The E-Cat: A Potentially Massive Energy Breakthrough

The E-Cat is an invention of Italian engineer and inventor Andrea Rossi, and stands for ‘energy catalyzer’. It is a device in which hydrogen gas, powdered nickel metal, and undisclosed proprietary catalysts are combined to produce a large amount of heat through a little understood low energy nuclear reaction (LENR) process inside a specially designed chamber. The inner workings of the reactor are covered by a trade secret which Andrea Rossi consistently refuses to discuss.

In this process, when an external heat source is applied (Electric or fossil) to the reaction chamber, large amounts of thermal energy (heat) are produced, much more than could be accounted for from chemical reactions. From reports of tests, it appears that the reaction begins when the reactor is heated to around 60 degrees Celsius, and once the reaction is stable, the external heat can be turned off and the reaction can continue for a considerable length of time. In an October 6th, 2011 test in Bologna, Italy, the E-Cat ran without external heat (referred to as ‘self-sustain mode) for almost four hours, maintaining a constant temperature and boiling water continuously.
Initially, Rossi and his colleague in the development of the E-Cat, Sergio Focardi (University of Bologna Physicist), stated that the heat was generated because the nucleus of a hydrogen atom, a proton, penetrated a nickel nucleus and in doing so a nickel atom became a copper atom. Now Rossi states that while transmutation does take place in the E-Cat reaction, it is more of a side effect, and the core effect is caused by some undisclosed mechanism. Rossi says he has a firm understanding of what is taking place, but will not disclose his theory yet.

How long the E-Cat can run in self sustain mode without external heat being applied is unknown, but Andrea Rossi has said that for safe and stable operations it is necessary that the external heat source be cycled on and off.

The energy produced by the nuclear reactions is used to heat water, and the output of the E-Cat is hot water or steam. The significance of the E-Cat as an energy source is that it can produce energy at a much cheaper rate and much more cleanly than other sources on the market. The major ingredients, nickel and hydrogen are common elements and readily available at low cost and in the E-Cat reactor are consumed in very small quantities. Most of the nickel can be recycled for reuse when the charge is spent. There is no release of CO2 or other greenhouse gases from the E-Cat, and unlike traditional nuclear fission power, no radioactive materials are involved, and no radioactive waste is produced.

Rossi has been awarded a patent for the E-Cat by the Italian Patent Office and is seeking further patent protection.

Andrea Rossi launched the first commercial E-Cat plant, a 1 MW thermal power plant in Bologna, Italy on October 28th, 2011 which was tested and certified as being acceptable by an agent for an unknown customer. Rossi has stated that the customer is a military entity that does not want to be identified. A second plant was shipped to the United States to an unidentified location in 2013.

The first generation of E-Cats did not have the capacity to generate electricity — they produced only hot water or low temperature steam. Rossi later developed a high temperature E-Cat known as a ‘hot cat’ which has the capacity to generate electricity at high efficiency

Below is a leaked photograph of one of these hot cats. Andrea Rossi recently provided the dimension of this reactor: “the diameter of the internal cylinder is 30 mm, the diameter of the external cylinder is 90 mm, the length of both is 330 mm.”

In May 2013, Italian blogger Daniele Passerini released a photograph (without Andrea Rossi’s approval) of a hot cat that was being tested to its maximum performance. Andrea Rossi explained in an interview on May 7, 2013 that this picture, although unauthorized, showed a Hot Cat reactor in self-sustain mode being allowed to run away — i.e. the reaction was uncontrolled.

Hot Cat on Fire

On May 16th, 2013 a report was published by a group of European academics who were given access to a hot cat reactor over a period of about five months to test. The conclusion of the group was that the E-Cat provided energy in amounts far greater than would be possible from any chemical reaction. The report can be read here. More tests are scheduled to be done, including a 180 day test which will apparently be started this summer.

So far, Rossi has maintained that the only validation that really matters is from satisfied customers who own working E-Cats. Only when E-Cats are readily available will the forgoing information be able to be fully confirmed.

Involvement of Cherokee Investment Partners

In the last days of 2013 a poster on noticed that Fulvio Fabiani, an engineer for Andrea Rossi’s Leonardo Corporation posted on his LinkedIn account that he was working for a company called Industrial Heat LLC, in Raleigh Durham, North Carolina. More searching uncovered the fact that Industrial Heat LLC was incorporated in 2012 and its chairman was Thomas Darden, CEO of private equity company Cherokee Investment Partners of Raleigh, North Carolina. Industrial Heat LLC and Cherokee share the same mailing address.

Further searching uncovered a report on a Chinese website that Tom Darden had travelled to China in September 2013 and had signed an agreement with Chinese officials to help establish a Sino-US Science and Technology Innovation Park in Baoding, China. One of the proposed industries listed as being installed at this park was listed as ‘nickel reactor new energy projects’ — a clear reference in the context of all this information to the E-Cat.

It appears that the US partner that Andrea Rossi has referred to for so long, but has never named, is Cherokee Industrial Partners. According to Rossi, he sold his intellectual property to the partner — so now it appears that the E-Cat is owned by Cherokee, or maybe a subsidiary such as Industrial Heat LLC.

So far there has been no public acknowledgement of this relationship by either Andrea Rossi or anyone from Cherokee Industrial Partners, so the above conclusions about the relationship should still be considered unconfirmed.

Andrea Rossi has stated that there are currently long-term tests being performed on the hot cat by both internal and independent (‘third-party’) teams, which will conclude in the spring of 2014. After these tests have been concluded, the results will be published,  so it seems that we can expect to learn a lot more about the E-Cat within the next few months.