As we head into the last third of the 1MW E-Cat plant test, it seems that the plant is still operating well. Andrea Rossi has mentioned lately that it has been ‘purring’ and running in long periods of self-sustain mode. However, Rossi is still not ready to give up on his qualifications that the test results could be positive or negative.
Gerard McEk asked Rossi on the Journal of Nuclear Physics about whether the positive record up until now should count for something:
How can the result ever be negative when you have a whole spare plant available, when things aren’t going as they should? And another thing: Suppose the plant breaks-down the last day of the test, would that also be a total failure? Are you really that harsh?
It depends on the kind of insurgent troubles affecting the reliability. The problem is that if something troublesome happens that affects the reliability after, say, 10 months, maybe a kind of phenomenon that could happen anytime, not necessarily after 10 months: this could put a serious bump in the scheduling. Things are very complex, it is not as easy as to say ” if it worked well 9 months, then it means it can work at all”. I agree with you on the point that what we reached so far fulfills our plans, but still the situation is fluid and the final results coud be either positive or negative.
I suppose something could go wrong on day 349, but also on day 351. I don’t know how you would call the former case a failure, and the latter a success. My point is that 350 days is an arbitrary number; I’m not sure how they came up with it, but when you are drawing up a contract you have to pick some number. In my mind, even a month of successful plant E-Cat plant operation would be a tremendous achievement — something for the history books — but this is industry, and when it comes to operating a business you want consistent, predictable operations.
It sounds to me that when Rossi says “the point that what we reached so far fulfills our plans” means: so far, so good. He’s clearly stating here that the E-Cat works as claimed. But so far there has not been enough good performance to give him comfort. I am not sure what kind of adverse phenomenon he might be concerned about, but it does show there is still a level of uncertainty about the overall plant operation.
We have to remember this is pioneering work Rossi and his team is doing. This plant test is uncharted waters — no one has ever done anything like this before — and so it seems a wise policy not to declare premature victory.
UPDATE: I sent a follow-up question:
“So is it a case of the journey being so far so good, but there’s still a chance of a blizzard, tornado, or earthquake causing your car to crash before you reach your destination?”
November 1st, 2015 at 6:53 AM