The following post was submitted by Mats Lewan
What if LENR reactions turn out to be more energy dense than fission and fusion, or in other words, that they have a higher efficiency extracting mass out of a certain quantity of fuel and turn it into energy?
Rossi told me that the total quantity of fuel (powder) in the Doral 1MW plant was about 6-7 kg. He hasn’t told me about any results of an isotopic analysis of the used fuel but I got an impression that he considers the portion of the fuel that was involved in the reaction to be too small to result in any significant isotopic shifts. I don’t know if this is correct, since I have no knowledge about the analysis.
But let’s assume that this is correct. Let us then compare to well-known nuclear and chemical reactions.
Releasing 1MW of power for one year means a total energy of about 9 GWh which, according to E=mc2, corresponds to about 0.3 grams of mass turned into energy. The question now regards the fuel efficiency.
For example, the Hiroshima bomb contained 64 kg of uranium out of which a little less than 1 kg underwent nuclear fission. The released energy was about 15 kt TNT or 17 GWh which corresponds to less than a gram of mass turned into energy.
The Nagasaki bomb offers similar numbers—6 kg of plutonium of which about 1 kg underwent nuclear fission releasing 21 kt TNT or about 24 GWh, which corresponds to about 1 gram of mass turned into energy.
In other words, in order to turn about 1 gram of mass into energy, you need to let 15-20 kt of fuel undergo a chemical reaction, or about 1 kg fuel undergo a nuclear fission reaction (and you need several times more mass of fuel to make one kg undergo fission). This makes nuclear fission about 10 mln times more fuel efficient than chemical reactions.
(The mass turned into energy in chemical reactions and in nuclear fission derives from binding energy in atoms/molecules or in nuclei respectively, being released, resulting in a corresponding decrease of mass).
This also means that if the LENR reaction powering the E-Cat system in Doral had the same fuel efficiency as nuclear fission, about 300 grams of the 6-7 kg of fuel should have been involved in the reaction. That would be about 5 percent of the fuel which would easily be detected through isotopic analysis of the used fuel.
Now, *IF* the isotopic analysis didn’t show any significant shift, this could mean that the fuel efficiency is higher than in nuclear fission, or in other words that only a minor amount, let’s say a few grams of the total fuel amount of 6-7 kg, was involved in the reaction in order to turn 0.3 grams of mass into energy.
The smallest possible amount would obviously be 0.3 grams of fuel involved, meaning that the LENR process would be 100 percent fuel efficient, compared to nuclear fission being about 0.1 percent fuel efficient and chemical reactions being less than 0.00001 percent fuel efficient.
Optimising the technology, which Rossi apparently has done through the development of the E-Cat SK, this could mean that instead of needing 6-7 kg of fuel to produce 1 MW of power, you would need much less fuel. Looking at the photo of the QX which essentially would be the same core reactor as the SK, this seems probable–you would need about 50 SK (each rated at 20 kW) to produce 1MW of power and I don’t think that you would fit about 100 grams of fuel in each reactor.
On the contrary, I think Rossi says there’s about a gram of fuel in each reactor, meaning that the total amount of fuel would be about 50 grams. This already puts the LENR reaction ahead of nuclear efficiency–in the worst case the fuel lasts only for a year, meaning that you need 50 grams of fuel ot transform 0.3 grams of mass into energy, making the fuel efficiency 0.6 percent or six times higher than nuclear fission.
If the SK on the other hand is 100% fuel efficient, this fuel would last for about 150 years.
ALSO, Since I’m curious to get a picture of what the opinion is today about Andrea Rossi and his claims, I invite you to answer to a poll on whether he has what he claims. Feel free to share.