It’s been interesting hearing Andrea Rossi talking about the problems that he and his team are having to deal with as they try and get the E-Cat 1 MW plant at the customer site. We might consider that since Rossi has been working with E-Cats for such a long time that this should not be a major issue, but as he said in his interview with John Maguire earlier this week, this is the first time they have run a plant with a load on it.
My understanding from reading the Journal of Nuclear Physics and from communications with Rossi is that the plant Rossi is installing is to be used in some kind of factory working on a production line, and will be delivering thermal energy in the form of steam. Rossi says it needs to work 24/7 for 350 days per year. If this is the case then there will be issues to deal with in terms of using heat exchangers, plumbing, water flow, etc. Then there is the added complexity of a 1 MW plant which is made up of multiple E-Cats, all of which need to be controlled.. Below are a couple of comments today on this subject which I thought were particularly interesting and perceptive.
First is from Jimr
My opinion, a single ecat can be made to operate ,however it takes constant readjustment ( triac voltage and possible freq.) per the latest test, under computer control. Since there is such a variance between devices it would require separate sensor inputs and multiple outputs to each 10kw ecat which would require an exotic multiplexer to control each of the 100 ecats individually, therefore the problems they are having when they try to ship a 1mw unit. This may end up to be not cost effective. We may have to wait until 100kw, 1mw , etc. individual units are developed. The bright side may be that a reliable 10kw unit could be ideal for the a singe home unit at some point in the future.
Next is from Omega Z responding to Jimr
I agree that controlling 100 reactors could be daunting as it’s a new technology, but it’s a matter of time & engineering. It is doable.
This kind of control is done on a daily bases. The fact few people are aware shows it can be done silently in the background. Might I mention the Internet, The flying Wing, Drones, Space X reusable rockets, Etc..
They all manage 10’s of thousands of inputs & deal with it quite easily. The computer board to control a 1Mw plant will eventually be quite small & inexpensive, The human interface on the other hand will be larger with it’s LCD screens & manual control switches & higher price tag.
No doubt, these are the major issue’s Rossi is dealing with in the 1Mw pilot plant. Initially with multiple problems & gradually working it down to a near zero event over long periods of time.
Note, This scenario will repeat when IH/Rossi start the 1st Plant to produce Electricity. However, experience with just providing process heat will be of high value.
As to home units, They will be used for base load heating initially supplemented by conventional heating for peek demand periods. The E-cat has great potential for many uses, but, it has certain inherent issue’s to be overcome before it becomes truly practical for all things in the home. The Biggest issue is, required 24/7 operation, because it takes hours to start up. It has a similar shut down period, but that’s not of much concern.
The test report shows it is well suited to ramp up as comparable to conventional heating purposes, however, there is the question if the economics suffer. It’s most efficient at peek power. What happens if that peek is only needed for short spells & most of the time it operates at half power.
Note: This will vary by your geographic location, but in Illinois, you will need 1- 10Kw e-cat for every 500 sq. ft. of floor space for winter heating. Many variables here depending on temp & whether this is peek or base load. Base load would be about 1 per 1K sq. ft.
PS, 100Kw or bigger E-cats are many years of R&D away.