentioning a 100Kw Core.
    Could Rossi be alluding to the 100Kw Core or maybe some Larger Kilowatt output core.

    The 100Kw core is larger then that of the !0Kw cat, but displaces much less space then 10-10Kw cats. This could be interpreted as power density per size of the core.

    As Noted in Pekka’s post below about the Ragone plot(Energy density) in the Levi/Elforsk tests,was based on the limited run-time of about 100 hours. This would change just by increasing the Run Time.

    So, Question is did Rossi mean to say “Power Density” or “Energy Density”.
    Energy Density would likely only come into play if they are working on the period of time between Fuel Recharge which could also be adjusted by the size of the charge/catalyst….

  • Omega Z

    “We are working also to increase the power density.”

    Has everyone forgotten about Rossi mentioning a 100Kw Core.
    Could Rossi be alluding to the 100Kw Core or maybe some Larger Kilowatt output core.

    The 100Kw core is larger then that of the !0Kw cat, but displaces much less space then 10-10Kw cats. This could be interpreted as power density per size of the core.

    As Noted in Pekka’s post below about the Ragone plot(Energy density) in the Levi/Elforsk tests,was based on the limited run-time of about 100 hours. This would change just by increasing the Run Time.

    So, Question is did Rossi mean to say “Power Density” or “Energy Density”.
    Energy Density would likely only come into play if they are working on the period of time between Fuel Recharge which could also be adjusted by the size of the charge/catalyst….

  • Neil Farbstein

    How reliable are the new 1 megawatt units his company is selling now? I wnat to get involved in his reaesrch but like others i’m furstrated by his secrecy.