Calculating E-Cat Plant Energy Savings (Omega Z)

This comment was originally posted by Omega Z on this thread.

Most of you see the shipping container full of hardware and have concerns about the 1MW E-Cat plant’s cost. The cost is a valid consideration, but needs to be taken into perspective. What portion of that hardware is required regardless of the heat supply? Most of it; only the E-cat specifics will add higher costs.

The boiler tank, heat exchangers, most of the plumbing & sensors would be required for any system, gas or electric. If gas was used, there would be gas valves and an array of safety sensors. It would require expensive burner tubes made of a nickel alloy. It would also have a combustion air blower. Electric would be somewhat simpler, but is a higher value energy.

In the past, Rossi and others have discussed payback time, usually posed as: how much savings does the E-cat have to make in order to pay for itself? As a sales point, this is actually a miscalculation. It should be posed as the difference between a conventional versus an E-Cat boiler. Following are some rough numbers to give an idea about how to calculate the savings.

If the conventional boiler costs $500K, and the E-cat boiler costs $800K, then the (savings/payback) required is $300K within in x-time. If x-time is 3-5 years, this is an easy business call. If the E-Cat replaces an electric boiler, anything beyond COP=1 is positive. If it’s replacing a gas boiler, anything beyond COP=3 is positive as 1 & 3 are about breakeven energy cost respective to the E-cat.

Replacing an electric boiler with an electric E-Cat boiler.

Keep in mind, cost will vary by region, and large energy users also get special bulk rate and bypass some middle costs. This is just an example.

1MW=1000KW at (10 cents ??) a kilowatt would be $100 per hour. $2400 a day times 365 days=$876,000
COP=1 annual costs $876,000
COP=2 saves 50% or $438,000
COP=4 saves 75% or $657,000
COP=8 saves 87.5% or $766.500
COP=16 saves 93.75% or $821.250
I took it this far (COP=16) to show not just the savings, but to show that you get diminishing returns. As the COP increases exponentially, The savings decrease exponentially. Also, I think COP=20 kind of hits the wall. Even if it stays in self-sustain mode (SSM) all the time, you still have to include the control panel energy use. Only a fool would want something you have no control of.

If I were Rossi, and obtained COP=20 including the control power, I would change tack. Say if the control panel of a 1MW plant uses 1000 watts for the control, I would look at the possibility of bringing that down to 500 watts. You just doubled COP to 40.
At that point, I would just sell them because who wants to quibble about fractions of a watt per 1000 watts gained. Additional efforts become kind of silly.
P.S. COP calculations will be different for replacing a gas boiler with an electric E-cat. You start at COP=3 & double 6,12,24, Etc to calculate savings as to the chart.

Note. Some get caught up in the higher & higher COP. This does not give you more energy per se. A 10KWh E-cat is still a 10KWh E-cat. Higher COP just makes it cheaper to operate. As you can see, the benefits of higher COP become seriously diminished after COP=10. In fact, COP=20 only saves an additional 5%. COP=40 another 2.5%.

Finding a better means for conversion of heat to electric is far more important after COP=10.

Omega Z

  • Gerrit

    Rossi says the self sustain mode is very long, let’s assume that means 20% on and 80% off ?
    Let’s also assume that during “on” the power in is 400kW to get 1MW out.

    With those figures the COP would be 12.5.

    If we take slightly more optimistic figures like 300kW only 15% of the time we get a COP of 22.2

    On the other hand if the power in during “on” is close to power out, let’s say 800kW and the self sustain mode is only 50%, we’ll only have COP 2.5, but that would still save $525,600 per year.

  • LuFong

    Just to point out, while energy savings is important to the customer, so is the use of clean energy. This factor alone may make the use of the the E-Cat worthwhile even if the COP is only good enough to pay for the plant.

  • builditnow

    Higher COPs are required for a jet turbine retrofit. Since Jet engines can convert heat to mechanical energy as low as 20%, a COP of 5 is required for a breakeven. A COP of 50 would mean that a converted jet engine would use 10% of it’s mechanical output to run the Hot Cats. A COP of 100 would mean 5% of the mechanical output is required. A COP above 200 would be nice for this application.
    Such high COPs may sound difficult, however, in a jet engine conversion, control over heat loss as well as heat added is possible. With control over heat loss, once the reactor(s) is exothermic, the only energy needed would be for the control system and magnetic stimulation (if required). In this case, high COPs could be achieved.

    • Omega Z

      To Start, the post is an example. However, you can see the exponentially diminishing returns. That is a mathematical fact. You also have the unavoidable power consumption of the control panel which has to be taken into account.

      The Lugano report indicated the controller uses 300 watts. So even with a reactor in Continuous SSM, the COP will be limited to 33. You also can’t rule out a need for reactor input at least occasionally. Regardless, at 20% Jet engine efficiency, you will always have just 2Kw of a 10Kw reactor. Even infinite COP & no control panel will change that. With the Lugano controller, that leaves 1670 watts per reactor. Possibly, the controller input can be reduced. It depends exactly on what that input does. But what ever it uses will need to be deducted from the 2Kw.

      As I have posted, instead of obsessing with higher COP per se, we need to take other options into account. Jet engine efficiency is tricky because there are so many variables, But with the new engine GE is working on & the temps that a Hot-cat can achieve/maintain, I think 30% or more is possible. This provides 3Kw per reactor. This is a much better approach then trying to double COP just to gain a few 10’s of watts. If you don’t have enough power, you need to add more reactors.

      Think outside the box.
      Use a smaller E-cat generator to power the larger E-cat system of which a small portion is looped back to power the smaller generator. The smaller system would require less input. This also increases the safety factor. Especially if you throw in a battery pack. You have power from 3 points.

      You may want to study the Nuclear reactor powered Bomber. Much of this has already been worked out. Add to their work with technology advances such as more efficient engines, etc..& see where your at.

      Note, Nuclear reactors due to radiation safety issues are not that efficient. They are restricted on both temperatures & pressure. E-cats would not have these restrictions. Nor would radiation shielding be necessary. Less weight.

      Note: If it’s feasible to power a Bomber by Nuclear reactors, Powered by E-cats may even be economical. Fly non stop for a year. Maybe Amazon can deliver beer & pizza by drone. Gotta have the essentials right.

  • BroKeeper

    Spot on OZ. A number above COP=20 becomes insignificant, although sales will love to push the
    specs if a rating of COP100 or even COP1000 had a perceptive advantage. Like a 350 horsepower engine could be visualized as a car pulled by a team of 350 horses, but for speed – not so much.

    Perhaps COP will be changed to Cash Operating Profit for legacy fossil fuel comparisons.

    • Omega Z

      For sales point comparison try Camera pixels war. 4 megapixels 6, 12, bazillion.

      • BroKeeper

        That is better considering the “Spot on” comment. 😉

  • Buck

    And if you follow through, you will see that DCSC’s review of Lomborg’s appeal changed nothing. They concluded that their judgment would not change given that the rationale of the appeal neither contradicted nor rendered false their DCSC’s original logic.

    • Brent Buckner

      That’s not quite the way that I read it. As I read it, they did not address the Ministry’s concerns about the improperness of their investigation because they had found Lomborg “not guilty”.

      • Buck

        Are you “listening” to what you are saying?

        The investigation was improper because they found Lomborg “not guilty”?

        So, it would have been proper if their conclusion had been something like:
        Lomborg was guilty of being dishonest through misrepresentation of scientific facts and guilty of doing so knowing that he lacked expertise in the fields in question.

        IMHO, this adds additional support to EEStorFanFibb’s original point: Lomborg is something of a shill.

  • ecatworld

    We’re getting quite a long way off topic here — points have been made, let’s get back to the topic of the thread.

  • Leonard Weinstein

    If the systems are used only for heating, and electrical power is available as needed, the authors comments are correct. However, if the systems are used to first generate electrical power for the E-Cat and other uses (using Stirling Cycle or related generator), using a high temperature output, then use the lower temperature heat output from the generation for the desired heating, then a much larger COP is needed (e.g., >5), and much of the generated electrical energy is used just to operate the E-Cats. This is the final desired stage, where the facility is independent from a continual external power source. There would be required electrical power for start up, but solar cells and batteries could satisfy this need.

    • Omega Z

      Yes Leonard, This is just an example.
      However the exponentially diminishing return is a mathematical fact.

      Feeling lazy today so the numbers that follows is only for illustration.
      If COP=10 saves you 100 watts of input, Then COP=20 will only save you an additional 50 watts of input. COP=40 saves another 25 watts. Doubling COP always results in halving the additional savings. Exponentially diminishing return.

      How much time, effort, & money is it worth to save a few watts. This is why I say you start hitting a wall at around COP=20. Maybe it’s best to put that effort elsewhere instead of obsessing about COP. The Lugano report stated the controller uses 300 watts, so even with no other input to the reactor, this limits the COP to 33. If the reactor requires additional input, that COP will decline.

      It would be well worthwhile to put that extra effort into finding a more efficient way to convert heat to electricity. There are a couple lines of research into this. Both have possibilities of exceeding 50%.

      Instead of getting 2Kw/3Kw out of a 10Kw reactor, you could obtain 5Kw. One benefit of this is requiring far fewer reactors. Maybe half. Note that exceeding 20% with a Stirling Cycle isn’t easy at any scale.

      One of the technologies I’m aware of is the JTEC. The way it functions, it should be able to produce high efficiencies at any scale. It’s temperature dependent. Not Scale dependent. E-cats can achieve 1000’C plus temps whether 10Kw or 1Mw.

      NOTE: It has been speculated that the JTEC could possibly exceed the Carnot limit. There are zero moving parts thus no mechanical losses.

      • MontagueWithnail

        Not sure if this is what you are already saying (if so then pardon) but once you are making electricity then, as long as your initial COP beats your net(-) efficiency, you are effectively already in self-sustaining mode and it all becomes about your capex.

        To take this to an extreme (just for example sake) let’s say you have a system with a net(-) electrical efficiency of 33% (i.e. not including the required power input to the reactor but net of all other ancillary power consumption, I am using net(-) to define this) and a COP of 3.1. At first glance we are unlikely to consider this a promising set-up.

        In this scenario we put in 1 Unit of power at the start, the reactor puts out 3.1 units of thermal energy and the turbine/generator makes 1.023 units of electricity once it has paid for all its non-reactor ancillaries. It then has to pay 1 unit-e back to the reactor to sustain the process and exports 0.023 Units-e. Still not sounding overly promising, but actually if it took 10 units at the beginning to start the whole thing up, and can be kept running for a whole year before maintenance, it will give an overall e-COP of over 20!

        Of course we had to build our turbine/generator about 40 times bigger than our export capacity which is likely to be a problem, but by the time we get to a reactor COP of 4 we’re only having to build it 3 times bigger and are getting an annual e-COP of 2,800. Improve the net(-) efficiency to 40% (should be no problem for such high temps) and for less than double the Capex you’ve got practically no fuel cost, even if you have to do a couple of maintenance shut-downs per year.

        As a power plant developer I would take double capex for zero fuel cost any day of the week, and hence I think LENR power generation will be perfectly viable with a reactor COP of 4.

  • Leonard Weinstein

    The interest in high COP is not an obsession, there clearly are practical limitations to total effective COP due to the need for power for controllers, pumps, electronics, etc., and diminishing saving returns if you use externally supplied electric power. However, if a system is to be free from external supplied power (not a necessity, but desirable in case of power loss in storm, or if you are on an island, or if you just desire to be independent of external sources) you need to generate the supply power as well as additional desired electrical energy and thermal power. The small systems to generate electricity from heat are likely to be limited to about 20% or a bit higher, and much less if something like a thermoelectric generator is used (about 5% for these). Clearly a COP of 3 is good for many uses if external electric power is available and low enough cost. For independent systems, COP values of >9, with 20% efficient generation, is likely good for self powered systems, and also provide useful extra electrical power and heat. Much more than a COP of 10 clearly eventually results in a diminishing return. The case of interest to me is an independent home system, and I have run numbers for needs of typical homes. I concluded that to be independent of external power and other utilities, a COP of 12 to 15 is a very desirable range, with a 20% thermal to electric generator, and a total of about 20 to 30 kW high temperature thermal output from the LENR system. In addition, a modest solar cell and battery system is actually more cost effective than totally depending on the LENR system, allowing a far smaller generator (Stirling Cycle as example), and conduct many higher power uses in daytime. The big uncertainty to me at present is cost of the LENR system, lifetime, and cost of refueling.

    • Omega Z

      Leonard, I like your post. You’ve put some serious thought into this as to pros/cons.

      There are some that obsess about the COP. I was merely pointing out that there is a reasonable point(Probably COP=20) where it is better to turn their attention to improving other areas. Conversion of heat to electricity for instance. I show where a possible COP=33, But I find that highly unlikely & the returns beyond COP=20 probably isn’t worth the effort.

      I also agree that small systems would be limited to about 20% conversion efficiency or a bit higher. Caveat, there are means to get higher conversion, but the trade off is these devices have a very short life. They cost far more then you would ever get in return. It would be cheaper to just scale up power production.

      Grid Power. The purpose is for maintaining control should you system become unstable. However, one could use a battery pack but it adds a lot of cost. batteries, converters etc…emm Maybe consider that a back up generator cost?

      You posted “total of about 20 to 30 kW high temperature thermal output”
      Depends on where you live & lifestyle. A 10Kw reactor is 34K Btu’s.
      Where I live in a 1000 sq-ft home plus full basement, 1 would supply much of my winter heat. But there are periods where I would need 2. All total, I would probably need 5-10Kw reactors.

      Not all powered at once, but intermittently. This is an issue. They take hours to power up. Now you need heat storage, battery power etc, & as you point out, Now you getting into serious costs. We all want cleaner energy, but for most of us, Our biggest reason for following this is we want CHEAP.

      You posted “The big uncertainty to me at present is cost of the LENR system, lifetime, and cost of refueling.”
      I think lifetime wont be an issue. I’m thinking 30/50 years.
      Cost? Hot cats maybe expensive plus the hardware to generate electricity. I indicated the need for 5 E-cat. 3 hot, 2 low temp. Refueling is a big ? mark.
      I’m thinking E-cat electric power from a scaled down power grid at cities edge. This gives me cheaper electricity. I’m thinking 1 Lt E-cat for winter heat for base load & a smaller but conventional heating system for peak loads. It would be nice if the Lt e-cat could supply enough electricity to power itself by TEG. If not, I still have cheaper grid power to operate it on.

      Now I have cheaper with zero extra hassle. No generator to mess with or maintenance to worry about. Convenient, another thing we want.