Rossi: Gas-Driven Hot Cat Evolution Underway [Update: What about Emissions?]

We had some discussion here today about what the status of Hot-Cat R&D was. Rossi has said that the 1 MW plant they are spending so much time and effort perfecting is a low temperature E-Cat which would not reach temperatures sufficient to produce high-pressure steam necessary for generating electricity — only the Hot Cats would be able to do that.

So I asked Rossi about the status of Hot Cat R&D today:

Dear Andrea,

You mention that the current plant you are working on (and giving your full attention to) is a normal E-Cat plant.
Does this mean that development of Hot Cat plants will wait until the current task of perfecting your first 1 MW plant is complete?

************

Andrea Rossi
December 4th, 2014 at 1:16 PM
Frank Acland:
No, it does not mean that: as I explained, we are also working on the gas fueled Hot Cat, this R&D bringing with itself the Hot Cat evolution.
Warm Regards,
A.R.

Just a couple of days ago, when asked about progress with the gas-fueled Hot Cat, Rossi stated, “We are working on this issue very, very, very hard.” It sounds to me like IH may have decided to go all out in developing gas powered Hot Cat plants, which could be much more economical than electric powered ones, given the relative cost of natural gas compared to electricity. We don’t know what the COP of these Hot Cat plants will be, but if you used natural gas as the input, it would be around three times more cost-effective than using electricity.

UPDATE: A question was posted on the JONP about the emissions that would necessarily be be produced by a natural gas-fueled E-Cat:

Dear Andrea,
How do you feel about having to give up the “zero emissions” ideal for a gas fuelled e-cat?
Regards,
Patrick

Patrick Ellul:
Zero emissions with a gas fueled E-Cat is impossible. But due to the ssm and the efficiency the emissions will be of one order of magnitude less than with conventional systems.
Warm Regards,
A.R.

Thinking about this, even if a Hot Cat were fueled by electricity, there would also likely be emissions involved, since most electricity generated these days is generated by burning fossil fuels. Things might be different if the electricity was generated by solar or wind (and Rossi has talked about a solar powered E-Cat), but that would add a new level of complexity and expense to a Hot Cat plant, which not everyone might be willing to invest in.

Down the road, if the E-Cat really takes off, it should be possible to have one Hot Cat plant generate electricity to power another one — but in these early days that’s not going to happen.

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