Rossi on Production: ‘Unthinkable’ to Sell E-Cats Until Economy of Scale Reached

I put a question to Andrea Rossi on the Journal of Nuclear Physics regarding the power output of the first industrial E-Cats, and got a response which covered more than I anticipated.

Andrea Rossi

Frank Acland:
Please remind that until the R&D on course will not have been completed we do not know precise data related to our market strategy.
This said, if the results will be positive I think we will have models of 10 an 20 kW for the domestic versions, while the industrial plants will be initially of at least 1 MW, made by modules of 250 kW. Eventually is possible that the modules of 250 kW will be sold separately and is possible that a module of 100 kW will be made. These are just projections of virtualities. Somebody wrote somewhere that as soon as the tests will have been completed we will start the distribution of the E-Cats, but this is impossible. Provided the results will be positive, it is unthinkable that we put for sale the E-Cats before reaching an economy scale able to make our products impossible to be conveniently reproduced; we have to set up robotized production lines, make big investments…nobody can seriously think that we will be ready to distribute the E-Cats in months! Certainly, we are already working on it: for example right now, tonight, I will spend my time- if She lets me in peace- studying the robotized lines, that are very important.
Warm Regards,
A.R.

As far as the sizes of the E-Cats go, it’s interesting that a wide range of sizes are being considered — even as low as 100 kW, which would be less than industrial strength, but they will start out with sizes at least of the 1 MW size. I suppose any organization needing more power could purchase multiple plants and combine the power.

We also get the picture here that if the current test proves positive, that there is going to be much further work to be none before they are going to put the E-Cats out in the marketplace. It sounds like they will wait for full-scale automated production before they start to distribute the new plants — as opposed to making hand built plants like the current one — in order to reach the desired economy of scale.

How much time would this take? It’s hard to say, but things of this nature generally take longer and cost more than early optimistic projections. When Rossi says that commercialization will begin in March, it seems clear from this response that he meant that the commercial phase will begin. This will involve getting investments, organizing production technology, taking orders, and all the necessary organizational activities that will be required.

Rossi says here it is not serious to think that this can be accomplished in months, so that would suggest we may not see E-Cat plants start being deployed until after 2016.

  • Ivan Idso

    If Andrea leaves they existing 1MW plant in the customers facility and begins selling him steam under a PPA, then commercial sales will have begun in March as indicated and that will be a momentus day.

  • Ivan Idso

    If Andrea leaves they existing 1MW plant in the customers facility and begins selling him steam under a PPA, then commercial sales will have begun in March as indicated and that will be a momentus day.

    • MarcIrvin

      Of the comments Ivan Idso “nails it”. Let me amplify, “If the current 1MW plant works then he can silence critics and claim commercial success.” Failure to launch? New SPIN can’t make us forget the many times Rossi has adjusted his time line. Critics told us to expect nothing else. Rossi has, in my estimation, an easy promise to deliver on. One that endangers nothing IP related. One whose advent proves his veracity. One that critics cannot thumb their noses at. Deliver heat at a commercial rate (COP, who cares) to any client. Just one. Any further script deviation just strengthens his critics claims, and our feeling of dismay.

  • Ged

    Well, Rossi showed me!

    Still, I would expect some low grade production is ongoing for a mass production model, if only to test defect rates. But that’s just my bias from how they do things in the semiconductor industry.

  • Ged

    Well, Rossi showed me!

    Still, I would expect some low grade production is ongoing for a mass production model, if only to test defect rates. But that’s just my bias from how they do things in the semiconductor industry.

  • MasterBlaster7

    If this test is successful. And, they do begin automated production. I wonder what the time line and market penetration data would look like. 10 years to 90% saturation…20 years?

    Anyone in the crowd good at modeling these kinds of things?

    • Gerard McEk

      If you have a perfect picture of your product and a perfect organization and all the contracts in place, you must be lucky if you can deliver the first mass produced product within 1.5 year. More likely it will be two years and even then I would expect a lot of start-up problems.
      And one other thing: you need a genereus budget for building your plant.

    • Omega Z

      It will take until 2100 to transition to wind, solar.
      LENR will take about 40 years.

      The difference in the timeline is lifecycle/longevity.
      With wind & solar, your have to start replacing what you’ve built at about 20/25 years. Add to that you need to build out more capacity to begin with.

      Example:
      Solar produces electricity about 6 hours average in 24.
      Wind turbines average 25% output.
      it takes 4mW solar or 4mW wind turbines to replace 1mW fossil plants. An additional capacity margin may also be in order.

      LENR lifecycle/longevity will likely be comparable to fossil plants. 50 years average. It will be a 1mW for 1mW exchange. It will be cheaper so capitol will go farther.(Your money goes farther). You’re only at the mercy of skilled labor availability.

  • MasterBlaster7

    If this test is successful. And, they do begin automated production. I wonder what the time line and market penetration data would look like. 10 years to 90% saturation…20 years?

    Anyone in the crowd good at modeling these kinds of things?

    • Gerard McEk

      If you have a perfect picture of your product and a perfect organization and all the contracts in place, you must be lucky if you can deliver the first mass produced product within 1.5 year. More likely it will be two years and even then I would expect a lot of start-up problems.
      And one other thing: you need a genereus budget for building your plant.

    • Omega Z

      It will take until 2100 to transition to wind, solar.
      LENR will take about 40 years.

      The difference in the timeline is lifecycle/longevity.
      With wind & solar, your have to start replacing what you’ve built at about 20/25 years. Add to that you need to build out more capacity to begin with.

      Example:
      Solar produces electricity about 6 hours average in 24.
      Wind turbines average 25% output.
      it takes 4mW solar or 4mW wind turbines to replace 1mW fossil plants. An additional capacity margin may also be in order.

      LENR lifecycle/longevity will likely be comparable to fossil plants. 50 years average. It will be a 1mW for 1mW exchange. It will be cheaper so capitol will go farther.(Your money goes farther). You’re only at the mercy of skilled labor availability.

  • tobalt

    if the first test is positive, there will be companies wanting to sell even handbuilt units for 10 million $ and scrutinize them to get hold of the technology.

    problem is he wants to prevent this and sell them cheaper.. but fails to understand that they will be anyway scrutinized. being cheap doesnt stop it.

    • Omega Z

      Yes, but patents stop them from copying them. They can only study them to come up with their own design.

  • I like the idea of a 100kW unit .
    That should power a car very nicely.
    I also think that Mr Rossi is playing games again .
    He says he is studying how to get the robot line up and going.
    But if’n I recall correctly he has already done this 3 years ago.
    This over information is just a rib tickler.

    • Jarea

      Yes. Another not consistent recall. I dont want more delays please

  • I like the idea of a 100kW unit .
    That should power a car very nicely.
    I also think that Mr Rossi is playing games again .
    He says he is studying how to get the robot line up and going.
    But if’n I recall correctly he has already done this 3 years ago.
    This over information is just a rib tickler.

    • Jarea

      Yes. Another not consistent recall. I dont want more delays please

  • Is this Rossis approach to slightly indicate another delaying tactic?
    So he can say “we are not ready for mass delivery, so we will not deliver anything”

    I don’t hope so.
    Does he really plan to manufacture ~7 billion 1 MW plants in advance to be sure it could be delivered to each human entity on this planet immediately after the order???

    • LookMoo

      Meanwhile Mr. Rossi have things very clear as far as the eCat goes he have been absolutely clueless on the complexity of a mass production of this magnitude. The reason he is backing off from his old statements of having 10.000 units made by 2014 is that he know have access to expertise.

      The Japanese Toyota needs 18 month to put a new car in production. That is regarded as fast. Expect at least 3-5 years to reach 10.000 unit/Year..

      • Omega Z

        “Toyota needs 18 month to put a new car in production”
        5 to 10 years for a major platform redesign done by 5ooo design engineers..

        • LookMoo

          You are refereeing to the “design” process for a platform (like Volvo:s SPA-plattform). I’m talking about the production process. Training staff ordering robots, secure subcontractors etc.

    • Albert D. Kallal

      There is nothing I read that hints or suggests that many
      units need be built before sales can occur.

      However, I MOST certainly see that Rossi suggests it
      makes little sense to start selling units before a robust and automated
      production system is in place.

      I mean after Steve Jobs built the Apple computer, I
      suppose he could have run around the country assembling and building single
      units for friends, grandmothers etc. However such an approach would mean Steve
      Jobs would have spent his life running around building such units by piecemeal and
      would have delivered FEW such systems.

      So nothing here suggests that many units have to be built
      BEFORE sales occur. However without scales of economy and production ability,
      then few if anyone will benefit from the e-cat in their lifetime UNLESS one accepts
      that significant production capacity needs to be created to meet demand.

      Rossi is simply suggesting is that a good automated
      production line with capacity is essential before one attempts to deliver and
      sell such units. If a large market did not exist, then starting very small and
      ramping up production over time would make sense.

      However, sales for this product is not an issue – production
      is!

      The simple issue is it makes LITTLE sense to start
      selling e-cats BEFORE the production capacity is significant.

      Rossi’s noted he has about 3 billion worth of orders –
      the issue here is NEVER been getting orders, the issue is simply that is being
      able to supply units.

      I not sure if it makes sense to invest in the capacity
      for say 3000 units per month when the demand is easily TEN TIMES that at say 30,000
      units per month.

      No question they have to start small, but Rossi’s stated
      capacity right now is 4 units per year for the 1Mw plant. (he stated it takes
      about 3 months to build + deliver such a plant). So the existing plant is one of many baby steps required.

      I certainly think that creating 15,000 units per month is
      a reasonable starting production capacity. For example the Apple II computer
      reached that production mark after about 4 years of production.

      I not sure what the production targets are that Rossi wants to start with, but I would think
      MIN of 10,000 units per month would be about the lowest starting point. I would
      not want to invest huge money and wind up with 10,000 unit capacity (that takes
      2-3 years to build) when the demand is 30,000 units per month. (off course the reverse
      is true also!).

      So I don’t think the suggestion exists that millions of
      units are to be created BEFORE sales occur, but certainly some kind of significant
      production does need to be in place before any serious kind of selling and distribution
      of the e-cat can occur.

      We talking about large scale production of something that does not even exist yet! (the larger mass produced devices will certainly have different designs then what Rossi currently has).

      Regards,
      Albert D. Kallal
      Edmonton, Alberta Canada

      • Jarea

        Are you serious? After all the promises, you put as an example Apple with 4 years delay? what do you think is good for production to start?

        • Omega Z

          It took over6 years to bring the 1st I-phone to market. 8 years for the I-pad. Of course, Most people bring nothing to market. They just wait and complain when others take to long do it for them. 50 years & still no hot fusion.

          • Jarea

            We are talking more about a discovery not a complex development regarding LENR. And we can’t compare the collection of complex parts you find a a Iphone with the ECAT. Besides, the discovery was announced in 2008. Why should we wait another 4 years after 2015?

    • Jarea

      Totally agree. I think that this tactic stinks. It is besides incongruous with previous comments. Delay, delay…and LENR is still not accepted by mainstream science.
      I thought he was looking ahead and preparing everything in parallel. It is a pity, after the big good news of Tom Darden in Fortune today.

  • bachcole

    By my math: $.05 per kilowatt hour (earnings from utility for produced electricity) times 100 kilowatts times 24 hours (per day) times 30.4 (days per month) divided by 3 (converting heat to electricity) equals $1216 per month, free money. No, I think that there will be a lot of clever and entrepreneurial types who will be delighted to get their hands on their starter 100 kilowatt E-Cat. And when that seems to be working out, they will buy some 250 kilowatt units. The 250 kilowatt units would generate $3040 per month. With one 100 kilowatt unit and one 250 kilowatt unit, one would be earning $4256 per month, which would pay for most of one’s household expenses.

    Of course this would not last forever, but even 5 years of that would put one on Easy Street. It would also be a revolution in decentralization.

    • Cuthbert Allgood

      You’re confusing heat and electricity. The e-cats produce heat. How well they could work in a turbine is a different question and need a much larger scale to make it useful and practical.

  • Bob

    🙁 So starts the the slide down the rabbit hole.
    .
    Rossi is an inventor, not an industrial expert. Why would he be “studying the robotized lines” from his shipping container? This would best be left to the established industrial engineers. Why reinvent the wheel? Also, the robotized factory is already a “magnificense” as Rossi stated in 2012.
    .
    Thinking that a startup, inexperienced company in manufacturing such as Leonardo Corp. can compete against China, Korea and others in mass production is silly. This idea is fraught with misconceptions from the start. This defense is very short sighted. It cannot last more than a year. Some will say the IH / Leonardo Corp will use China to manufacture and that will somehow prevent China from becoming competitors. This idea flies in the face of history and fact. Companies in China will be making eCat copies before Leonardo can blink an eye.
    .
    I remain with some hope, but it dwindles. I have heard this very story from Rossi before, in 2011, 2012. He is establishing a pattern similar to BLP..
    .
    I for one, really want to hear from IH / Darden. I feel like a Chicago Cubs fan. For 100 years, the fans always say “this is the year” and then as the year ends, the saying changes to “next year!”. Thus goes the eCat story!. While the Cubs actually will make it to the playoffs this year, it is because the actually produced a winning team that won games. That is what Rossi needs to do…. produce something that has substance to it. Even some of the very informed and open minded such as Jed Rothwell are becoming skeptical. Not a good sign.

    • Albert D. Kallal

      And why would one not study such things?

      You mean when you go out to purchase a car, you don’t
      read up on if a CVT transmission is a viable choice these days? You don’t read
      up on if you want a turbocharged car vs a non-one?

      You are purchasing a computer, you don’t read up on the types
      of fans and power supplies? If you are sick and tired of fans breaking on
      computers – you now look for one with higher quality ball bearings as opposed
      to el-cheapo ones without ball bearings that fail all the time.

      And if you looking to purchase some production capacity, you
      want to know what the top production companies around the world use and who
      they purchase their tooling and automated systems from.

      Such information will simply enable one to better pick who
      and what kinds of systems are best for ones needs.

      And you going to purchase a phone, you at least look for
      things like a replaceable battery despite many companies telling you that it is
      not required! (and maybe it is not in the particular case!).

      I can quite assume you if I going to hire some engineers
      to build me some kind of production line, then I going to read up on production
      lines so I know the difference between types of production lines and options available
      (do I want some kind of cell/workstation approach such as Telsa, or do I want the
      Toyota model of continues line?).

      And when purchasing a car I will learn the difference
      between a tire and a transmission.

      I cannot imagine a simpler and logical approach to ANYTHING
      one does in life, from purchasing a coffee maker, to of a car, or that of a production
      line. I guess this much comes down to those that break such things down in a
      process and those who don’t think at all when they attempt to accomplish a task
      in their lives.

      However, for engineers and people who design things, then
      such an intellectual approach occurs NATURAL and without thought. And this
      approach tends to be applied to near EVERYTHING in life.

      I know how long it takes to put a stamp on and stuff a letter
      into an envelope. If you don’t know this, then you cannot decide if it is more
      cost effective to purchase services to stuff those letters and mail them out as
      opposed to doing it yourself! How long
      will it take you or your staff to stuff and send out 100 letters? Or perhaps you
      purchase a desktop envelope folding and stuffing machine?

      I have costed out the price of wearing a clean pressed cotton
      shirt everyday (I wear one every day – even on Saturday and days off). So it is
      better to use the local shirt service as opposed to purchasing a $600 steam
      shirt press? Turns out I purchased the $600 shirt pressed based on TIME saved,
      and that of money too!

      Intellectual people, engineers and those who build things
      are obsessed when purchasing something and they research MANY possible solutions
      in all cases. Such research allows one to make better and informed decisions
      when purchasing something, be it a car, a phone, a computer, a coffee maker, ironing
      your clothing, or that of a production line.

      The idea that I about to build (or purchase) a massive
      automated production line but not read about production lines would not only be
      silly on my part, but beyond stupid to not do such homework and research.

      Regards,
      Albert D. Kallal
      Edmonton, Alberta Canada

    • Warthog

      You forget that his first endeavor was the full scale Petrodragon process. I am sure he learned a wee bit about plant and process design from that operation, so I can well understand why he is interested in the design of the production plant.

    • Omega Z

      “Toyota needs 18 month to put a new car in production”
      5 to 10 years for a major platform redesign done by 5ooo design engineers..

  • Bob

    🙁 So starts the the slide down the rabbit hole.
    .
    Rossi is an inventor, not an industrial expert. Why would he be “studying the robotized lines” from his shipping container? This would best be left to the established industrial engineers. Why reinvent the wheel? Also, the robotized factory is already a “magnificense” as Rossi stated in 2012.
    .
    Thinking that a startup, inexperienced company in manufacturing such as Leonardo Corp. can compete against China, Korea and others in mass production is silly. This idea is fraught with misconceptions from the start. This defense is very short sighted. It cannot last more than a year. Some will say the IH / Leonardo Corp will use China to manufacture and that will somehow prevent China from becoming competitors. This idea flies in the face of history and fact. Companies in China will be making eCat copies before Leonardo can blink an eye.
    .
    I remain with some hope, but it dwindles. I have heard this very story from Rossi before, in 2011, 2012. He is establishing a pattern similar to BLP..
    .
    I for one, really want to hear from IH / Darden. I feel like a Chicago Cubs fan. For 100 years, the fans always say “this is the year” and then as the year ends, the saying changes to “next year!”. Thus goes the eCat story!. While the Cubs actually will make it to the playoffs this year, it is because the actually produced a winning team that won games. That is what Rossi needs to do…. produce something that has substance to it. Even some of the very informed and open minded such as Jed Rothwell are becoming skeptical. Not a good sign.

    • LookMoo

      hear hear.

    • Albert D. Kallal

      And why would one not study such things?

      You mean when you go out to purchase a car, you don’t
      read up on if a CVT transmission is a viable choice these days? You don’t read
      up on if you want a turbocharged car vs a non-one?

      You are purchasing a computer, you don’t read up on the types
      of fans and power supplies? If you are sick and tired of fans breaking on
      computers – you now look for one with higher quality ball bearings as opposed
      to el-cheapo ones without ball bearings that fail all the time.

      And if you looking to purchase some production capacity, you
      want to know what the top production companies around the world use and who
      they purchase their tooling and automated systems from.

      Such information will simply enable one to better pick who
      and what kinds of systems are best for ones needs.

      And you going to purchase a phone, you at least look for
      things like a replaceable battery despite many companies telling you that it is
      not required! (and maybe it is not in the particular case!).

      I can quite assume you if I going to hire some engineers
      to build me some kind of production line, then I going to read up on production
      lines so I know the difference between types of production lines and options available
      (do I want some kind of cell/workstation approach such as Telsa, or do I want the
      Toyota model of continues line?).

      And when purchasing a car I will learn the difference
      between a tire and a transmission.

      I cannot imagine a simpler and logical approach to ANYTHING
      one does in life, from purchasing a coffee maker, to of a car, or that of a production
      line. I guess this much comes down to those that break such things down in a
      process and those who don’t think at all when they attempt to accomplish a task
      in their lives.

      However, for engineers and people who design things, then
      such an intellectual approach occurs NATURAL and without thought. And this
      approach tends to be applied to near EVERYTHING in life.

      I know how long it takes to put a stamp on and stuff a letter
      into an envelope. If you don’t know this, then you cannot decide if it is more
      cost effective to purchase services to stuff those letters and mail them out as
      opposed to doing it yourself! How long
      will it take you or your staff to stuff and send out 100 letters? Or perhaps you
      purchase a desktop envelope folding and stuffing machine?

      I have costed out the price of wearing a clean pressed cotton
      shirt everyday (I wear one every day – even on Saturday and days off). So it is
      better to use the local shirt service as opposed to purchasing a $600 steam
      shirt press? Turns out I purchased the $600 shirt pressed based on TIME saved,
      and that of money too!

      Intellectual people, engineers and those who build things
      are obsessed when purchasing something and they research MANY possible solutions
      in all cases. Such research allows one to make better and informed decisions
      when purchasing something, be it a car, a phone, a computer, a coffee maker, ironing
      your clothing, or that of a production line.

      The idea that I about to build (or purchase) a massive
      automated production line but not read about production lines would not only be
      silly on my part, but beyond stupid to not do such homework and research.

      Regards,
      Albert D. Kallal
      Edmonton, Alberta Canada

    • Warthog

      You forget that his first endeavor was the full scale Petrodragon process. I am sure he learned a wee bit about plant and process design from that operation, so I can well understand why he is interested in the design of the production plant.

  • Jimr

    No one in their right mind would start mass production on a new product that had only been tested for one year. Especially a single product with the problems encountered thus far.

  • Jimr

    No one in their right mind would start mass production on a new product that had only been tested for one year. Especially a single product with the problems encountered thus far.

  • HS61AF91

    Don’t fuss, leave the engineering and production of e-Cats to the professionals. The Cat, Alleluia, is out of the bag.

  • HS61AF91

    Don’t fuss, leave the engineering and production of e-Cats to the professionals. The Cat, Alleluia, is out of the bag.

  • Private Citizen

    Hot fusion is perpetually 20 years away; cold fusion seems to be perpetually 1 year away.

    • in classical innovation the rule is that all actors think it is in production in next 6 month, and that during 5 year, then it goes in production by surprise in less than 6 month despite 6 month prediction.

      Disruptive innovation like plane, transistors, LENR takes decades to emerge from the denial, and from the chicken and egg problem. (why invest if no market, why market if no research)…

      50years moto mean “it is impossible but if a blackswan land, why not”.

  • Private Citizen

    Hot fusion was perpetually 20 years away; cold fusion seems to be perpetually 1 year away.

    There are some interesting advancements in hot fusion, including the recent laser deuterium fusion , so maybe hot will arrive before cold?

    • in classical innovation the rule is that all actors think it is in production in next 6 month, and that during 5 year, then it goes in production by surprise in less than 6 month despite 6 month prediction.

      Disruptive innovation like plane, transistors, LENR takes decades to emerge from the denial, and from the chicken and egg problem. (why invest if no market, why market if no research)…

      50years moto mean “it is impossible but if a blackswan land, why not”.

  • BillH

    This makes no sense unless E cat has become so uneconomic in comparison to oil, gas or nuclear because of the spiralling costs of reactor components. Nickel may be cheap but the other components that have come into the equation may have pushed the overall cost up.While oil prices have greatly declined over the same period. The best plan would be to get a few units into production in order to generate an income stream for further expansion. Also, it’s practically essential to open up the only working plant to inspection in order to attract more customers to sign up. I think it highly likely that people will lose interest if they feel that they will have to wait another 2 years for a product they haven’t seen actually working.

    • rocky172534

      i agree and it’s not like he and his investors aren’t going to profit from early introduction
      is it greed? no matter but to me it’s depressing news.sounds like they are putting money over the greater good,as if that is new in these days.

  • roseland67

    IF true, what an incredibly pompous and arrogant comment.
    IF, the ECAT works as stated, is safe, scaleable, reliable, repairable and
    as inexpensive as suggested,

    Does this inventor really truly believe that he can bring this “black box” to market
    better than the entire global engineering community?
    Does anyone?
    January, 2011, wasn’t it? coming up on 5 years now?

  • oldrolledgold

    I don’t understand this: If he has one patent,64 patents pending and has another similar amount in mind.Which approach was he joking about? The invention is either properly protected or wide open for replication.Which is it?

    • Demokratinifara

      Its obvious that its quite easy to copy the e-cat by reversed ingeneering. The number of patents is to be able to sue anyone who tries to copy by one or many patentviolations.
      Do you see the difference?
      So .. it t easy to copy the e-ceat ? … probably! Does that make it legal… well if you manage to copy it without violating any of the related patents .. congratulation ! The more patents Rossi has the harder it gets for copycats!

  • Demokratinifara

    Its obvious that its quite easy to copy the e-cat by reversed ingeneering. The number of patents is to be able to sue anyone who tries to copy by one or many patentviolations.
    Do you see the difference?
    So .. it t easy to copy the e-ceat ? … probably! Does that make it legal… well if you manage to copy it without violating any of the related patents .. congratulation ! The more patents Rossi has the harder it gets for copycats!

  • Cuthbert Allgood

    You’re confusing heat and electricity. The e-cats produce heat. How well they could work in a turbine is a different question and need a much larger scale to make it useful and practical.