NBC News article on Fusion Mentions E-Cat (Not Negatively)

There’s an article on NBCnews.com titled “Cheaper Than Coal? Fusion Concept Aims to Bridge Energy Gap” by Alan Boyle that reviews the current status of fusion research, and begins by looking at a new proposal by University of Washington team which is proposing a new kind of fusion reactor — which computer models suggest could actually work and cross the break-even threshold — called the ‘dynomak’ which according to the researchers could be built for $2.7 billion, compared to $2.8 billion for a coal plant of comparable size.

A member of this research team, Derek Sutherland, says that this new design is something of a departure from the traditional fusion reactor design, but not radically so. He told NBC News:

“We’re like the mainstream enough to benefit from their superior physics, but we’re different enough to address the economic issues facing fusion in general . . . Not too alternative, not too mainstream. Maybe it’s just right”

At the end of the article, Boyle covers some of the more ‘exotic’ alternatives to these more mainstream fusion projects and mentions the E-Cat saying:

An outside review of experiments involving the controversial E-Cat reactor reports evidence of “anomalous heat production.” That has raised hopes among E-Cat’s fans that cold-fusion technology — also known as low-energy nuclear reaction, or LENR — just might work. Critics have said the heat production is probably due to less exotic reactions that haven’t been properly accounted for, but this week’s report sides with the view that something nuclear is going on. For more, check out this report from ExtremeTech’s Sebastian Anthony.

A mention of the E-Cat in an almost positive light is quite an interesting and unusual thing to read from a mainstream news source.

  • jousterusa

    “…could be built for $2.7 billion, compared to $2.8 billion for a coal plant of comparable size.” As opposed to putting 10 or 20 E-Cat tubes together for less than a million – sounds like the kind of bargain Republicans like to make with our money! Never save a dime when you can spend it.

    But now that the E-Cat is just 1/100th the size of the original, has the unit price also come down?

    • hador nyc

      Funny Republicans say the same thing about Democrats. My hunch is both are correct, politicians being the problem.

    • Leonard Weinstein

      Present 1 MW E-CAT thermal power sources, which consist of 100 of 10 kW units, presently sell for $1.5M, and are too low temperature output for efficient electrical generation. If the new higher temperature E-CATS (like the one just tested) could scale up to 10 kW each (the one tested was only 2.5 kW), and also sell for $1.5M per MW thermal, it would take approximately 3,000 of the 1 MW thermal units to give 3 GW
      thermal output, and 1 GW electrical output (due to conversion of thermal to electrical), and cost
      $4.5B. A large coal power plant generates about 1 GW electrical power from about 3 GW thermal input from the coal, and costs about $2.8B. E-CAT still has a way to go to replace large scale electrical generation capitol cost wise. However, this is not the full story. Coal fired plants need a continuous supply of coal, and have to safely trap particle ash, and dispose of the coal ash. Long term operation would likely bring the E-CAT system closer or even ahead. However, this is not presently the best use of E-CAT. lower temperature thermal plants used directly for heat only, and possibly individual home units, for heat and electrical (say with a Stirling cycle generator) are far better uses for the technology until newer and far better versions are developed.

      • Bernie777

        One big problem with your computations, “and also sell for $1.5M per MW thermal”, the E-cat will have ability to sell for a fraction of the $1.5M, when scale up.

        • Billy Jackson

          not to mention the cut cost of fueling a coal reactor or the byproduct

          • Zeddicus Zul Zorander

            And the reduced cost due to the not needing to clean exhaust fumes. And the reduced costs of not having to digg and transport for coal or natural gasses. When ecat production is scaled up, the cost of a new power plant should be significantly reduced.

      • mcloki

        I don’t believe these e-cats as tested were run at full power output

        • Zeddicus Zul Zorander

          Maybe not full power but surely near maximum temperature output? A temperature I find absolutely impressive considering the melting point of nickel. As I understand it there might be some trickery involved which raises the melting point of nickel to about 1500C, but that is still fantastic.

          Combined with 60% efficient turbines I can imagine 1400C just enough for energy conversion, especially with a realistic cop between 8 – 12.

          • Omega Z

            I agree, it was close to max on high temp, but the mouse was not used in this test & if I recall, the magnetic pulse also wasn’t used.

            From past information & little insights from some of Rossi’s Rossi speak, I think we’re still looking at 10Kw rated E-cat & possibly 15Kw peek.
            Of course you never include the peek in the standard rating. This gives leeway for guaranteed performance levels. As in, It will produce 10Kw.

      • jousterusa

        Leonard, thank you for your note; I will modify that info when I talk to William Hennigan, if ever.

        Above, I am not sure why you think a gigawatt would be desirable in a residential context, if that s what you are responding to.

        Otherwise, your assertion of the sale price of one of these 8-inch tubes ($1.5 million, you say) seems based on the earlier, shipping-container-sized E-Cat. The current one, weighing a pound and only 8 inches in length and 2 or 3 inches around, is not likely to sell for $1.5 million. I think may potential buyers would be inclined to follow the hints provided by studies and pictures and reverse engineer their own. Perhaps as much as $100,000, I suppose, until knock-offs hit the market and undersell it. But 1,000 of these small units would give you 1.5 giigawatts, and cost $100 million, or 1/28th of your estimate, at the $100,000 rate. I suspect that it will not be long before these devices are literally the size of a ballpoint pen, and then they will quickly spread to the common man at prices they can afford to heat and power their homes. The real problem may be in scaling down a magnetohydrodynamic thermal converter to handle the process of converting heat to electricity, but I also suspect that’s quite doable. There is a remarkable engineer and efficiency expert at work in Andrea Rossi’s brain, that’s for sure!.

        • Omega Z


          Not sure what bases Leonard uses for 1Gw plant cost.
          However his quote of requiring 300K reactors is on the money based on a 1/3 conversion to electricity.

          A 1mw container uses 100 reactors. 1Gw is 1000 1Mw containers. therefore 100K reactors equal 1Gw times 3 for conversion. 300K -10Kw reactors.

          These Reactors will cost substantially more then the fossil fuel burner assemblies that they will replace. But, You wont have the cost of an exhaust flue & the particulate scrubbers that a coal plant requires among other things. This should substantially offset the additional costs of the reactors.

          Just speculating on my part, But Cost comparison taking in the offsetting factors, An E-cat 1Gw plant should be marginally cheaper then Coal, And Marginally more expensive then a Natural Gas power plant. Toss in their CO2 free & cheap fuel costs & E-cat power wins.

          As to the cost of power plants, I think Leonard’s Coal plant cost are low($3 Billion would be a deal). Skilled Tradesmen are in short supply & wages are sky rocketing to about double. Those who just 10 years ago commanding $75K to $100K with benefits are pushing $150K to $200K with benefits figured in. Of course these types of wages are contingent on ones willingness to travel & move around a lot. The average age of skilled tradesmen is around 59 years old. “Many not all” of the younger generation prefers desk jobs with little labor.

          I think it is likely that we will see a few Coal plants retrofitted. Many facilities of 1Gw to 3Gw are actually made of combinations using a 1Gw generator paired with a couple 500Mw generators for power output adjustment. Some smaller. The smaller ones will likely be 1st to be retrofitted.

          Power plants are geographically located based on certain criteria, Rails for coal or large N-gas pipeline access. This usually leads to large facilities which are expensive for self containment which in turn requires availability to large quantities of water. Large lakes, Rivers or Ocean side.

          E-cats negate all the above. Can be built near point of use at much smaller scale. Self containment is economical needing only limited access to water for occasional topping off. Fuel can be delivered anywhere by pickup truck once every year or so. Actually, I suspect the fuel will be in hermetically seal individual reactors ready for drop in replacement. The reactors used in the test appear to be disposable, but that may just be for R&D purposes.

          This technology has amazing possibilities, But far to many have an unrealistic view & expectations. Case in point & this will vary by geography, In Illinois, you will need 1 E-cat for every 500 sq. ft. of floor space just for heating. Heat absorption cooling will probably halve the footage. In Illinois we occasionally have cold snaps where I would want an extra on standby.

          I’m well aware that these red hot devices are impressive, but when that heat is dispersed, Not so much.

        • Leonard Weinstein

          I repeat, the small module tested varied from 1.5 kW to 2.5 kW, not 1.5 MW. You confuse total energy over 32 days (1.5 MW h) with power level. There is no 1.5 MW small unit. Any size or power level in the future is pure speculation, and not practical to guess at. There will be improvements, but we do not know limits at this time.

  • Daniel Maris

    A tiny little straw in the wind…

  • Buck

    Well, a MSM outlet has opened the door just a bit.

    It is good that it linked to both ITPR2 and the ExtremeTech piece. Unfortunately, it did not include a hook like “1,000,000 times the energy of gasoline” to create awareness of scale or curiosity.

    • Omega Z

      Alan Boyle puts his livelihood at risk just mentioning it.
      “1,000,000 times the energy of gasoline” may be just enough hype to get him out the door. Mark Gibbs formerly of Forbes can attest to that.

      • Buck

        Excellent point!

  • Oceans2014

    Which country has the most Nobel prizes?


  • Job001

    With high quality zero particulate heat the E-Cat may be approaching near ideal for modern NG turbine combined cycle near 60% efficient and approaching1600C. http://www.cospp.com/articles/print/volume-11/issue-3/features/gas-turbines-breaking.html

    The slightly lower temperature of the E-cat would give a bit lower efficiency or the final temperature could be boosted with NG.

    Low cost heat might possibly beat NG turbines, which are nearly the most economical now.

    Rossi announced back in January plans to evaluate gas turbines. http://www.e-catworld.com/2014/01/11/rossi-turbines-not-yet-hooked-to-hot-cat/

  • Ged

    Very cool seeing that mention on NBC!

    Also, seems the MFMP group found the source of TRIAC controller used in the report and are going to get it themselves. Ironically named microFUSION.

    • colodude

      Ged, not being critical, but when I saw NBCNews.com, it meant that the TV News won’t pick it up, but NBC can say they covered it. When it comes from Brian Williams’ lips, then I’ll know mainstream is ready to talk about it. Maybe after the next experiment?

      • jousterusa

        Brian Williams reads a script from a Teleprompter, so it would have to start out as writing, anyway!

  • deleo77

    Nice to hear Rossi interviewed about the test and where he is at. Unfortunately it doesn’t seem like anything else is coming up soon. He is just focussing on the 1 MW plant and that could take a while. So we may be starved for news for the foreseeable future. But listening to Rossi, it reminds me that as much as people think of him as a show-man, or a magician, he is kind of a matter of fact person. He doesn’t seem to have an ego or want the spotlight. He just focuses on his next thing to do.


  • Bernie777

    Too bad, but this might be the beginning of the end of Dr. Rossi answering questions, exchanging information, on JONP, it sounds like he is getting overwhelmed by the traffic.

  • Gerard McEk

    Be optimistic: Tiny breezes may grow to vast hurricanes…

  • Gerard McEk

    Here is an interview with Andrea Rossi about the latest test, the 1 MW plant and other things. Not much new is mentioned, Andrea is obviously restricted in what he is allowed to say.


  • Donk970

    Looking at pictures of the reactor used in this most recent test makes me think that even if you discarded the reactor module when the fuel was used up and used a new one each time these reactor modules will cost only a few hundred dollars at most to manufacture. Probably a lot less once all the kinks are worked out and they can be mass produced in a factory instead of by hand. I doubt there’s more than a dollars worth of raw materials in one; the raw materials are practically worthless and the fabrication techniques are pretty much old hat. Like many devices the first one costs a few million and all the rest cost a lot less. This means that very conservatively the cost per KWh per reactor module is going to be no more than ten cents. In reality with longer run times between reloads, higher COP’s and low cost manufacturing you could be talking a penny or less per KWh. The big cost will be on the conversion side where you have expensive turbines and a lot of infrastructure.

    I think right now though, Industrial Heat needs to build a small, quick and dirty power plant that produces net electricity out with no input from the grid at all. Battery startup and off the shelf parts like an existing Stirling engine modified to use several hot cats in the combustion chamber. It doesn’t have to be pretty and it doesn’t have to be efficient it just needs to be good enough to produce continuous electric power out for several months. Being able to plunk something down in the middle of a big parking lot and run something that takes a significant amount of power with no power from the grid will go a long way to finally squash the skeptopaths.

    • Aleksandr Albert

      I have the good fortune of living in a small oil rich country (Trinidad and Tobago) The rate of electricity here is 5 cents/kWh, what’s the rate where you are from?

    • Omega Z

      As to the simplicity of the reactor, looks can be deceiving.
      Simple can be complex & complex -simple. It’s the unknown details.
      I note the power box they used is around $1100 dollars on E-bey & the controller for multiple reactors steps it up in cost real fast.

      As to your idea of setting up an E-cat to self run using batteries, This would likely take quite sometime(And a Lot of Cash) to actually prototype & get a pilot system going.

      And, Ultimately, I don’t think they want that total confirmation at this time. At least not within the general population. The pressure & expectations would interfere. Likely they will do this when they are ready. That or it will be a gradual awareness by the public.

  • artefact

    The dropping at Oktober 8 is very good visible!
    6 month view to see the drop, 1 month to see the exact date.