Some recent comments by Andrea Rossi on the Journal of Nuclear Physics reveal that there seems to be some fatigue setting in for the 1MW E-Cat plant. Rossi has reported numerous times over the last few weeks that there has been need for repairs to the plant which has been running for almost 270 days now, and yesterday he characterized the performance of the plant:
November 16th, 2015 at 4:33 PM
Let me say that the frequency of troubles is returning as it was at the beginning: we have an integral of troubles whose function’s curve looks like the profile of a bell, if you put time on the axis of the x and reliability in the axis of the y.
Rossi reported that at the beginning of the test there were numerous problems to solve, which eventually seemed to be ironed out, and there was relatively smooth sailing for some months. Lately Rossi has reported a number of unspecified problems, and he recently reported that his team has had to “fight” to keep the plant up and running.
I asked yesterday if the problems were related to degradation of materials over the course of the test and he replied, “Part of the problems come also from the degradation of the materials, yes. I must say that we are learning.”
Another JONP reader asked if the troubles were related to the control system, and he responded, “No, it is not a problem of control system, now ( it has been, but we resolved the problems connected with this issue). I cannot enter in particulars.”
So it’s possible that the reactors themselves are being troublesome. Since this is the maiden voyage for this plant, and the current reactor design, it would not be too surprising that unexpected things would crop up.
Rossi has reported twice recently that he is “tired” — I would guess if there are problems to deal with that he would want to be on hand as much as possible, and that could mean even less sleep than normal. Yesterday he wrote:
“I must confess you that I have the ribbon covered patent on my desk here in the plant and when I am tired or down ( it happens) I look at it and the view is energetic! The USPTO has trusted my invention, now I must merit this trust.”
UPDATE: Here’s a more recent Q&A on the topic.
Without entering into details, can you say whether you now understand the reasons behind the particular problems you have had to deal with lately, and if you think you can prevent them from reoccurring in the future?
November 17th, 2015 at 8:51 AM
Yes, we have understood the problems and yes, we learnt how to overcome.