Authorizing the E-Cat

One of Andrea Rossi’s more frequent refrains is that household E-Cats will be available in about two years. From every indication he has given, the technological problems on how to build small unit have been solved, even to the point of being able to make electricity as well as heat.

The main reason Rossi gives for this two-year timeframe is that he estimates it will take about this long to get the patents and safety authorizations from governmental bodies. What this really means is that in the final analysis it will be governments who will have control over the proliferation of the E-Cat. Rossi could have all the financing he needs in place, and production facilities and distribution networks at his disposal, but unless regulatory agencies and patent officials sign off on the E-Cat, nothing will happen.

It’s feasible that two years might be an optimistic projection. There are all kinds of realistic reasons why things might take  longer. With regards to the patent, Rossi himself could be a reason for delay if he his reluctant to disclose all the details about his industrial secret in the application. His efforts for absolute secrecy about the internal workings of the reactor are well known, and the Italian patent (which was granted) was far from a full disclosure of his technology.

When it comes to safety testing, regulatory bodies will most likely want to test E-Cat units thoroughly in order to determine their safety, and this too will require cooperation from Rossi. Would he be willing to allow the level of scrutiny that inspectors might demand?

Even supposing Rossi does allow thorough testing, and provides full disclosure in the patent applications, there are political implications to consider. Governmental bodies do not operate in a vacuum — there are all kinds of pressures that come to bear on regulatory agencies. Powerful interests who do not want the E-Cats to be available on the open market could well try to influence governmental decision makers to find reasons to deny approvals.

So I don’t think we can assume that it will be smooth sailing for the E-Cat.  The approval situation will probably vary from country to country. Some governments could see it to be in their best interests to fast-track E-Cat approval, while others might have strong reasons to slow things down or halt them altogether.

Pressure from the general public could well be a deciding factor in all of this. We have seen in many instances that if public will is strong enough, even the most intransigent authorities can give way. (Even North Korea has capitulated to popular demand in allowing cell phone use). If a population is convinced that E-Cat technology could provide meaningful economic relief and greatly enhance quality of life, governments may not want to try and put up unnecessary barriers. But to get to that point, there needs to be widespread knowledge and support for E-Cats, and the validity of the technology would have to be obvious (we are not there yet!)

So it is not surprising that Rossi is visiting politicians. If he can get a favorable response from governmental decision makers, he can make his job easier, and it may just be that the economic self interest of states and governments desperate to see new economic activity in their jurisdictions will be a deciding factor in whether E-Cat technology will soon be available in our homes.