Interview With Hank Mills on the E-Cat and Replication

The following interview was conducted with Hank Mills. Another article by Hank on the topic of E-Cat replication has recently been published at Looking for Heat here:

You’ve mentioned many times how you think replication is the key to getting the wider world to accept the reality of E-Cat technology — can you explain why you feel so strongly about this?

Privately performed tests conducted under NDAs are not the best method of convincing the world that the Rossi Effect is an indisputable reality. If such tests are scientifically rigorous and the results are later shared openly, they can have a very significant impact. But the inherent need to protect intellectual property, enforce patents, and abide by licensing agreements can result in less than full disclosure of every aspect of the experiment.

This cannot be completely avoided and inventors such as Andrea Rossi should not be criticized for protecting their investment. But the consequence of such secrecy can be less acceptance by the mainstream. I am convinced that once a virtually “guaranteed to work” recipe or set of guidelines are established to show high levels of excess heat that the resulting tsunami of replications will push this technology into public acceptance.
What is your view on the current state of affairs in the world of E-Cat replication?

There have already been a growing handful of individuals and teams who have openly reported successful replications. They have published documents and reports showing kilowatt levels of excess heat, periods of self sustained operation, and massive bursts of excess heat resulting in the melting of critical components. These tests confirm beyond any doubt that the Rossi Effect is real and can be replicated; moreover, these tests were often performed on meager budgets and by individuals or teams working part-time. Their success prove that naysayers who may claim replication is out of reach are mistaken at best or dishonest at worst. Many other replicators, however, have produced little or no excess heat — even after multiple attempts in which the parameters of their system have been changed. Finally, however, I think we’re getting closer to nailing down the specifics of what is required to replicate the E-Cat. Once these replicators who have yet to see results incorporate the pieces of the puzzle that are coming together in their testing, they should soon see positive results as well.

In a nutshell, can you explain what you think the Rossi Effect is?

In my best estimation, the Rossi Effect is the stimulation of highly hydrogenated micro-cavities on high surface area nickel particles to induce nuclear reactions between hydrogen and nickel atoms the result of which induce fusion between protons and lithium atoms. The micro-cavities — resulting from the baking/deoxidation/pre-loading process — experience the highest hydrogen pressure of any other area of the nickel surface. My understanding is that in these zones the pressure can be multiplied by hundreds or thousands of times. This pounds additional hydrogen into the lattice until perhaps the “beta” phase of nickel hydride is formed. Hence, how Rossi has described slamming the hydrogen atom with a hammer. The hydrogen inside of the lattice can experience even higher pressures and the orbits of their electrons may flatten — turning them into two dimensional disks. They may then transform into Rydberg matter and some percentage of them may form into a metallic ultra dense form of hydrogen. This may result in the hydrogen atoms gaining new properties — including superconductivity. When stimulated by changes in temperature, EM radiation, pressure changes, or acoustical waves, they undergo nuclear reactions with nickel atoms. The result may be bursts of heat, low level gamma rays, the emission of protons, and emissions that are thermalized inside of the micro-cavity. However, since lithium is present inside the micro-cavities as well, proton and lithium fusion reactions take place that produce even more energy. These proton-lithium reactions may then further stimulate nickel-hydrogen reactions and the cycle continues into self-sustain or runaway mode.

Which key replication experiments and researchers stand out to you, and why?

The replication of the Rossi Effect by Songsheng Jiang stands out the most to me for a number of different reasons.

– He utilized non-carbonyl nickel which confirms that even less than optimal nickel may be used to produce excess heat.

– In one experiment he loaded his nickel with hydrogen (1 bar) for ten hours at 100C before starting a test that demonstrated high excess heat and self sustain mode. The highest level of hydrogen pressure experienced during the test was 4 bar, but only temporarily at the beginning. This tells us that extremely high pressure is NOT always required and pre-loading the nickel with hydrogen is potentially very important (although it may also be done during a live reactor run).

– He utilized a number of thermocouples that provided the temperature of multiple locations at various positions. The innermost fuel chamber was separated by the resistive heating elements by a number of layers; however, in some circumstances when the resistors were activated exothermic reactions started taking place BEFORE the heat had time to migrate to the reactor core. This proves that the fuel in the Rossi Effect can be stimulated by electromagnetic fields in addition to heat.

– In one test, he achieved three hours of self sustained operation at temperatures around 1300C or above (sometimes exceeding the limit of his thermocouple at 1370C). This shows that even in an experimental test rig exceedingly successful results can be achieved. I would like to specify this means that for three hours he was producing a very high output at infinite COP. If he can produce such amazing results (from my understanding even his very first test was successful) then well funded outfits with additional resources and manpower should have no problem doing the same if they are willing to commit to a series of tests.

In Rossi’s ‘Fluid Heater’ patent he states that the key fuel ingredients are Nickel (Ni), Lithium (Li), and Lithium Aluminum Hydride (LiAlH4) Can we talk about your thoughts on each element in turn?

a. Ni

The Ni is the structural component that provides the home (the metallic crystal lattice) that can contain and take part in the nuclear reactions. Atlhough nickel in many forms can be used in LENR experiments (rod, bar, wire, plate, etc) powder seems to be optimal due to the increased surface area that allows for better hydrogen absorption and a greater number of micro-cavities that can be formed that are home to the reaction sites or what some call, “The NAE or Nuclear Active Environment.” Although nuclear reactions between nickel and hydrogen take place in the E-Cat, they do not seem to be the primary source of heat.

b. Li

The lithium in an E-Cat may very well be the primary source of fuel. Outside of E-Cat research, there are many well known enhancement factors that allow for rates of nuclear reactions between lithium and protons far beyond what is allowed by “mainstream” physics. Typically, protons must impact lithium with a minimum of 300,000eV of energy to induce fusion. However, Unified Gravity Corporation has determined a sweet spot of proton energy at 200eV that allows for fusion reactions to take place — above or below the rate decreases. Ikegami has discovered that protons with as little as a few thousand eV can undergo nuclear reactions when impacting lithium in the liquid form. Basically, lithium seems to be particular susceptible to undergoing nuclear reactions with protons at energies thousands of times below what is thought possible. In the E-Cat, the liquid or vaporous lithium eventually covers the entire surface area of the nickel; most probably, it travels inside of the micro-cavities as well. The result of fusion between protons and lithium are two alpha particles (positively charged helium atoms with very high kinetic energies). Rossi has claimed to have detected helium in his reactors providing possible confirmation of this reaction.

c. LiAlH4

LiAlH4 is used in the E-Cat for two main purposes: to provide hydrogen without the use of an external hydrogen tank and to throttleback and/or stabilize the reactions. Without some amount of LiAlH4, using only pure elemental lithium, I think the reactors are much more prone to runaways. With some amount of lithium aluminum hydride, they are more easily controlled. Also, using LiAlH4 instead of only “pure” Li may extend the lifespan of the reactor body due to the corrosive nature of liquid and vaporous lithium.

Aluminum (Al) is thought to perform a couple different non-essential functions in the E-Cat. At higher temperatures the aluminum is thought to be capable of “cleaning” the nickel of oxides or other surface impurities. If pre-cleaning of the nickel has taken place, this is probably not necessary. Secondly, a certain replicator (going by the internet handle of Me356) has recently claimed to discover by experimentation that aluminum throttles back the reaction rate in the E-Cat. Other replicators and researchers have conjectured about the same function for many months: that aluminum actually reduces the energetic nature of the reaction by blocking proton-lithium reactions. Basically, if we want protons to impact lithium atoms, having a whole bunch of aluminum atoms in the way is not a good thing. After proper hydrogenation of nickel has taken place, we want pure lithium coating (if in the liquid form) or filling (if in the vaporous form) the micro-cavities where protons may be impacting — not aluminum by itself or a lithium aluminum alloy.

Hydrogen (H) is especially critical to the production of excess heat in an E-Cat. Once penetrating the surface of the nickel and disassociating from molecular hydrogen (two bonded hydrogen atoms) to atomic hydrogen (individual hydrogen atoms) it becomes the primary fuel. Once positioned inside of the nickel lattice, it becomes part of a substance called nickel hydride. This substance exists in two phases, alpha and beta. In alpha phase the hydrogen molecules squeeze into gaps or tiny empty spaces between the nickel atoms called, interstitial sites. The hydrogen takes positions in a regular pattern. However, when loading is increased even more and the interstitial sites are taken up, hydrogen may take positions at other even less optimal free spots in the lattice. This creates physical forces on the crystal lattice that can lead to the formation of voids, cracks on the surface, and particle growth. My hypothesis is that the micro-cavities, that may be created during the cleaning and de-oxidation process, experience the highest hydrogen pressure and therefore have the highest levels of beta-hydride.

Can you talk a bit more about what part you think the geometry of nickel plays in Ni-H LENR systems?

The geometry and especially the topology of nickel plays a crucial role in the production of excess heat. To begin with, having an increased surface area (using powder instead of bar, rod, or wire) allows for faster hydrogenation. The rugged surface of carbonyl nickel powder also helps. Furthermore, the baking, cleaning, and hydrogenation process itself alters the surface features of nickel — creating cracks, crevices, and micro-cavities. The terms Rossi has used for the sites where nuclear reactions take place in the E-Cat (in addition to where the soft gamma and alpha particles are claimed to be thermalized) are tubercles (some of his early statements), micro-cavities (his patents), and pores (recent statement to Peter Gluck).

These types of surface features have proven in previous LENR systems to be the NAE or Nuclear Active Environments where reactions can take place. In these zones Rossi has stated — confirmed by other literature I have read — that tremendous pressures can be produced. These pressures may allow for higher levels of hydrogen loading, the transformation of hydrogen into a Rydberg state, and even densification into a super conducting form of metallic hydrogen. Some how, in these cavities the stimulation provided to the hydrogen positioned in the nickel lattice (the nickel hydride) induces nuclear reactions between the hydrogen and nickel atoms. When the combination of heat, pressure, electromagnetic fields, acoustics, or other forms of stimulation produce nuclear reactions, the reaction products such as protons or alpha particles may remain in the reaction site — bouncing around and losing KE. If lithium is present in the micro-cavity and is impacted by a proton, additional nuclear reactions may take place. A cycle may be started that creates a series of nuclear reactions that further stimulate each other.

To successfully replicate the E-Cat, I think that repeated testing must be undertaken with nickel that has undergone various methods and degrees of processing. Eventually, we will pin down a specific set of procedures (number of cycles, temperatures, pressures) to create an abundance of reaction sites on a certain brand of commonly available nickel powder. When this happens, the — guaranteed to work — formula we’ve been seeking will be in our grasp.

In addition to the fuel used in the E-Cat how important is the preparation of the fuel in your mind? What kind of fuel preparation do you think is needed and why?

Fuel preparation is critically important to achieving success. I think inadequate fuel preparation may be an important reason why some E-Cat replication attempts have failed to product significant, if any, excess heat. One important issue to note is that fuel processing can take place before or during a “live” run begins, but much more control of the fuel preparation processes can be had if they are performed before and separately.

The first aspect of fuel preparation must be cleaning the nickel surface of impurities — especially oxides. To do this, repeated cycling in vacuum at high temperatures (up to 625C) can be performed by even more cycles at slightly lower temperature (300-450C) in a hydrogen environment of one bar. After each cycle, the hydrogen should be flushed and more added. This will not only clean the surface but also modify the surface — creating cracks, fractures, and micro-cavities. These will be the places that experience the most hydrogen pressure, uptake the most hydrogen, and produce excess heat.

The second aspect of fuel preparation is perhaps even more critical: hydrogen loading. This is a very complicated topic. In short, the greater degree of hydrogen loading the more likely you are to produce excess heat. A wide variety of pressures and temperatures can be utilized, but a temperature of above 100C and below 200C for period of a few hours at 1 to a 4 bar and multiple cycles may be optimal. After a proper calibration is performed in a “dummy” run without nickel powder to determine leakage rates, the hydrogen absorption into the nickel can be monitored by watching the pressure drop. After the pressure drop rate starts to flatten, additional hydrogen can be added. This nickel powder should then be ready to be placed in the reactor for the active run.

If externally hydrogenating nickel is not an option — for example due to the lack of a hydrogen tank — the nickel in the reactor should be kept at a low temperature below the melting point of LiAlH4 (around 150C) for an extended period of time to allow it to absorb the maximal amount of hydrogen before being coated by molten lithium. Once smothered, the nickel may be blocked from absorbing further quantities of hydrogen. Another option would be placing a physical barrier between the LiAlH4 and Ni/elemental Li powder that would allow the hydrogen gas to penetrate but not the liquid metal. If kept under the melting temperature of elemental lithium (180C), the LiAlH4 be contained (not smothering the nickel and preventing it from hydrogenating or surrounding it with aluminum that would block nuclear reactions) but the required pressure for hydrogenation would be obtained.

Finally, in regards to fuel preperation, proper and thorough mixing of the fuel powder mix may help allow for a more even distribution of heat along the body of the reactor — reducing the likelihood of singular hot spots that could lead to failures.

What is the role of pressure and temperature in the Rossi Effect, do you think?

Both pressure and temperature are critical aspects to the control of an E-Cat. For example, they contribute to fuel hydrogenation rates, can trigger exothermic releases of heat, control the reversible reactions of LiAlH4 and LiH (lithium hydride) and can dictate whether or not a run may produce excess heat at all. Some researchers speculate that the boiling of lithium (releasing vaporous lithium) must be accomplished before excess heat onset will take place. If this is the case, as Me356 claims to have discovered from his multiple experiments, then having a low hydrogen pressure once the temperature reaches a higher range (let’s say 700C and upwards) is very important. This is because the boiling point of lithium is continually reduced as pressure drops inside the reactor. If too great a quantity of LiAlH4 is used in the fuel mix, the pressure may not drop enough for lithium to boil at a reasonable temperature (at atmospheric pressure it boils at 1347C). At lower pressures, however, the boiling point may drop significantly — vapor pressure diagrams are available on the internet. Having a lower operating temperature would allow for reactor components to have much longer lifetimes before failure.

Why do you think that Andrea Rossi is seemingly able to get long self-sustain periods and such high COPs, when many replicators struggle to see any excess heat at all?

I think Songsheng Jiang’s test results show that even after only a very limited number of experiments high levels of excess heat and long periods of self sustained operation can be achieved. Andrea Rossi has been able to produce even better results due to the fact he has conducted literally thousands of tests. The knowledge and experience gathered over the past decade of work has allowed him to have an intimate understanding of what’s required to optimize the effect. I believe we now know some of these, but there is a great deal we do not yet understand: how high frequency harmonics and square waves optimize and stimulate nuclear reactions, the absolute best type of nickel to purchase before we start fuel preperation, what levels of hydrogenation are best, the effect of adding enriched isotopes of nickel to the fuel mixture, etc. I think only Andrea Rossi and Industrial Heat (whom were provided with the intellectual property and know how) have a full understanding on how to maximize the potential of this technology: we are only at the beginning. However, with thousands of potential replicators scattered across the planet (once a guaranteed to work recipe or formula entices them to conduct experiments) we will gain the understanding at a pace beyond what anyone expects, in my opinion.

How much would replicators be able to learn from the publication of the full ERV report.

I don’t expect the full ERV report would provide a huge wealth of information to replicates, but I could be wrong. I doubt that fundamental physics of the nuclear reactions would be discussed. However, the quantities of different elements in the fuel may used in a calculation of the absolute maximum potential chemical energy that could be produced. From there, the ERV could calculate a ratio that shows how many times more nuclear energy was produced over the 350 days than could have been by chemical potential energy contained in the fuel. The real importance of the full disclosure of the ERV report is the fact it proves, conclusively and irrefutably, that the Rossi Effect can be used to build industrial energy producing plants that produce extremely high COP (50 in this case) and are stable — over the LONG term. Andea Rossi has already proven in a long series of tests and demonstrations that his effect is truly nuclear and produces a vast amount of energy. The ERV report will show that the E-Cat has now matured into a market ready, commercializable technology, ready to change the world forever.

The E-Cat holds the potential, if used appropriately by mankind, to help bring prosperity and well-being to our civilization. Currently, our species is destroying our environment and spending an extraordinary amount of resources developing weapons of war: resulting in more human suffering. I see the publication of the ERV report as being a loud shout out to the world, “there’s a better way and here’s the tool to make it happen!

What do you think can be done to improve replication work, and get us closer to a LENR system that works every time clearly demonstrating excess energy production?

To achieve what you suggest, we need teams of replicators who are willing to perform series of tests that change one parameter at a time — not just one off testers. One problem we have are replicators whom only perform occasional tests or, after a failed attempt at excess heat, try out a wildly different setup. If we are to nail and pin down an exact “recipe” that will allow for guaranteed results, we need teams that will consistently and regularly perform tests. All replication efforts (which are conducted with safely) should be appreciated, but I think experimenters can achieve more pooling together their time, resources, and efforts than being lone wolfs. Once such a recipe is achieved, I think that affordable access to parts, chemicals, and supplies becomes an issue for smaller teams and individuals. Thankfully, it seems websites such as “Looking for Heat” have opened that may provide such resources.