Engineering and Marketing Issues for Commercializing the E-Cat QX (Michael Lammert)

The following post has been submitted by Michael Lammert, who posts here under the name Dr Mike.

Engineering and Marketing Issues for Commercializing the E-Cat QX 

Michael Lammert (aka Dr. Mike)

October 29, 2017

       For the many followers of Rossi’s development of the E-Cat technology, a key question often asked is when will Rossi have a marketable commercial product that uses his technology?  One way to attempt to estimate the time it will take for Rossi to develop a marketable product is to look at the engineering and marketing issues that need to be resolved before the E-Cat technology can be commercialized.  One assumption that must be made is that the E-Cat QX technology (the third generation E-cat technology) is the one that will be commercialized.  However, with no accepted theory for LENR (Low Energy Nuclear Reactions) it certainly seems possible that a better understanding of LENR theory can lead to a LENR device that will make the E-Cat QX device obsolete.  Perhaps the November demonstration of the E-Cat QX will show that the QX technology is ready for commercialization even if future advances in LENR technology might make this device obsolete in a few years.  Successful commercialization of the E-Cat technology may very well depend on how fast the technology can be brought to the market, which in turn depends on how well and how quickly engineering issues are resolved.

Engineering Issues

 The November Demonstration

Engineering concern #1 for Rossi should be running the November demonstration of the E-Cat QX technology in a manner that is acceptable to the scientists and engineers that have been following the technology.  Good results from a demonstration based on sound scientific experimental procedures will go a long way toward showing the potential and credibility of the technology.   What I would like to see in the demonstration as a minimum are 1) the on-off capability of the device, 2) an accurate measurement of device output power, and 3) an accurate measurement of the device input power OR an accurate measurement of input power to the controller.  Although I think it would be better if a module of about 10 devices were used in the demonstration, a test of a single device would be adequate if accurate measurements can be made on a single device.  Although potential users of QX devices will eventually want to see a demonstration of a long duration test run, a test of a couple of hours is all that can be expected for the November test.  Also, if the output of QX device is adjustable by the controller, then it would be good to see this feature demonstrated in the November test.  (For example if the nominal output of the QX device is 20W, after a demonstration of a 20W steady state output, adjust the controller for an output of ~15W, then for an output of ~25W.)

Based on the limited information that Rossi has released regarding the November test, the output power from the device or module will be measured by the heating of water with no phase change of the water.  The simple measurements of water flow and temperature rise should make for an accurate measurement of QX output power assuming that all measuring equipment are properly calibrated.  The most scientific calibration procedure for output power measurement would to be to replace the QX device or module with a heat source (resistance heater) operating at about the same output power and then verify the measured output power using water flow and temperature rise is equal to the input power of the heat source.  If a control heat source is not used to calibrate the measured output power, then water flow meter should be independently calibrated and the water temperature rise should be measured using two independent instruments.

The big question for the November demonstration is will Rossi make a measurement of the device input power in a manner that is deemed accurate by the audience observing the test?   If the controller is only delivering a dc or low frequency current to the device then the device’s input power can easily be measured with a conventional power meter.  However, if a conventional power meter is used, the output of the controller must be checked with an oscilloscope to verify that no high frequency power is being delivered to the device.  If the controller is delivering a high frequency input to the device (or module) and Rossi does not want to reveal the nature of this input, then there is no way to determine the input power going to the device.  The device COP can not be determined if the controller supplies high frequency input power to the QX device, but this power is not included in the measured input power.  However, the device COP is really of no importance.  Every use of the QX devices will require a controller.  The users of heat from an array of QX devices will only be concerned with the system COP.  Therefore, assuming Rossi does not want to reveal the output of the controller, the system COP needs to be demonstrated in the November test by measuring the input power to the system (the controller).  If the controller has not yet been optimized, this system COP may not be that great, but at least it will tell the world what the current state of the technology is.  It might be expected that the power consumed by the controller is some constant value plus a delta power for each device connected to the controller.  It would be good to know the current values for the constant power and the delta power, and what is projected for these values in the future with an optimized controller design.

  1. Device Power Output and Life

Rossi has established the output power of the baseline E-Cat QX device at about 20W with a nominal fuel load for the device to operate for one year.  Obvious questions that my be asked by the curious engineer include 1) why not increase the device size (surface area) by a factor of 5 so that the device can output 100W thereby reducing the components needed for any system by a factor of 5, and 2) why not increase the device size (internal volume) by a factor of 2 or 3 so that the QX device can operate for 2-3 years, instead of 1 year, on a single load of fuel?  My guess is that Rossi will not answer these questions, although some of the answers might become evident when the patent for the QX device is released.  My guess is that the device size, output power, and fuel load were optimized relative to issues such as, ability to achieve a rapid on-off function for the QX device, keeping electrical connections and electrodes from melting, and perhaps minimizing hot spot formation.  As the E-Cat QX device technology matures, it might be desirable to determine if technology improvements might permit a higher powered and/or longer life device to be fabricated.

The key ramification of the QX device having only a 20W output is that both the manufacturing of the QX device and its assembly into modules must be fully automated before the start of commercial production of any products requiring a moderate to large heat supply.  Also, if an attempt is made to refuel QX devices, the module disassembly process and the entire re-fueling process will have to be fully automated.  It should also be noted that automated testing of the individual QX devices will need to be incorporated into the robotic manufacturing process flow.

  1. Determine the Maximum Device Density

One engineering issue that probably has not yet been addressed by Rossi’s team is a determination of the maximum device density that can be used in modules in which the design permits a QX device to be heated by its neighboring devices.  Minimum device spacing can determined by modeling if Rossi has someone on his team that has expertise in heat flow modeling.  This assumes knowledge already exists for how reliability is affected by the device temperature.

  1. Controller Design

Rossi has stated that a single controller should be able to control 200 of the QX devices, although it is doubtful that such a controller has yet been built.  How would the controller be configured to control 200 devices?  Although it is possible that the controller could have one output for each device, it seems that this would make the module wiring quite cumbersome.  It is hard to imagine how a controller could turn on a group of series connected QX devices, but this option should be considered until more information about how the devices are turned on becomes available.  The fact that each QX device has an internal 1 ohm series resistor tends to support the idea that groups of QX devices will be connected in parallel to controller.  The 1 ohm resistor would help balance the current flow to each parallel connected QX device since any increase in current drawn by the device would result in a larger voltage drop across the resistor, which in turn would reduce the voltage across the QX device.  It might be possible for a single controller to have one output with 200 parallel connected QX devices, or the controller might have 10-20 outputs, with each output parallel connected to 1/10 or 1/20 of the 200 devices.

It is not clear what feedback is supplied to the controller to determine how to adjust the output signal going to the QX devices.  It seems likely that there will be one source of feedback (probably a thermocouple) for each output of the controller.  It is also not known what signal the controller supplies to adjust the output power of the QX devices.  Previous information indicates the controller is supplying a low voltage, low current dc signal to the QX device.  Rossi’s reluctance to put an oscilloscope across the output of the controller may indicate that the controller is also supplying the QX device with some high frequency signal.  The controller will also have to supply some type of high voltage pulse to turn on the QX devices.  Some of the issues of the controller design include:

  • Can one controller really operate 200 QX devices?
  • The wiring going from the controller to the devices will have to be able to handle any high voltage pulse used to turn on the devices and possibly high frequency signals if such signals are used for device control.
  • Can the controller determine if some of the parallel connected devices do not turn on?
  • If a controller output is connected to a number of devices, what will happen if the device closest to the feedback sensor dies?
  • Over what range of output power can the controller adjust for variable load conditions?

Before a commercial product can be developed it will be necessary to develop a master controller to operate all of the individual module controllers.  The master controller would have to be able to determine what devices should be turned on for partial load conditions and track the total operation time of each group of devices to extent the life of products with intermittent use and/or variable loads.

  1. Failure Modes, Failure Mechanisms and Reliability

One very important engineering task that Rossi seems to be working on diligently is determining the reliability of the E-Cat QX device.  It is important to identify the modes of device failure and the consequences of that failure.  Some possible modes of failure and their consequences are:

  • Device fails to turn on at first use- not a big issue if the frequency of occurrence is very low, some redundancy is built into the module, and other devices using the same controller are not affected
  • Device fails to turn on after successfully operating for some time period- not a big issue if the frequency of occurrence is very low, some redundancy is built into the module, and other devices using the same controller are not affected
  • Device dies with a catastrophic failure- any failure that might damage to adjacent devices, the module wiring, or the controller must be eliminated
  • Device dies as an “open” or very high resistance- not a big issue if the frequency of occurrence is very low, some redundancy is built into the module, and other devices using the same controller are not affected
  • Device dies as a “shorted” or very low resistance device- not a big issue if the frequency of occurrence is very low, some redundancy is built into the module, and other devices using the same controller are not affected
  • Device does not achieve as high of temperature as other parallel connected devices- not a big issue if the frequency of occurrence is very low, some redundancy is built into the module, and other devices using the same controller are not affected

An “open” or high resistance failed device probably would not affect parallel connected devices, but would cause a failure of all series connected devices.  A “shorted” or low resistance failed device would only affect parallel connected devices.  However, with each QX device having a 1 ohm series resistance a shorted QX device would not affect other operating devices, but probably would prevent all parallel connected devices from being turned off, then back on again.  (Note:  Since devices running out of fuel will likely be “open” devices, it really would not make sense to connect QX devices in series.)

What causes devices to fail?   Hopefully, this question is being investigated extensively by Rossi so that all know failure mechanisms can be eliminated, minimized or controlled.  Some possible failure mechanisms and likely failure mode include:

  • Device runs out of fuel- the device would likely die as an “open” device and fail to turn on after many successful on-off cycles
  • Reactor chamber is poorly sealed- device may fail to turn on or die as an “open” device after a short operation period
  • Localized hot spot causes catastrophic failure of QX reactor chamber- device could die as either a “short” or an “open”, but may damage adjacent devices, module wiring, or the controller
  • Manufacturing defect results in device not heating as hot or heating much hotter than other parallel connected devices- under heating is not a big issue if the frequency of occurrence is low, but over heating could result in catastrophic failures
  • Defects in materials used to build the QX devices- could result in any type of failure mode

The goal for the QX device production should be elimination of all failure mechanisms (at a six sigma level) other than running out of fuel.  Even the running out of fuel failure mechanism needs to be controlled to a tight time distribution.  If the nominal mean time to failure is 365 days, it would be desirable to achieve a standard deviation of less than 10 days with a Gaussian distribution of failure times.  It should be noted that goal of the initial reliability investigation should be to identify failure mechanisms that need to be eliminated in the automated manufacturing process.  Actual reliability testing can only be done on QX devices that are made on the automated line.  It is quite possible that it will take numerous “tweaks” to the automated manufacturing line before QX devices can be made reliably.

If the QX device can be operated at higher than nominal powers (that is, higher temperatures), it should be possible do accelerated life testing to determine a mean time to failure at the device’s actual operating temperature.  Accelerated life testing should also generate enough failures to determine all failure mechanisms that might occur, at least all failure mechanisms with high activation energies. To verify that the devices do not have a low activation energy failure mechanism, a large group of parts (thousands) will have to be run at standard operating conditions until failures are observed (or until the fuel source is depleted).

Another issue that might affect the QX device reliability is the environment that the device is in, such as air, an inert gas, water, steam, or some heat transfer liquid.  Reliability really needs to be evaluated for each possible environment.

Rossi has stated that after one year of use, the QX devices will be re-fueled on the automated manufacturing line.  It would not be surprising if ability to achieve high quality, reliable re-fueled devices ended up being a time consuming project, perhaps due to some problem, such as achieving good sealing on re-fueled devices.  Also, the ability to reliably re-fuel QX devices could depend on the environment the device was in during its initial use, which may require a way to track devices, perhaps with an ID number.  Also, after devices have been re-fueled once, can they be re-fueled reliably a second, third or fourth time?  The reliability will have to be verified before these multi-refill devices could be used in production.

In addition to verifying the reliability of the individual QX devices the reliability of the assembled modules and the controllers must be verified before products can be sold.  It would probably be hard to verify the reliability of the modules and associated controllers without actually building some real products and operating them for an extended time.

  1. Optimizing Heat Transfer

A key engineering issue for the design of any commercial product will be how to transfer the heat from the QX devices to the medium that is to be heated.  Does Rossi’s team have the expertise in heat flow modeling to design the most efficient modules for initial commercial applications?  If not, hiring a person with this expertise should be a high priority.

  1. Module Design

One key element of the module design would be to incorporate into the design the ability to switch out modules while the system was still in operation.  If this feature was part of the design, designing the system with 10% or so excess capacity would allow the system to run at full capacity during the yearly replacement of modules.  In products in which the modules can not be changed out while the system is operating, it would be important that modules were designed for a quick exchange time to minimize the downtime of the product.  The modules must also be designed for testability prior to insertion into the product to insure a rapid module exchange time.

One important decision that needs to be made in the module design is should the QX device controllers be part of the replaceable modules or should they be a fixed part of the products?  The decision may depend on the product, but in general it seems that the reliability of the electrical connections between the controller and the QX devices would be much better, and it would be easier to pre-test the modules if the controllers were built into the modules in the automated assembly process.  Even if the controllers are built into the modules there will be many electrical connections that need to be made between modules and a master product controller.  A good product design must account for the need for reliable electrical connections to be made when modules are exchanged yearly.

  1. Expertise in Automated Manufacturing

If Rossi bought the wrong equipment either for manufacturing the QX devices or for assembling the modules, the commercialization of the E-Cat QX technology could be set back more than a year.  Does Rossi’s team have the necessary expertise in automated manufacturing to buy the right equipment to facilitate automated production of QX devices and modules?  Does his team have the expertise to set up and optimize this equipment?

Marketing Issues

  1. Rossi’s Plan for Commercialization

Rossi’s basic plan for commercialization comes directly from a statement he made recently in his blog: “Wide commercialization ….will be made when we will be able to make a massive production, to achieve an economy scale such that any reverse engineering will be not able to compete.”  It seems fairly obvious that it won’t be possible to achieve a “wide commercialization” until the automated manufacturing is running since each commercial product will require a large number of QX devices.  However, why does Rossi want to achieve “an economy scale such that any reverse engineering will be not able to compete”?   Of course, once Rossi’s products are on the market they will be reverse engineered, but how will this help anyone compete with his products if they are protected with patent rights?  Does this mean that Rossi does not plan on using patents and patent law to protect his technology rights?  It makes one think there is a possibility that Rossi does not believe his patents are strong enough to protect his rights under US and international law.  Has Rossi left some key features out of his patents that might make the patents invalid or non-enforceable?  It seems that a much better marketing strategy would be to have such a strong portfolio of patents that no one else would have the technology to compete with the E-Cat QX technology unless they licensed it from Rossi.

  1. Overall Business Strategy

Rossi’s overall business strategy options range from being the sole production source for any equipment using the E-Cat QX technology to licensing the technology with no manufacturing of any devices or products.  Rossi seems to want to retain a very tight control over the E-Cat technology and therefore might want to build all products using the technology.  The problem with being a sole provider of products using the E-Cat QX technology is that even though there are potentially thousands of products that could make use of the E-Cat technology as a heat source, it would take years before Rossi could penetrate the markets of more than a few of these products.   It might be a better business plan just to build the QX devices and the modules of devices for the many potential users of the E-Cat technology as a heat source, perhaps after building a prototype of some product for demonstration purposes.  It should be noted that even just producing modules for all of these products would be an enormous task as most, if not all of the products would need their own unique module design.  A robotic manufacturing assembly line would have to accommodate all of these different module designs.  Once the technology matures it would make sense for Rossi to just provide the QX devices to his customers, and let those customers design and manufacture their own modules.  Perhaps the large volume customers would want a license to build their own QX devices so that they were not dependent on a supplier for the key component of their products.

  1. Heat Can Not Be Marketed As a Universal Product

When Brilliant Light Power (BLP) first proposed their SunCell technology, in which the light output from a 3000ºK graphite sphere is to be converted to electricity using concentrator photovoltaic (CPV) cells, many asked why BLP just didn’t collect the heat from the graphite sphere and eliminate the need for expensive CPV cells.  The reason is that they wanted to develop a single product that could deliver energy that everyone could use, that is dc electricity that with an inverter and a transformer could deliver dc or ac power to anyone that needed electricity. (BLP eventually extended their product plan to include a SunCell design that delivers thermal power, but this product’s primary purpose is an early demonstration of the SunCell technology.)

Heat is a much less marketable commodity than electricity in that users of heat want that heat in different forms, such as hot air, hot water, or steam.  Rossi can not develop just a single product to deliver heat.  He will essentially have to develop a unique product (the heat module) for every product that incorporates his technology.  It will take a large marketing staff to sell the E-Cat QX technology to its many potential customers.

  1. Choice of Initial Product or Prototype

One critical marketing issue for Rossi is the choice of an initial product or demonstration prototype.  Since potential customers might want their heat delivered in different forms, such as, hot air, heated water, or steam, it might good to develop several prototypes products, each with a different form of heat delivery.   It seems fairly obvious that one prototype product should be a boiler of some type.  (This was the choice made by Brilliant Light Power when they decided to market heat as an initial product for their SunCell technology.)  A second prototype that might be considered is some type of commercial furnace.  My recommendation for building these (or any other) initial prototypes is to buy an existing commercial product, remove the heat source from the product, then retrofit the product with modules of E-Cat QX devices to achieve the same performance as the original product.  Good results on the performance of these prototypes should provide the marketing leverage that Rossi needs to get his E-Cat technology into hundreds, if not thousands of products.

In designing these prototypes an effort should be made to demonstrate an easy method of replacing the modules since the first question that any customer is going to ask is how hard is it to change out the modules each year?  An optimum design would have the ability to change out modules while the product was still operating.  If such a design is not practical, the design needs at least to demonstrate simplicity in exchanging QX device modules to minimize the time that the product is down during re-fueling.

 

  1. Establish a Timeline for Critical Milestones

A critical component of any marketing plan is to have a timeline with estimated dates of key milestones available for potential customers.  Perhaps Rossi already has such a timeline, but has not yet made it public?  Some of the milestone dates that might be included on a timeline are:

  • Dates for hiring certain key personnel, such as an expert in setting up robotic manufacturing and an expert in heat flow modeling
  • Failure mechanisms, failure modes, and reliability understood
  • Controller design complete
  • Module prototype design for one product complete
  • Module prototype built
  • Controller and module prototype integrated
  • Initial product OR demonstration prototype product defined
  • Initial prototype product built
  • Automated E-Cat QX device fabrication running
  • Reliability established for QX devices made robotically
  • Automated module manufacturing running
  • Reliability of robotically manufactured modules verified

 

  1. Awareness of the Competition

One important function of a marketing department is keeping track of the competition.  Is Rossi’s team keeping track of their competitor’s progress in developing LENR technology?  Have they analyzed the potential effects on their future business of Brilliant Light Power’s decision to develop a “thermal” product using their SunCell technology?  If BLP and Rossi are both successful, would products based on Rossi’s QX device be competitive with an equivalent product from BLP?   For generating 500MW of heat, would it be better to have an array of 1000 500KW SunCell based devices that may have a life of 15-20 years, or a system having 25,000,000 QX devices that must be changed out each year?  It seems likely that the BLP SunCell technology would be favorable for most applications in which large amounts of heat were required.  It is anticipated that the winner of the race to market between Rossi and BLP would have a sizable marketing advantage (unless their initial products are not reliable).

 

 

Conclusions

 

Everyone that has been following the development of Rossi’s E-Cat technology should know just how real that technology is after the November demonstration.  However, even if the demonstration is deemed wildly successful by most or all observers, there is so much critical engineering work that needs to be completed (including many tasks that could take long time periods to complete successfully) that it could easily be several years before a reliable commercial product is ready to be sold.  If the November demonstration does not clearly show the development state of the E-Cat QX technology, it would probably be prudent to add a couple more years to the anticipated product delivery time.  We would have a better idea of when the first commercial products using the E-cat QX technology will be available if Rossi would publish a timeline for commercialization.  This timeline could be tracked to verify that milestones were being met.

 

  • Ophelia Rump

    Dottore Rossi does not have to prove a thing. He needs only to generate a profit from selling the energy produced. When his organization is raking in billions in profit from energy sales he will not need to convince anyone. He will not need their funding, he will not need them as customers, and he will not need their belief.

    Deliver the energy. That should be the requirement for anyone claiming that they have an over-unity device.

    Use the profit to fund yourself.

    • Dr. Mike

      Actually I believe Rossi does need to prove to his customers that his technology works as claimed and his products are reliable. I agree that Rossi does not have to prove anything to me or most other scientists and engineers. However, the scientists and engineers working for his potential customers will need some good data before recommending their companies buy Rossi’s products. The November demonstration is an excellent opportunity for Rossi to generate some initial data for marketing purposes.

      • Omega Z

        “Actually I believe Rossi does need to prove to his customers that his technology works as claimed and his products are reliable.”

        Customers is the key point. They will know in short order if they are a customer if it performs as advertised. As to proving anything else, it would be to those on hand to observe and how much they are allowed to take measurements to their satisfaction. That is highly probable for the demo test to begin with.

        • Dr. Mike

          I actually don’t see customers “knowing in short order” if Rossi’s technology performs as advertised. That is why I think Rossi really needs to a good job building prototypes that clearly demonstrate his technology.

          • Omega Z

            Maybe I should have defined customer as someone who has purchased and in use. You may mean potential customer in which case I agree.

          • Dr. Mike

            Yes, I mean potential customers. You do have to have potential customers before you have real customers.

          • EngineeringFan

            Thanks, Dr. Mike, for all of the above. The main post was really great reading.

    • Andreas Moraitis

      „Use the profit to fund yourself.”

      Sounds good, but a company that wants to grow quickly will usually need additional capital. For Leonardo, an IPO might be the means of choice, since it would allow them to collect enough money without becoming too dependent on potentially problematic partners.

      • Vinney

        And an IPO of essentially a ‘sacrificial’ company without a connection to E-cat technology or patents, but with a
        proven book of financial return on investment.
        He could also factor in high levels of confidentiality and security of his installations, to prevent theft of his IP.

  • roseland67

    Assuming of course that Energy Out > Energy In
    I agree

  • Bruce Williams

    Dr Mike, You have frequently contributed to this site & it has always been interesting to read your observations ; this current offering is outstanding : it summarises a lot of what has been going through my mind for sometime. Thanks a lot

    • Dr. Mike

      I’m glad you liked the post. Hopefully others will add to issues that I omitted to form a fairly complete picture of what needs done to get the E-Cat technology commercialized. Can you think of other issues that should have been included?

  • sam

    A question at the end: When will we be informed of the date of the presentation?
    Best regards Svein Henrik.

    Andrea Rossi
    October 29, 2017 at 1:26 PM
    Svein Henrik:
    Thank you for your insight.
    Soon the date and location of the presentation will be announced.It will be made in the third decade of November.
    Warm Regards,
    A.R.

    Frank Acland
    October 29, 2017 at 3:13 PM
    Dear Andrea,

    Does third “decade” in November mean third week?

    Best regards,

    Frank Acland

    • sam

      JPR
      October 29, 2017 at 6:33 PM
      Update?

      Andrea Rossi
      October 29, 2017 at 7:06 PM
      JPR:
      We are going very well and we are very close to the Sigma 5 level.
      Warm Regards,
      A.R.

    • Rene

      And so I was right about his words that the presentation would most likely be the end of November, and now that Rossi is playing the date for a date game, an announcement as late as November 30th means he either wants to make sure no one can possibly make or crash a November 30th presentation, or he’s yet again pushing his demo date well past his promised “100% before 30 November”.

    • Steve D

      Rossi’s talking in riddles. Late November would have sufficed. So he doesn’t need to confide with the peanut gallery but what then is he telling his invitees?

  • Frank Acland

    I don’t expect that the November demo will convince every outside observer that the E-Cat is everything it claims to be. I think that would be practically impossible, since skeptics will always find things to be skeptical about, and there will always be people who will think he is somehow putting on some magician’s trick.

    I do think that Andrea wants to show the world what he has done so far. And I do think it will be very interesting.

    • Rene

      It’s not about convincing every outside observer as much as having from the start outside independent parties not gagged by NDAs able to either inspect or guide his demo setup. Then those parties can observe and report. I’d love to see MFMP there too, but they require no-gag presence. So long as Rossi keeps up that secrecy and puts together questionable demo setups, of course very few other than his true believers will consider his demo a sham. What’s his point in doing that?

      • Frank Acland

        Rossi may well hold back information he considers confidential, but I don’t think that the people present at the presentation will be required to sign NDAs. My best understanding is that he will be allowing recording and publication of the presentation.

      • Dr. Mike

        Perhaps Rossi will consider some of the suggestions made here on Frank’s website in setting up his demo? I’ve listed what I would like to see in the demo. “DocSiders” has added that he would like to see a dummy reactor control. (See his comments above.) What would you like to see in the demo, particularly what would you like to see that you feel won’t be shown? Perhaps Frank could compile a list of recommendations made by his website viewers and send that list to Rossi?

        • Rene

          I agreed with what you wrote, but most of all I want to see a group like MFMP set up the measurement requirements and analysis equipment.
          Highlights are to measure input power and frequency spectrum of the input power. Measure power output not as IR visuals but as no-phase-change calorimetry. Have spectra detectors, neutron, gamma, etc. MFMP has done this kind of work, so they have a good deal of experience in setting up measurement criteria. But most of all, no gags on the measurement data. Period. Otherwise, it’s a sham demo.

  • DocSiders

    The “control” heat sourse MUST BE a QX array identical to the “test” QX array except that the control QX’s sould have no fuel…AND the “control” QX’s must be operated at the same current (ALL sources of current input – including any controls) over the same time intervals as during the actual “test” run(s).

    AND coolant temperatures NEED to be plotted vs. time over the entire period of the heat rise (for both the control run and test run)…not just at one very short period of time and short duration as was done in the so called “experiment” done earlier this year.

    Else there is no real control run.

    I expect AR to mess with the “control” run somehow next month like he always does…so we still won’t know what he’s got.

    • Dr. Mike

      I agree that in general, the control heat source that you have described would be good to have as part of the experiment, if it is possible. The QX device appears to be a non-linear device that needs to be turned on by a voltage pulse. I would guess that an unfueled QX device would not turn on, and therefore could never be made to operate at the same current as a fueled device. (It would remain in a high impedance state and never draw any current from the controller.) Don’t be surprised if Rossi claims that it is not possible to run the type of control experiment as you have described it. I didn’t mention this type of “control” in my post because I already assumed that it would not be possible. I don’t expect Rossi to “mess” with a “control” run because I don’t think there will be one.
      It certainly would be a good idea to have a running plot of the heat rise and verify the measured output power remains fairly steady for at least one hour.

  • “For generating 500MW of heat, would it be better to have an array of 1000 500KW SunCell based devices that may have a life of 15-20 years, or a system having 25,000,000 QX devices that must be changed out each year? It seems likely that the BLP SunCell technology would be favorable for most applications in which large amounts of heat were required.”

    – The above is surely the key point that would keep my wallet in my pocket until BLP have done their own demo in what is likely to be a year or less. But then you say:

    ” It is anticipated that the winner of the race to market between Rossi and BLP would have a sizable marketing advantage (unless their initial products are not reliable).”

    – I can’t agree here. If both competitors’ claims are accurate, BLP would be by far the better choice for almost every application (for precisely the reasons above) and would be well worth the extra year’s wait. Again, assuming both parties’ claims are accurate.

    • Dr. Mike

      BLP’s demo will be of a functioning product, although probably not quite ready for sale. They may be as much as 2 years ahead of Rossi, depending on the engineering problems each incur, so right now it looks like BLP should be the winner in the race to market. I still think Rossi’s technology will fit some products and markets that BLP won’t even go after, perhaps home heating, home hot water heaters, and other applications requiring well less than 100KW of heat output. Also, BLP’s entrance into the “heat” market appears to be more for an early demonstration of their technology until they can get into the “electricity” market. They may abandon trying to sell heat after they get the electric SunCell operational.

      • – Fair points. I suppose there will be a particular cross-over level of power that is uneconomical for E-Cat ensembles to reach up to and, equally, for a SunCell to come down to.

        That said, I’d guess that a “mini-SunCell” – working at more domestic power levels – might not be too hard to scale down to. And I’m not sure that Mills would abandon the heat-only market once his PV technology is perfected. There will always be a market for “big heat” on a “mini SunCell” or a “maxi-SunCell” scale.

        • Dr. Mike

          You might be correct about a future development of a “mini-SunCell”, particularly if the initial thermal SunCell turns out to be quite marketable. I really like the idea of arrays of thermal SunCells to replace coal, oil, and natural gas as the heat source for existing power plants. If BLP got into this market, they probably wouldn’t be too interested in the market for small scale heat uses.

      • Vinney

        You miss the point that the E-cat QX can also produce light and can be optimized to produce upwards of 10x more light than power input ( including any hue you like).
        Rossi may be waiting for details of BLP Suncell construction to use on his own devices. It may not produce the high bursts of energy of the Suncell but will be much simpler to engineer and more scalable for smaller electrical devices.

        • Dr. Mike

          The QX would need to have a light output 50X to 100X the input power to achieve a reasonable system COP using concentrator photovoltaic (CPV) cells. Ge CPV cells would probably be a better match than Si CPV cells to the lower temperature spectrum of the QX device (as compared to the SunCell).

  • David_Kaiser_39

    Just as a comparison. Elon Musk showed us three weeks ago his BFR (big f… rocket). He wants to make the first flight in 2020. And I assume building this rocket will be much more complex than an e-cat from an engineering point of view.

    I lost trust in Rossi. Even I was one among the first who ordered an e-cat through his webpage so many years ago. Let’s see what he will ptresent us in one month.

  • Dr. Mike

    I believe you are correct that it would be possible to create a reactor that turns on, but is missing one or more ingredients of the fuel necessary for LENR heat generation. This would make for a good control for the demonstration. However, what are the odds that Rossi will take the time to build such a control device? I don’t expect his demonstration to have such a control. (I also don’t expect that we will see a verifiable measurement of device or controller input power, but I am hoping we will. I prefer to see the power measured going to the controller so that a system COP can be calculated.)

  • AdrianAshfield

    Dr. Mike, thank you for an interesting, if premature, look at the problems to be solved with the E-Cat QX. With luck the list will get much shorter after the demo.

    You didn’t mention the engineering problems that worry me. What is the reactor tube made of to withstand >2500C? How to make and machine them. What to make the electrical cables/connectors out of to stand operating temperatures ~2000C when the reactor is used to deliver high temperature heat? Consider that there will be groups of them radiating heat.

    Rossi has several problems with patent protection. There may well be earlier ones that cover his process at least in part. He can’t bet a direct patent because the US Patent Office blackballs cold fusion. He says he is working on 65 patents. Like him, I don’t have great faith in the process. Too many inventors have spent half their lives in court. When the patent is really valuable the wolves gather around.

    As far as manufacturing goes, much depends on his partner and how much money is available. He could well leave the automation design to the robotics company he is working with, coupled with his own input. He is an ingenious, determined engineer. He is correct in thinking mass production would be his best protection against competition.

    The design has changed over the year regarding the length (size) of the reactor. I assume it is so small for control reasons. It is probably a dusty plasma but I don’t know so there is little point in speculating.

    It is only too easy to be over optimistic about the time line.

    • Dr. Mike

      I think Rossi has the reactor materials issues worked out. My guess is that the 20W power output and small device size are exactly the result of the engineering issues of the reactor tube and electrical connections that you mentioned. You are also correct to assume there might be heating problems when there are groups of devices radiating heat. (This is why I believe it is important that Rossi have someone on his team that is really good at thermal modelling.)
      The US Patent Office is no longer blackballing patents dealing with LENR, but it is certainly Rossi’s decision to use them patent process for protection of his rights or not use it. The problem with Rossi believing mass production will prevent others from entering the market is that he can’t be certain that someone won’t come up with a better automated manufacturing process that can made the devices at a lower cost.

      • AdrianAshfield

        Thanks for your reply.
        I have yet to see a US patent that mentions cold fusion or LENR directly.

        Those are extraordinarily high temperatures. I will worry until I know what he is using.

        • Dr. Mike

          If you go to the US Patent Office’s search program by key words you will find that patents are being granted on LENR based devices- Rossi has been issued one or more. Axil Axil believes Rossi is using boron nitride for his reactor core (see above comment). This material coupled with tungsten electrodes should meet the QX’s thermal requirements. I think that you are correct that operating the device in the open will bring in a question about the long term reliability of the ceramic core.

        • Omega Z

          When it comes to heat, volume of heat and temperature must both be taken into consideration. Note that the tungsten filament of a 100 watt incandescent light bulb can exceed 2500`C. The melting point of tungsten is 6,191°F (3,422°C)

          While Rossi’s QX may operate at around 2,500°C, the output is a small 20 watts. It wouldn’t take much air/liquid flow to expel the heat. It would actually be easier then then the 3KW Hot cat as the QX has more surface area per watt then the Hot cat.

          • AdrianAshfield

            If you want high temperatures, say for heating the gas in a turbine to produce electricity, the problems outlined apply.

    • Axil Axil

      What the Rossi experiments has shown over many years is that LENR in a lattice is not workable because the reaction cannot be controlled. The LENR reaction wants to operate at the boiling point of the metal lattice (nickel) which is 3000K. Rossi has struggled to control the LENR reaction at low temperatures but he always fails because LENR would invariably get to 3000K and meltdown his reactor. So Rossi finally decided to use reactor structural material that doesn’t melt at 3000K. This material must be an insulator that does not melt at 3000K. Mills has stumbled on the same reaction and his SunCell runs at the vapor point of silver (2200C). Mills has solved the meltdown problem is another way, he justs runs everything as a liquid without any containment.

      Using a lattice for LENR is a losing proposition. THe plasma approach to the LENR reaction is the only way to go. I beleive that this tube material is boron nitride, a transparent insulator whose melting point is 3000C.

      From first hand reports, the quark is a small tube that is transparent. Light comes out of that tube and is very intense. That plasma containment tube holds a plasma at 2700 °C. The material that that plasma containment tube is made of must hold together for 1 year without leaking. This containment tube material is where a failure of the quark will come from.

      My guess is that this tube material is Boron nitride. This isolator begins to sublimate at 2,973 °C. My guess is that Rossi has figured at a way to keep the plasma temperature lower than 2700 °C so that the plasma is not so hard on the tube material. For example, the theory paper COP calculation is based on a temperature of 2362.85 °C

      More About Hot-Pressed Boron Nitride Ceramics

      Stable and reliable in extreme high-heat environments, hot-pressed boron nitride ceramics are designed to excel in applications such as plasma arc welding and semiconductor processing equipment. With its unique combination of electrical insulation and thermal conductivity, hot-pressed boron nitride ceramics are an excellent choice to consider for use as heat sinks in high-power electronic applications. BN is inorganic, inert and not wet by most molten metals, performing well in molten metal processes. Available in a variety of standard and custom shapes, hot-pressed boron nitride ceramics are easily machined, thermally shock resistant and chemically compatible across a wide range of demanding manufacturing applications.

      This type of Hot-Pressed Boron Nitride Ceramics can be formed into thin tubes and then center drilled to form a tube reactor structure that can withstand a maximum temperature of up to 3000C. This material is an electrical insulator even at the top of its heat range.

      Key Properties

      Excellent Electrical Insulator
      Low Dielectric Constant
      Low Dielectric Loss
      High Temperature Stability
      Good Thermal Conductor
      Lubricious
      Inert & Chemically Stable
      Non-Wetting to Molten Metals

      Applications

      High temperature electrical insulators and vacuum furnace supports which require electrical resistivity, high temperature strength, thermal shock resistance and low chemical reactivity

      Crucibles and containers for high purity molten metals

      Insulators and source fixtures for ion implantation systems which require high temperature purity and electrical insulation

      As shown in Rossi’s theory paper, It also comes to mind that the COP estimation of the Quark was calculated with the assumption that the light coming from the quark was produced by blackbody radiation. Such an assumption may be wrong,This light from the Quake may not be produced by black body radiation.

      From the eyewitness description of the QuarkX that Alan Smith gave us as follows:

      Quote
      “I do remember. BTW, eye witness accounts claim that the tube itself is transparent, and the electrodes bright silver colour. nothing is visible in the gap. I have no idea about sealing or anything else – except that the plasma can apparently be made ‘any colour you like’. The example shown was glowing yellow when energised for short periods. That’s all the info I have.”

      The light may be coming from a side-peak emission of a polariton bose condensation

      Marrying superconductors, lasers, and Bose-Einstein condensates
      June 17, 2016 by Sheri Ledbetter

      http://phys.org/news/2016-06-s…einstein-condensates.html

      also see

      High-energy side-peak emission of exciton-polariton condensates in high density regime

      https://www.nature.com/articles/srep25655

      • Warthog

        MP of tungsten is 3422C, and conducts electricity quite nicely, thank you. Rossi has said over and over and over that his reactors are “shielded” with tungsten.

      • Dr. Mike

        Thanks for the info. It will be interesting to see how close Rossi is pushing the material to its thermal limits (the internal reactor wall temperature).

      • AdrianAshfield

        Axil, I agree Boron nitride is is a good bet for the E-Cat QX, but it is not as simple as you make out.

        BN comes in several forms with very different properties. When doped it can even be used to make LEDs. Rossi also stated he had to make a “new” material – that maybe a modified form of BN.

        The most common form is hexagonal (hBN) that is very analogous to graphite. It is widely used as a lubricant as well as hot pressed for bearings and beakers.
        I think it has several problems.

        The cubic (cBN) is analogous to diamond and almost as hard. Bits are used on tools to machine steel.
        Not easy to machine but can be sintered to form large objects.

        Neither form goes up to the high temperatures required without being in an inert atmosphere.
        Possibly this is the reason for the tube to be encased in a tungsten tube, mentioned some time ago.

        Having never worked with BN I don’t know enough about it.
        Possibly the end electrodes are tungsten.

  • Bruce Williams

    Dr Mike, You asked me a day ago if there were any other issues that should be included ; since there is an association here with “Nuclear”, it may be good P.R. to have radiation detectors & Neutron counters present during the demo (even though not necessary) to head off any fears of their existence.

    • Dr. Mike

      An excellent suggestion!

  • GiveADogABone

    Q: Why is there a temperature difference between the filament (1,700-3,000C) and glass bulb (200-260C) in an incandescent light bulb [1:] ?
    A: Assuming a perfect vacuum in the bulb and all radiation is absorbed in the glass and re-radiated, the Stefan-Boltzmann law [2:] provides the basic conservative calculation.

    Q: Where exactly is this 3000K temperature in the QX?
    A: http://www.physics.ucla.edu/plasma-exp/research/Fireballs/index.html
    Fireballs are discharge phenomena in partially ionized low temperature plasmas. Note the ‘low temperature’.
    The neutral gas temperature has been estimated since objects in the gas flow [from the fireball] become red hot.

    If the LENR reaction is also inside the fireball, then that is where the high temperatures are. The Nickel electrodes of the QX do not melt. There is a lot of structure in the plasma and its fireball inside the QX and that includes temperatures.

    1: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Incandescent_light_bulb
    An electric current heats the filament to typically 2,000 to 3,300 K (3,140 to 5,480 °F), well below tungsten’s melting point of 3,695 K (6,191 °F).
    The glass bulb of a general service lamp can reach temperatures between 200 and 260 °C (392 and 500 °F).
    The glass bulb is filled with low pressure inert gas (argon, nitrogen, krypton, xenon)

    2: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stefan%E2%80%93Boltzmann_law
    j*=sigma * T^4
    Halve the absolute temperature and the radiation per unit area reduces by a factor of sixteen.

    • Axil Axil

      It is a sure thing that the Quark tube is filled with hydrogen. Hydrogen is an excellent carrier of heat. The plasma is most likely formed within the hydrogen envelope.

      IMHO, the heat flux is not governed by blackbody radiation inside the quark.

  • sam

    WaltC
    October 30, 2017 at 9:08 PM
    Dear Andrea,
    It seems that, over the past year, you’ve made a fair number of improvements in the area of E-Cat control. I realize your current plans are to build assemblies of small E-Cats (the Quark) to give you scaleability for very large systems, but I was wondering if there is anything in what you’ve learned during the past year that could be applied towards revisiting (from a controllability and COP point of view) larger E-Cat devices– for instance, 100W or 1KW devices?

    Thanks,
    WaltC

    Andrea Rossi
    October 31, 2017 at 6:47 AM
    WaltC:
    Yes.
    Warm Regards,
    A.R.

  • Dr. Mike

    I only see full details coming out in an issued patent (which should allow replication). If Rossi’s demonstration meets the basic standards for good scientific experimental procedures, why wouldn’t everyone (most) believe his results? His demonstration will be a success if most scientists and engineers agree that the data measured during the demonstration was sufficient to validate Rossi’s conclusions about the QX’s performance. (It will not be possible to please ALL engineers and scientists!)

  • Bernie Koppenhofer

    How about just one trustworthy customer testifying that he saved x amount of money using an E-Cat reactor compared to his use of other energy sources.

    • Dr. Mike

      There will have to be some prototype product built by Rossi before a customer can testify how much money was saved using the new technology.

      • Bernie Koppenhofer

        What! He has had two tests of E-Cats he could have sold to customers. In fact he has said they were sold to customers.

        • Dr. Mike

          Rossi’s earlier generations of E-Cats did not have the reliability necessary to be sold as commercial products. There seems to be more emphasis on reliability on the QX devices.

          • Bernie Koppenhofer

            Dr Rossi said he sold reactors to customers including the military.

          • Dr. Mike

            I guess it must be true if Rossi said so? I did not hear of any customers that incorporated an earlier generation of the E-Cat into any commercial product. The military could have bought some earlier E-Cats to evaluate the technology, but I don’t believe they released any public reports on their evaluation.

          • MorganMck

            Gee, do ya really think that Rossi has stretched the truth from time to time? This is why it is so important to have credible third party testing of QX (as a black box) with solid setups, process and calibration. But if Rossi can get private money to continue his R&D, I doubt he will every allow a “credible” test of his IP.

  • Dr. Mike

    I believe everyone would like to see a measurement taken by an independent group in the manner you described. I think the output of the controller will be proprietary until a patent is issued on the QX device (maybe even after?). However, the power used by the controller can not be proprietary and therefore, needs to be measured in the demonstration. The system COP may not look that great, but a current system COP with some estimate of the future controller power per device will give the best indication of the state of the technology.

  • Rene

    Cody, any reason why you copied, word for word, what I wrote a day ago? Deja unattributed vu.

    • John Littlemist

      ECW’s Disqus seems to have a bot problem.

  • Albert D. Kallal

    Well, sure it more complex, but he has been building rockets for 13 years – it not like they never built a rocket. So Musk been building rockets longer then the space race to the moon took. Once you spent many years and built up the infrastructure to build a rocket, then certainly building the next one don’t take that long – but simply costs lots of money because you gained the expertise and resources to build such a rocket.

    And Musk did have 30 years of information and people to hire from a existing industry.

    If Rossi has a finalized design, or a design that is easy to manufacture, then not a lot of time need pass. It really a question of how difficult it is to make LENR work. If this issue been solved, then I don’t think the time to manufacture going to be that long – it really a question of how reliable his devices are, or how reliable they can be.

    However, at this point in time, we really don’t know what Rossi has, or how close to a viable product he has.

    If like rockets, we had been building LENR devices for 30 years, then like Musk, production of LENR devices would not take that long. The problem is we been building rockets for over 50 years – not so with LENR.

    Regards,
    Albert D. Kallal
    Edmonton, Alberta Canada

  • Rene

    Claims of rapid commercialization is the issue. Were it demonstrably true, it would be wonderful, but to date there has not been a solid positive, even with those huge ‘plants’ Rossi created. He’s finally admitted they were unviable prototypes.
    What we need to see from him, or anyone working on LENR is a solid modest positive that independent observers can look, measure, and report on. Instead Rossi waxes prolific about the future as if it is fact. Yes, I’d like to see and have a small LENR device power my electronics, but first, a solid 3rd party vetted demo. Let us hope November 24th is that kind of demo.
    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/c757aec0504699fe2674318c76bab1d8fe33253ad43d49463a4beeb393959610.jpg

    • Dr. Mike

      November 24th will not be a 3rd party vetted demo, but with all of the 3rd party input that Rossi has received on how the demo needs to be run, he really needs to put on a show that that is acceptable to the diversified audience that he has invited. A question and answer session after the demo will be most interesting, especially if the demo is not up to the audience’s expectations.