The Battery Powered E-Cat

We know from all that has been revealed over the years about the E-Cat that it required an external source of heat to ‘charge’ it — i.e. to initiate the reaction, and then to control it. While Andrea Rossi has spoken recently about using natural gas as a heat source to charge and control the E-Cat, all the demonstrations that have been reported about to date have involved an electric resistor as a heat source.

So far it seems that the electricity for the resistor has come from the mains, or from a genset — but there shouldn’t be any reason why the electricity needed  could not come from any other reliable source such as solar PV cells, or even a battery which could be charged from any source. It would seem that if a battery was charged by an E-Cat you would start seeing significant cost savings over using externally produced electricity.

On the Journal of Nuclear Physics today Andreas Moriatis brought up the battery idea:

Dear Andrea Rossi,

I’m sure that many of your readers would like to see a Hot-Cat that is producing its own electricity by a turbine or Stirling engine, at the same time loading a battery, which can provide the necessary input whenever the reactor needs a ‘break’. Did you already experiment with such a configuration, and if so, could you tell us something about the results?

Best regards,
Andreas Moraitis

Rossi’s response:

Andreas Moraitis:
That is also a line for the R&D we are making. Batteries are very expensive, though, and their pay back period is not quite convincing. So far.
Warm Regards,
A.R.

I’m glad to hear that IH is working on this. The ability to be independent of the electrical grid is a big plus for the E-Cat, in my opinion. It allows for greater security and freedom, and if an E-Cat can use power created by itself, or by another E-Cat, there could be significant cost savings over the long run. Rossi’s response above indicates that right now there would be a good deal of investment in batteries required to go the battery route, so it may not be such an attractive economic proposition as using cheap natural gas, or even mains electricity. We really need more data to be able to make an educated judgment on this matter, however.

  • Ophelia Rump

    I do not get the part about great expense, a single truck battery and a power inverter would be enough if it were getting a continual recharge. If it can run off wall power, it can be run off a battery and inverter as long as you feedback a battery charger off the generator. It is just that simple. No magic involved. Maybe he is talking about large scale industrial configurations.

    In truth it is irrelevant as long as you are selling power back to the grid. You are running the meter backwards and there is no bill, just a check at the end of the month.

    You could run a single Hot-Cat off a battery using off the shelf add-ons for under $200; if you had the desire.

    • GreenWin

      In fact the inverter is unnecessary if the heating resistors are fed DC.

      • Ophelia Rump

        Yes I agree the heating part of the control system which is the power hog could be DC. You would always need a minimal inverter for the control system. I assume there is a circuit board in there somewhere. But yes your configuration would be the least expensive for larger scale.

    • Bob

      I do not believe that selling power back to the grid will be a long term option. Near where I live, there is a story going on that the local power company is starting to refuse to purchase power from wind farms. My understanding is that

      1) The utility cannot rely upon the level of power from the wind farms so they have to keep a large percentage of the wind farm capacity “on line” at the power station. I.E. They cannot simply start producing X amount more in a few minutes if the wind dies down at the farm. The grid is very sensitive to having the power capacity at an even keel. Therefore, they are wasting a large amount of energy / money.

      2) The wind farm wants to sign a contract for a given rate and it is a much higher rate than what the utility can generate themselves. It seems the wind farm is not competitive and the utility does not want to absorb that over cost.

      I think we will see the same thing when LENR “home” units become available. (If the government will even allow them!) At some point, there would be so much “excess” power available that the utility will not buy it as there is no consumer for it. Again, a utility cannot be supplying critical customers (such as hospitals, traffic controllers, water supplies, etc. etc.) from power being “controlled” by “Joe Blow on the street”, who may decide to turn off his system at any time. Perhaps not maintain it and it breaks down, etc. etc. Either the utility would have to purchase a huge amount of over capacity to cover such instances (and thus waste money) or they would have to minimize their dependence on the home owned Ecat suppliers.

      I guess there could be some scheme where the utility could purchase “only on demand” from home owned units. But this would only be viable if there was a very large over capacity available from the private sector. Enough so that, statistically, the utility could cover all power requirements and any given time.

      I think the government will either step in to prevent this or the utilities will simply not purchase electricity. (At least not a large part of their requirements)

      Who knows!

      • Ophelia Rump

        I live in Massachusetts, it is the law that they must buy it back at near to market value. There are a number of states in the U.S. with that rule.

  • GreenWin

    Hmmm, it is May 1st. Lovely day. Why do I get the feeling Koonan, Bob Park, PPPL, Huizenga (RIP) and staff at MIT’s PSFC are not enjoying it??

    • Ophelia Rump

      Behind schedule, cost overruns, limited success, budget cuts effecting cafeteria quality, God is an ecology activist, and is a bit judgmental.

      • GreenWin

        Ha! The cafeteria cuts are probably the hardest to take!

  • GreenWin

    Hmmm, it is May 1st. Lovely day. Why do I get the feeling Koonan, Bob Park, PPPL, Huizenga (RIP) and staff at MIT’s PSFC are not enjoying it??

    • Ophelia Rump

      Behind schedule, cost overruns, limited success, budget cuts affecting cafeteria quality, God is the original environmental activist, and is a bit judgmental.

      • GreenWin

        Ha! The cafeteria cuts are probably the hardest to take!

  • deleo77

    Rossi should talk to the folks at Ambri:

    http://www.ambri.com

  • astralprojectee

    LOL so batteries are not as good as providing direct electricity to start it though a constantly running mini e-cat is? LOL Which I would guess that is where it would come from. I thought he talked about some type of configuration like that. Correct me if I’m wrong.

    • Ophelia Rump

      I think he is talking about large scale storage in the MW range. Not just a battery jump starter. His interests and the general public’s interests do not always seem to match.

  • roseland67

    As I suggested on a different site,
    the use of a battery to drive the control circuit and the heater
    eliminates the “hidden power” argument.
    The power and energy density from the battery are fixed,
    so if the experiment is somehow dependent on “hidden power”
    the experiment will fail when the battery fails, seems simple to me.

    • Ophelia Rump

      I don’t think he gives a *#%@ about that.

  • roseland67

    As I suggested on a different site,
    the use of a battery to drive the control circuit and the heater
    eliminates the “hidden power” argument.
    The power and energy density from the battery are fixed,
    so if the experiment is somehow dependent on “hidden power”
    the experiment will fail when the battery fails, seems simple to me.

    • Ophelia Rump

      I don’t think he gives a *#%@ about that.
      But it seems so simple obvious and low budget that I would have jumped all over it if it were me.

      Honestly if I even thought I had an OU device, that is the first test I would do to prove it to myself. Too many people have fooled themselves doing power calculations. The internet is full of them.

      Rossi no longer has anything to prove to anyone. He has moved beyond that.
      There is a cash cow! Now they are about sizing up the health and weight of it, determining the quality of the cream.

  • RKTect

    It is disconcerting to see the suggestion to demonstrate OU through the use a closed loop power supply dismissed again. . It appears more and more likely that the true cost of power production from the ecat is not particularly advantageous or perhaps even competitive with natural gas as a source.Presumably the timing of power production from an ecat can be reliably controlled and the comparison to the vagaries of wind power supply would make the ecat incredibly competitive immediately if it was any where near as successful as we’d like to believe.
    Unfortunately——–
    After years of development, we still don’t have a convincing and reliable demonstration, in public, of power production from the ecat. The longer this drags out, the more it starts to look like intelligentry, blacklight power, etc. I hope I’m proven wrong by the upcoming e-cat report, but it appears more and more likely that the complexity of partially understood quantum mechanics will limit the usefulness of the ecat until further intellectual breakthroughs occur.

    • Omega Z

      What Rossi said is looped to a battery system is not cost effective.
      Not that it wasn’t possible.

  • RKTect

    It is disconcerting to see the suggestion to demonstrate OU through the use a closed loop power supply dismissed again. . It appears more and more likely that the true cost of power production from the ecat is not particularly advantageous or perhaps even competitive with natural gas as a source.Presumably the timing of power production from an ecat can be reliably controlled and the comparison to the vagaries of wind power supply would make the ecat incredibly competitive immediately if it was any where near as successful as we’d like to believe.
    Unfortunately——–
    After years of development, we still don’t have a convincing and reliable demonstration, in public, of power production from the ecat. The longer this drags out, the more it starts to look like intelligentry, blacklight power, etc. I hope I’m proven wrong by the upcoming e-cat report, but it appears more and more likely that the complexity of partially understood quantum mechanics will limit the usefulness of the ecat until further intellectual breakthroughs occur.

    • Publius

      Rossi has been great reading and certainly a first gateway into the current state of affairs for LENR, but this is an amazingly complex reaction to control/engineer and its going to take the efforts of people like Robert Godes to put all the pieces together. Just think that Martin Fleischmann, by all accounts a brilliant electrochemistry, went to his grave without solving this.

    • Omega Z

      What Rossi said is looped to a battery system is not cost effective.
      Not that it wasn’t possible.

  • fritz194

    Lets think about domestic Ecat scenario:
    Combined Heat + Electric 10kW+2kW;
    Service Life 10 years; 90.000hrs
    2-3 time Battery replacement in 10 years.
    Lead Acid Battery $200 per kwh.
    (and I assume that we would need at least 5kw(h) to start up a tiny system electric)
    .. means $3000,- Batteries within service Life….
    Batteries seems to be no added Value because of lifetime, price, space and weight.
    Starting up the genset with a liquid gas cartridge would be a way better approach.
    Running just the electronic parts using tiny backup battery (50Wh), recharged via seebeck should be feasible.
    But in the end it all depends on the controlability and needed thermal capacity of the system.

    • Andreas Moraitis

      According to Rossi, the low-temperature E-Cat needs 1/6 of the thermal output as electrical input. It is not clear, however, if this is the maximum or an average value. For the Hot-Cat he has not given a figure yet, as far as I know. A Hot-Cat with a high COP would consume much less energy with the same output. Of course, one must consider the efficiency of energy conversion, the duration of the different phases of operation, and so on. At the moment, we simply don’t have enough information to come to a conclusion. But since Rossi knows all the details, I would interpret his statement as cautiously positive.

      • fritz194

        My calculation was just an attempt verify Rossi´s concern based on assumptions.

  • fritz194

    Lets think about domestic Ecat scenario:
    Combined Heat + Electric 10kW+2kW;
    Service Life 10 years; 90.000hrs
    2-3 time Battery replacement in 10 years.
    Lead Acid Battery $200 per kwh.
    (and I assume that we would need at least 5kw(h) to start up a tiny system electric)
    .. means $3000,- Batteries within service Life….
    Batteries seems to be no added Value because of lifetime, price, space and weight.
    Starting up the genset with a liquid gas cartridge would be a way better approach.
    Running just the electronic parts using tiny backup battery (50Wh), recharged via seebeck should be feasible.
    But in the end it all depends on the controlability and needed thermal capacity of the system.

    • Andreas Moraitis

      According to Rossi, the low-temperature E-Cat needs 1/6 of the thermal output as electrical input. It is not clear, however, if this is the maximum or an average value. For the Hot-Cat he has not given a figure yet, as far as I know. A Hot-Cat with a high COP would consume much less energy with the same output. Of course, one must consider the efficiency of energy conversion, the duration of the different phases of operation, and so on. At the moment, we simply don’t have enough information to come to a conclusion. But since Rossi knows all the details, I would interpret his statement as cautiously positive.

      • fritz194

        My calculation was just an attempt verify Rossi´s concern based on assumptions.

  • AlB

    You can see why Rossi thinks that batteries are not economical. The number of charge/discharge cycles is critical and it sounds to me that power delivery needs to happen on an hourly basis as self-sustain mode (SSM) can last anywhere from minutes to at most a few hours according to previous reports. This could mean 5000-10000 charge/discharge cycles in just one year. Li Ion batteries have 500-1000 cycles before their performance drops off sharply.

    This is why there will be several implementations:

    In domestic settings connected to a grid or gas it’s best to just consume electricity or gas and in the case of an electrical system feed back power to sustain the reaction.

    In large industrial settings the number of 10kW units makes it likely that the majority will be in SSM and therefore able to sustain the ones that need power. The more units there are in the system the smaller the need for grid or other backup.

    In remote or high availability settings where you currently see diesel generators or UPS backup units I imagine a dual gas/electric cat where a propane bottle is used as a startup mechanism and flywheel storage (around$330/kW) to sustain the reaction. Flywheels have almost unlimited charge/discharge cycles and are therefore ideally suited for this purpose. The premium for the near 100% availability in these circumstances will be worth it.

    • US_Citizen71

      A bank of large capacitors might work as well as they can handle multiple charge and discharge cycles.

      • psi2u2

        Capacitor research is on the verge of major cost/performance breakthroughs, within five years if not sooner.

        • Bruce Williams

          Could you please quote some references?

    • Andreas Moraitis

      Independently of the current possibilities a prototype might be useful, which could be thoroughly tested and optimized for a longer time. As soon as cheaper and better batteries or capacitors were available, only minor adjustments would be necessary, before the device could be brought onto the market.

  • Gerard McEk

    I agree with Rossi that a battery powered Ecat does not bring much to the party also in case you have a gas heated Ecat. You still need some means to charge the battery, so a generator is also required if you want to make a OU system. Once you have a generator connected to the Ecat, you do not need the battery. Only for a first start-up a small commercial generator will do if you live in the middle of nowhere and no mains available. I do not know if the Ecat has a COP of more than 10, but as long as that is not the case I would concentrate on improving the COP first.

  • robyn wyrick

    May 2nd — the second 3rd party can’t come too soon!

  • robyn wyrick

    May 2nd — the second 3rd party can’t come too soon!

  • bbck777
  • bbck777
  • Andy Kumar

    I heard from usually reliable sources that Rossi wants to introduce his
    technology with a big “bang”. He is planning TeraWatt “ecat farms”, just like
    solar and wind farms. See my question to him. He did not DENY it. Can somebody confirm this.

    Andrea Rossi
    April 22nd, 2014 at 10:43 PM
    Andy Kumar:
    I am not able to answer.
    Warm Regards,
    A.R.

    Andy Kumar
    April 22nd, 2014 at 7:49 PM
    Dear Dr. Rossi,
    Earth’s iron-nickel inner core is very hot. Do you think some LENR reaction may be happening there. Have you thought about setting up your Ecat in a nickel mine at low power density and use it as a giant geothermal energy source, if that can be done safely.
    -Andy Kumar

    • Seems like you’re reading too much into the response. When I first read it I took it to mean that he didn’t feel qualified to talk about using the E-Cats as a geothermal energy source. That seems like a very indirect way to get the energy, so I doubt he had even considered it before you asked the question.

      I like what your sources are saying though. Any hints about timing or location?

    • Andreas Moraitis

      I agree with LENR G about the meaning of the cited comment. Independently of that, I think that a “Big Bang” strategy would indeed make sense. Rossi has occasionally indicated that he intends to beat the competition by price, and a low price would imply almost automatically large-scale production. Furthermore, in the case that the announced patents would not be granted, Rossi’s reactor could be copied and distributed by anybody. Thus, it would be advisable to sell as many reactors as possible from the beginning.

      Regarding the information you have mentioned, nobody expects you to disclose your sources, but it would be helpful if you could give us some details.

      • Omega Z

        “Rossi’s reactor could be copied and distributed by anybody”

        Not. They would have to design their own Reactors.

        Rossi’s Reactors could easily be patented & protected.
        Rossi has said that IH is very busy studying the best possible Reactor designs & filing Patents on them.
        This approach along with holding the secret catalyst secret as long as possible will delay the Competition.

    • Timar

      This is an utterly absurd idea. No wunder that he is “not able to answer”.

    • Sanjeev

      Andy, like others have said below, we all would like to hear more from your sources.

      It will be amusing to know why you thought of putting the Ecat in a mine and to get artificial geothermal steam ? May be you mean to pump H2 into the mines to heat the ground up.

      Doesn’t sound good to me, we are already causing too much destruction. I for one, am waiting for my battery powered pocket sized Ecat…. much more convenient to carry around than a nickel mine.

    • Andy Kumar

      It is not as absurd as it sounds. See the Scientific American article on natural fission reactors that “evolved” out of nowhere some 2 billion years ago in Africa. Truly amazing as if a finely crafted clock materialized without a clock maker or a “creator”. My idea which Rossi is free to adapt is to convert a nickel mine into a Terawatt reactor at low power density. Technical hurdles remain but he has a fine team with IH.

      I have shortened the long web link..
      http://tinyurl.com/btdne2y

      -Andy