Rossi on Heat, COP and Natural Gas

Today on the Journal of Nuclear Physics, Peter Fosberg made a comment regarding the COP measurements mentioned in terms of the E-Cat. He considers COP a misnomer since the E-Cat consumes electricity and produces heat — and if there is to be efficient electricity generation with an E-Cat, you will need 3 times the amount of heat produced to break even. Fosberg said, “Heat energy is the most useless type of energy that you can have, whereas electrical energi is a very versitile type of energy. It is easy to go from electrical energy to heat, but not vice versa.”

Andrea Rossi responded with an uncharacteristically long post:

Peter Forsberg:
Thank you for your comment.
I think we must make a distinction between the COP under a scientific point of view, related to the Thermodynamic first and second principles, and the commercial point of view; besides, we also have to make a distinction between thermal energy market and electric power market.
The COP ( Coefficient Of Performance) under a scientific point of view is correct as it is calculated in all the existing literature on the matter, because of the equivalence, under the energetic point of view, of a thermal kWh and an electric kWh.
Thermal energy is a necessary commodity, without thermal energy most of the industrial activities could not be performed and 3/4 of mankind could not work ( or survive) during the cold months. To say that thermal energy is a useless type of energy is groundless.
The fact that nuclear plants and also most of the existing electric power generators working with the Carnot cycle waste about 2/3 of the energy does not mean that thermal energy is a waste, means that we waste 2/3 of the energy, which is a completely different thing. In the smartest plants heat is recovered, as you surely know, by co-generation and by the most recent tri-generation, and the heat is sold, not wasted. Your Country ( Sweden) is very advanced in centralized heat distribution, as you obviously know.
Still remains a part of heat ( about 20%, if I am not wrong) that necessarily gets lost , not because heat is a waste, but because exhaust gases must be expelled above a certain temperature ( if I am not wrong about 150°C) to avoid looping and fogs, and this is an unavoidable cost in terms of heat for power generators that use the Carnot cycle.
On the contrary, you are right about the fact that the commercial ( not physical) COP of the E-Cat must be divided by a factor 3 in case of electric power production, because if we use electricity to drive the E-Cat, to make 1 kWh of electricity is necessary to burn 3 kWh from a thermal fuel. As you correctly say, to make the E-Cat convenient to produce electric power we need one of the following at least:
1- get a COP > 3
2- make the E-Cat work with gas instead of electricity, issue upon which we are making strong R&D with problems to resolve ( casually, your comment arrives after the day during which- while riding my bike- I got a very good idea that could resolve the problems: if this new invention works, soon we will have the gas driven E-Cats, but there is work to do).
Thank you for your intelligent comment,
Warm Regards,

It seems that so far, even though Rossi and Industrial Heat have been working on natural-gas powered E-Cats for some time, that there have been significant problems involved — but it appears that natural gas solution would help with the economics of the E-Cat significantly, and thus would be an important achievement. Natural gas has become much cheaper in North America since the fracking revolution has allowed for major production increases.

However, I don’t think it is wise to count on the long-term availability of cheap natural gas. Commodity prices rise and fall based on various factors, and as we have seen with the recent IPCC report there are political forces that could apply restrictions on any kind of fossil fuels in the coming years and decades.

Still, a natural gas cat could make a lot of sense in the short term, and it looks like IH is going to continue to persue R&D in this area — especially now Rossi has a had new brainwave to work on!