The E-Cat Story: An Unusual Tale

Reflecting on the story of Andrea Rossi and the E-Cat that has been developing over the course of the year I cannot help but think about how unusual it has been (and continues to be). It really is an affair that seems to be without precedent in the modern technological age; here are some of the unusual aspects of the story that occur to me.

1. The Inventor claims he has found a new and much improved way to create energy, but will not submit his research in any scientific journal, choosing to let the marketplace validate the reality of his invention rather than the scientific community.

2. In January, Andrea Rossi and Sergio Focardi hold a press conference in which the E-Cat is demonstrated. Over time qualified, respected scientists such as Guiseppe Levi, Christos Stremmenos, Hanno Essen and Sven Kullander state that Rossi has discovered a new form of nuclear reaction. The mainstream media and scientific press pay almost no attention at all.

3. The E-Cat inventor, Andrea Rossi, carries out an almost daily dialogue with interested followers on his web site which is entitled The Journal of Nuclear Physics. Rossi answers questions about many things connected with the E-Cat, but will not discuss anything related to the nuclear reaction itself. Rossi solicits advice from his readers on how to improve his technology.

4. Rossi issues a press release in which he announces a severance of ties with Defkalion Green Technologies, who were to be the first customer to demonstrate an E-Cat power plant. Rossi says he will take Defkalion to court. Defkalion issues public statements praising Andrea Rossi.

5. Andrea Rossi states he spends 16 hours per day working on his E-Cats, explaining that he has to do this in person because he is the only person who knows what goes on inside the E-Cat reactor.

6. Rossi announces that he has met with people in the highest echelons within NASA, and that they will be working together in the future. NASA says nothing.

7. Rossi announces that his first E-Cat power plant will be launched at the premises of an unnamed American partner in the last week of October. The venue of the demo will be announced the day before it starts because, according to Rossi, if the location was revealed, everyone would immediately know who the partner was.

This is not your typical product roll-out. Apart from anything else, the claims that Rossi is making about his E-Cat technology are incredibly bold. He says he has discovered a way to make clean energy from a abundant materials (nickel and hydrogen) which, if true, could completely transform the energy industry. The whereabouts of the factory where he has been making his E-Cats is a secret, and it is not clear if he has many, or even any employees helping him in the manufacturing process. Despite his openness about some things, Rossi is very secretive about other things — perhaps for good reason. He has mentioned numerous times that he is concerned about people trying to steal his industrial secrets.

In some ways the whole affair is quite entertaining — there is suspense, mystery and even some amusement to keep people interested in the latest developments. On the other hand, there is something very serious and important going on here. If Rossi has indeed discovered a far better way to produce energy the stakes here are extremely high, because energy issues lie at the heart of many of the economic and social problems we face worldwide.

In some ways it is difficult to understand why there is so little attention being paid to this story from the press, governments and scientific community. It would seem that a claim as extraordinary as Rossi’s which has been backed up by respectable scientists would garner some attention from those who are so concerned about energy issues. On the other hand, it is understandable that people are skeptical. What Rossi claims is happening is considered impossible by all currently accepted science. Perhaps people think Rossi is either mad, fraudulent or simply mistaken, and not worth taking seriously.

Whatever the reasons, it does not sound like Rossi is going to change course. From everything he has said, the late October launch is on the calendar, and once that is complete, the commercialization processes will begin — and it is in the commercial realm that Rossi plans to confirm to the world the usefulness of his discovery.