Forbes' Tim Worstall on why he Believes the E-Cat Can't Work

The latest spate of articles that have appeared on all kinds of web sites about the 1 MW low temperature E-Cat plant has prompted a new editorial in Forbes Online. Tim Worstall argues in an article titles “Why I’m Certain that the E-Cat Doesn’t Work as Advertised” that the simple fact that Rossi is trying to sell these units shows that the E-Cat can’t work as claimed.

His argument is summed up in the conclusion of the article:

So, Rossi could be, if he has machines that do what he claims they can do, making money, being cash flow positive, simply by hooking up the machines he’s got to the grid. And given the claims he’s making it would be markedly profitable too. Back of the envelope stuff says that even this new system that he’s hawking for $1.5 million a pop would have a payback period of only a year. So in year two he would have two such machines, your three four and so on.

And that’s the reason I am convinced that the E-cat simply doesn’t do what we’re told it does. Because if it did then Rossi would need no outside money as he’d already be making good money, and expanding fast, simply by selling this cheap power to people through the grid. But he’s not doing that therefore the product doesn’t work as advertised.

There are few things that Mr. Worstall is not fully aware of (somewhat understandable under the circumstances)

1. Although states that it is the official site for Andrea Rossi’s E-Cat, the site is owned and operated by Hydro Fusion, the northern Europe distributors of E-Cat technology.

2. The web page that people are paying attention to has been on the site since early 2012. That was a time when Andrea Rossi was operating independently, and needing to raise money just to stay afloat. The situation has now apparently changed significantly with his new partnership in place.

3. The plant advertised is a low temperature E-Cat unit which produces hot water and steam at low temperatures — not suitable for production of electricity, and therefore unable to plug into the grid.

4. We really have very little idea of what the current business plan for the E-Cat is. It may well be to produce electricity for the grid now that high temperature ‘Hot Cats’ have been developed. Rossi has indicated recently that retrofitting power plants with hot cats is an attractive idea.

As I mentioned in a post yesterday, the information vacuum surrounding Rossi’s partnership is a good breeding ground for speculative articles like this. Absent any clarification or up-to-date announcements from Rossi and his partners rumors will run wild, and unless people take the time to carefully look at the facts, articles like this one in Forbes will likely get a lot of traction in peoples’ minds.

It’s possible that Rossi and Co. don’t care at this point to disabuse the rumors and speculations. They may even see it to be in their interest to have people dismiss them as misguided, or worse — it may throw people of the scent and allow them to continue work unhindered. Personally, however, I’m interested in the truth of the matter, and articles like this tend to allow misinformation to proliferate.