E-Cat Considered as Solution to South African Power Crisis

South Africa is currently being gripped by an Energy crisis. Eskom, the country’s main public utility (and seventh largest in the world), which provides 95 per cent of South Africa’s electricity has been conducting a controlled rolling blackout policy known as ‘load shedding’ since November 1st, when a major coal power station’s coal storage silo collapsed, and another one was found to be cracking. Shortages of backup diesel supplies have also contributed to the electricity shortages.

The South African government is working on putting together a bailout plan to keep Eskom operational, and the country’s lights on, and The Financial Times reports that the electricity crisis is having a major negative effect on the nation’s economy.

A Former managing director of the South African Independent Power Producers Association commented that South Africans should buy generators and stock up on candles because they are going to need them for the next five to ten years.

Writing for South Africa’s Independent Online (IOL) news service, Keith Bryer proposes that cold fusion could present a solution to the problem. In an article titled “SA should pray for fusion power to come to the rescue”, Byer covers recent news about fusion power, mentioning the Lockheed Martin project, and Andrea Rossi’s E-Cat, and looks at how a new form of energy could help solve the current problems. He writes:

So let us change the subject, away from the appalling mismanagement of the national electricity grid and instead dream of living to see a better future – one that will sweep aside the overpaid bureaucrats that have taken over Eskom in the last two decades . . .

One recent alleged method for creating fusion that got some physicists’ blood boiling comes from Italy. It is the child of a self-taught engineer called Andrea Rossi.

Rossi claims his method is produced in a low-energy nuclear reactor he has designed. Rossi also claims his method has been independently verified . . .

The reactor is small. It fits on a tabletop. Fine granules of nickel plus hydrogen and a catalyst produce a reaction. The heat generated turns water into steam that drives a generator. The fuel allegedly produces 1 million times more energy than petrol.

Sounds like the answer to every Green person’s dream. Sounds like the answer to every South African’s prayer as well.

Meanwhile, until fusion is mastered to everyone’s satisfaction, our national and monopolistic electricity company will continue to be run by top managers with little or no experience, and “manned” by too many people who are there for reasons other than their qualifications.

We know that the work that Rossi and others in the cold fusion/LENR field are doing is currently at a very early stage, and unfortunately cannot be deployed at a moment’s notice to solve an energy crisis like the one in South Africa — but there is a growing awareness of the potential of this technology, and as interest grows we may see more funds and expertise applied to help get it to a stage where it can be deployed to solve real-world problems. For some situations, that time can’t come soon enough.

  • Hador_NYC

    Why not just make a new coal plant? Why don’t they deploy solar and wind? One good thing about Solar is that it’s easy, although intermittent and not cheap, to deploy. Rossi’s E-CAT won’t be ready for this kind of usage easily for 5-10 years. SA is a hot, dry country, so solar works well there, as compared to New England where I live and haven’t seen the sun in days.

    • “Let them eat cake” = Let them use solar power

      Al Gore can afford a few token solar panels on his gated $8,875,000 ocean-view villa in Montecito, California. Even then he needs to pump in electricity from California’s nuclear, hydroelectric, and fossil fuel power plants.


      Poor South Africans cannot afford solar power and no nation can to any degree beyond window dressing. The solar energy fad was a major factor in the economic collapse of Greece and Spain, both hot and dry countries. Germany spent billions on solar and still had to build new coal power plants to keep afloat. Diffuse and intermittent power sources don’t work because you have to cover a large area of the Earth with collection mechanisms that cost very BIG money. Even then you only get back unreliable power for only part of the day. Why bother? We need affordable bread, not cake.

      “Because renewable power sources have been so unreliable, Germany has been forced to construct numerous new coal plants in an effort to replace the nuclear energy it has taken offline. In fact the country will build more coal-fired facilities this year than at any time in the past two decades – bringing an estimated 5,300 megawatts of new capacity online. Most of these facilities will burn lignite, too, which is strip-mined and emits nearly 30 percent more carbon dioxide than hard coal.”


      • Hador_NYC

        fundamentally, i agree. but they are saying 5-10 years of unreliable power. A new coal plant, or upgrades to existing ones in country will take that long. Solar panels could be added quickly. while they are not cheap, having 5-10 years of unreliable power is also not cheap. Plus, unlike the US, they don’t have much in the way of fossil fuels, so it may, as it is in Hawaii, cost effective to use reneweables.

        you misunderstand, in places with access to cheap coal, and time, coal or other fossil fuels win, but SA is has neither.

        • EEStorFanFibb

          nothing can scale faster than solar.

      • Bernie777

        I disagree, Germany is on the right track, its leaders are not afraid to LEAD. This from Bloomberg article below. “The Energiewende will go on despite its obvious setbacks. There are countries in Europe that already generate more than half of their electricity from renewable sources, such as Sweden, and others that are getting there, such as Austria, and the continent’s biggest economy is trying hard to catch up. The German government’s determination to experiment, and citizens’ continued willingness to pay for these experiments if they lead to a cleaner future, carry important lessons for the U.S. and other countries where politicians are afraid of the kind of upheavals that Germany has faced.”


        • “If anyone needed proof that subsidy-dependent businesses will always seek more subsidies, look no further than the U.S. wind industry. On Wednesday, the wind sector won a vote in the House on a tax bill that includes a one-year extension of the production tax credit (PTC), which gives wind companies 2.3 cents for every kilowatt-hour of electricity they produce. The companies can collect that subsidy for a decade after they are deemed eligible.”

          “The extension of the PTC was part of a bill that contained more than 50 tax breaks and subsidies that will cost taxpayers more than $40 billion. The portion attributable to the wind industry: about $6.3 billion. It appears that the Senate will pass the bill and President Obama will sign it into law. Thus the wind industry, which has been getting subsidies (with a few short interruptions) since 1992, will continue feeding at the trough.”

          “If there was any doubt that the wind industry needs subsidies, look at the statement put out on Tuesday by the American Wind Energy Association, the sector’s main lobbying group.AWEA said that after the PTC expired in 2013, “new wind installations came to a halt, resulting in a 92 percent drop in new wind projects.”


          • Bernie777

            So your solution? Continue to burn coal? I am for the US government to start a Manhattan Project to develop LENR. Are You? We cannot wait another 25 years, while millions die. That project would in effect be a massive subsidy from the US taxpayers, I think it would be worth every penny. It is called leadership, but it will not come from our present leadership in Washington. In that bill you quoted above, they increased fossil fuel and fission nuclear research and decreased renewable research.

          • Reasonable government investments in energy research is justified. Energy mandates and subsidies are never justified. The consumer should have the ultimate decision making authority as to what he or she wants to purchase. Consumers spend money more wisely, on average, than government. Energy is a product, just like bread. Just think if we had never gone to war in the Middle East, never spent a dime on foreign aid, minded our own business, and saved all that money and all those lives, and then spent just 5% of the saved money on LENR research. The energy crisis would probably be over. But governments around the world are not logical because the voters and/ or dictators are not logical and well informed. Insanity rules planet Earth, not reason. Maybe we need some Vulcans to take over and run things for us.

          • Bernie777

            I think we only disagree when you say “never”. Some subsidies have paid off in a huge way, like it or not the fission nuclear subsidies of the 1960’s and 70’s have paid off in a huge way. Early Agriculture subsidies paid off in a huge way, making us the bread basket of the world. Should there be a subsidy for child care? Fifty six percent of the total tax subsidies went to just four industries: financial, utilities, tele-communications, and oil, gas and pipelines. Maybe we can agree there are some good and some bad subsidy programs just like there are some good regulations and some really bad and unnecessary regulations. You will probably disagree but I think the electric car and solar are good subsidies. I can name probably hundreds of bad regulations, as you probably can, but the financial regulation that keeps our big banks from dealing in and creating risky derivatives that created our 2008 depression is one I like. The bill you mentioned above eliminates that regulation and lets the banks go back to their prior 2008 extremely bad and risky habits. It makes you wonder, what law maker would let the banks do this and why?

          • we want LENR Fusione Fredda

            “Insanity rules planet Earth, not reason”. I subscribe to that.
            If we look for reason in the real economic environment, our limbic system provides the answers.
            Pre-Socratic philosophy should be a mandatory subject at school.

          • Omega Z

            Careful what you wish for Bernie.
            They already have an on going Manhattan Project.
            It’s called ITER. Another 50 Billion$ & another 20 years, it may reach breakeven.

          • Bernie777

            What, you do not want LENR research?

          • Omega Z

            There you go again.
            Putting words in my mouth.

            The Question should be do you want LENR research?
            I’m quite sure the Government can string this out for decades, Always 20 years from being ready & another 20 Billion$ in funding.
            Why do you put so much faith in an Entity that has allowed the suppression of this technology & even at times has been an accomplice to it’s suppression.

            As I stated, Careful what you wish for Bernie.
            You may get it & find it wasn’t what you expected.

          • Bernie777

            Omega, So you are saying the US Federal Government is delaying LENR research, knowingly, for the purpose of delaying LENR implementation? Or, are you saying the dumb bureaucracy is not recognizing LENR?

          • winebuff67

            Better lay off thecfox news christopher oil and gas have had huge subsidies for over a hundred years lets convert that to today’s dollars and compare. Now quit with your stupid political blathe and talk about something you are knowledgable about whatever that may be.

          • I oppose all energy energy subsidies and mandates across the board. A level playing field works out best. I don’t have cable television and never watch Fox News. This is basic economics. Politics and economics are two different subjects.

          • Omega Z

            Subsidies is a highly abused Term.
            In the eyes of some Liberal’s(A small far left minority) Your wages are a subsidy because your employer isn’t taxed on it prior to paying you. This is a business expense, Not a profit. Not a subsidy.

            U.S. School lunch program where the Fed’s provide $1 to cover a portion of a $3 lunch is a real subsidy. Money actually paid out. Note that In the eyes of some conservatives(a small far right minority) consider food assistance/Food stamps as a Farm subsidy.

            There is about 2 Billion$ a year available as Oil subsidies. Most of which is never paid out & when it is, it’s to the small/private Oil business. Most small companies aren’t able to qualify. Big Oil don’t care. They’ve Stated point blank to eliminate it as it costs them more to situate themselves to qualify for this subsidy then it gives back. After this statement, the politicians became very vague about what they meant by Oil subsidies.

            There are some so-called subsidies(No money exchanges hands) that are actually just the cost of doing business & Shouldn’t be taxed. Some of these that are not taxed on the front end add value to the Corporation in which case it does rightfully become taxed as a Capitol gain. So It is not a subsidy, but just taxed in a different manor. Most of this Subsidy talk is just Political Talking Point BS.
            I don’t subscribe to this thinking, but various U.S. taxing bodies collect over 200 Billion$ a years in taxes on Oil. You could ask Who is subsidizing Who.

            Bottom Line. Business would prefer a simpler tax system. They just want it to be fairly applied to all in their line of business & to know Exactly How Much? As in gasoline, Is it 10% or 30 cents a gallon. How much so they can add it to the product cost.

            Business 101: All raw materials, labor, overhead, Taxes, Etc, are a business cost that must be calculated into the cost of a product before calculating the profit margin to be added. Business doesn’t pay taxes, Their just Tax Collectors for the Government. That’s a Fact.

          • we want LENR Fusione Fredda

            Should we compare the subsidies to renewables (which are public) to the backhands (which are private) that fossil fuel has provided for at least a century?

          • As you know I oppose all energy subsidies, that is a very weak, repetitious, and dishonest argument. Where are we going to get the money for wind and solar subsidies? We are bankrupt and only kept alive by money borrowed from abroad, with China being our biggest creditor.


          • we want LENR Fusione Fredda

            If repaying debt were the main worry today, then you would be absolutely right. But this is another issue.

            It is not only the US who can flaunt huge national debt numbers, mathematically.


            Energy subsidy is, yes, weak, but it is the one way to make renewable energy implementation financially viable, more swiftly than the market drag would normally allow.
            It is the simple principle: “What’s in it for me?”. Payback. Unless there is a stimulus to attain an objective, and this stimulus in our world is cash, that objective will be ignored.

            How does a government achieve the goal of pushing, stimulating the search for a new form of ‘cleaner’ energy, which is shown to be less damaging for the environment whence the collectivity survives? By making its profits more desirable than the well established and “oiled” alternative.

            How does a government ignore the collectivity and look to maximize its own profits? By fostering existing businesses that are unable and unwilling to change, receiving backhands for the service.


            “This Mafia infiltrated municipal agencies,” putting loyal but inept
            people in top positions so they could “drain the coffers without
            providing services,” (E. Povoledo, http://www.nytimes.com/2014/12/12/world/italy-gasps-as-inquiry-reveals-mobs-long-reach.html?ref=europe&_r=0)

            At least, in this sobering panorama, subsidies for renewable energy aim – through cash that is paid by the collectivity – to benefit the collectivity in the long run.

          • Windmills harm the environment rather than helping. If hunters killed as many birds and bats as windmills, they would be put in jail. There is a citizen backlash going on against these monster machines turning our countryside into an ugly industrial park. You need monster sized machines to collect diffuse energy sources, and that is why they don’t work. Those monster sized machines do damage to the environment, and that is why we need compact, high energy density LENR. As I mentioned before, the National Research Council found that wind, solar, and biofuel subsidies are a failure at reducing greenhouse gas emissions and 48 billion in US federal subsidies have had no significant positive effects on global warming. Why add to our debt to force people to use energy systems that don’t work, and will always require subsidies to compete and survive? You have to get out of your head the absolutely wrong idea that wind and solar are “green”. All they do is waste money while human civilization is in a global recession because of high energy prices. We need cheap energy to bring the world economy back to prosperity. That is why we need LENR. The renewable energy fad is a destructive hoax and is now just another runaway welfare program for corporate greed.

          • we want LENR Fusione Fredda

            I agree on the bad need for LENR.
            I respectfully disagree on the windmills and solar issue, which are bridge technologies.
            Renewables are constantly changing to the market stimulus and to the realization that progressively more can be done to increase efficiency, both on the demand and on the supply side: this is when the two intersecting curves are shifted down and to the right in the famous diagram.
            Far more damage is done, and infinitely more resources are destroyed by fossil fuel and fission plants.

  • mcloki

    SA’s energy problems are all political in nature. Mismanagement and dare I say corruption is at fault. the E-cat won’t make a bit of difference there.

    • we want LENR Fusione Fredda

      I keep telling myself not to look at the e-cat as the saviour of our lives, because I fear human corruption will exploit it, deny its use, control whom it will benefit, etc.

      Experiences such as this cold fusion renaissance show the freedom, also a market freedom, and the opportunities that the internet, which we might take for granted, provides.
      We are now fighting, each of us with our words, for this cold fusion idea and hope to break through the lives of everyone, and benefit the world. But is this the world of men and women of good will?

  • builditnow

    The timid reporter phase:
    The first step seems to be getting past the timid reporter phase. “Oh, I hear on the wind there could be a new form or energy, but, then again perhaps I just had a dream last night. It could save us and make a huge difference to the planet, but, I won’t look into it any further because I’m on an exciting story about some schmuck’s affair, much more important don’t you think …. your trusty timid reporter” This could take years for the timid reporter to finally jump up and down and say “I was the first to report on it”.

    Once the world population knows about the E-Cat and others, implementation could be much quicker than the timid reporter phase.

  • GreenWin

    According to the USGS South Africa holds 50% of the planet’s gold resources. Rolling blackouts and oil burning generation is the result of endemic corruption. This is a country that needs to face its problems and hire experts to run their utilities. With their enormous wealth in gold they could follow the Saudi model of partnering with competent engineering contractors.

    • Achi

      Or… They hire the lowest bidder, keep the extra cash in the corrupt system, and tell everyone to get generators. Knowing how politicians think, that’s what is going to happen.

  • simon

    Praying, hoping, waiting.

    • bachcole

      For me: Just waiting. The praying and hoping are done with.

  • we want LENR Fusione Fredda

    “everything that we do to others we are IN FACT doing to ourselves, and
    everything that we do eventually comes back to our little, finite,
    personal selves”. Absolutely.