One of the things that many people have noted about the recently released report, is that the COP measured was below what many people had expected and hoped for. The team reported that during the 32-day run, the reactor put out 3.2 — 3.6 times as much energy (in the form of heat) as was input (electricity). This is higher than one of the tests in the May 2013 report (COP 2.9) but lower than the other (COP 5.6).
There has been much discussion here about the required COP for the E-Cat to be commercially viable. To make heat, and especially electricity cost-competitively, the E-Cat’s COP probably needs to be quite a bit higher than 3.6, since fossil fuel sources are relatively inexpensive in some parts of the world, and the E-Cat requires electricity (expensive in many places) to operate.
One thing to not about the test is that the testers consciously and deliberately did not put the E-Can self-sustaining mode. In other words, they did not shut off the power input and let the reactor run under its own power (which has been done in previous tests). The professors explained why they made this decision:
We also chose not to induce the ON/OFF power input mode used in the March 2013 test, despite the factthat we had been informed that the reactor was capable of operating under such conditions for as long a timeas necessary. That power input mode, however, would have caused significant temperature increases duringthe brief intervals of time in which power was fed to the reactor. Moreover, the emissivity of alumina istemperature-dependent: this would have made all calculations troublesome and rendered analysis of theacquired data difficult.
Today on the Journal of Nuclear Physics in a response to a question about the decision not to use self-sustain mode, Andrea Rossi made the following statement:
I WAS NOT THERE MOST OF TIME, THE PROFESSORS MADE THE TEST THAT THEY DEEMED OPPORTUNE TO MAKE THEIR MEASUREMENTS, COHERENTLY WITH THE AIM OF THE TEST. IT WAS NOT A COMMERCIAL TEST, WHERE YOU HAVE TO REACH SPECIFIC CONTRACTUAL TARGETS, IT WAS A TEST WHOSE AIM WAS EXQUISITELY SCIENTIFIC: TO CHECK IF THERE WAS OR NOT AN ANOMALOUS PRODUCTION OF ENERGY, BEYOND ANY REASONABLE DOUBT, FOR A LONG PERIOD. TO AVOID A LACK OF RELIABILITY, THE TEST HAS BEEN CONDUCTED VERY CONSERVATIVELY. SO IS WRITTEN. PLEASE READ AGAIN AND CAREFULLY AND BE SURE THAT WHILE YOU READ YOU ARE OPEN TO LEARN, NOT BIASED TO FIND CONFIRMATION OF YOUR PRE-EXISTENT CONVINCTION.
So to my mind, the relatively low COP should not be taken as a negative result from this report. The E-Cat functioned reliably and remarkably throughout the 32-day test, again showing that it is an energy source unlike anything else in the world. When Rossi speaks here about ‘specific contractual targets’ this is probably in reference to an agreed-upon COP that must be met to satisfy customer needs. To meet these targets, I think there would need to be a COP of at least 6 — and to do this I think self-sustain mode would need to be employed.
Rossi has said recently that if they don’t meet the contractual performance level, they will not get paid. And fulfilling the contract with the first customer seems to be his, a IH’s focus at the moment.