An interesting post by Tom Kaminski on this thread:
In March, 2016 the local IEEE Section toured the central heating/cooling plant for the University of Wisconsin, Madison campus. It produces roughly 300 MW of steam and could also use steam-turbine driven chillers for chilled water. The site was recently converted from coal to natural gas and the boilers could also burn fuel oil. Because the natural gas supply was on an interruptible schedule, they stored about US$ 4 million worth of fuel oil. On one particularly cold January weekend, they used most of the fuel oil up when the extreme cold required the utility to cut off their gas supply to maintain . supplies for city residents. This newsletter (mid way down the page) has some information and pictures:
My point is, the “backup” heating supply is often required for commercial customers to get the best utility fuel rates. Rossi’s “must have their own backup” plan is not going to be that restrictive. If he provides the capital equipment, the commercial users will have only a small cost (facility mods and space for the equipment) and if is saves operating costs for fuel, it will be advantageous.
Supplying 300MW of heat, however with the current Rossi design might take a bit of work…
I will add a comment of my own here. I was talking recently with a former director of a paper mill who told me that during his working life there the company installed a natural gas Combined Heat and Power (CHP) system that provided all the heat and power to the mill, taking it off-grid. In addition to the natural gas source was, as Tom describes above, a fuel oil backup system stored in large tanks that could be used when there was an interruption in the gas supply.
Of course this made me wonder whether an E-Cat could be used instead of natural gas to provide the heat needed to run such a CHP system, keeping the natural gas and/or oil as a backup. I actually asked Andrea Rossi about this in my recent interview, and he said that Leonardo would be providing only heat, it would be up to the customer to decide what they wanted to do with that heat.
Assuming the E-Cat works well, if it’s simply a matter of replacing one heat source with another, without extensive engineering involved to do that, a company might be inclined to give the E-Cat a try, if the savings are attractive enough.