If you're an energy geek like me, chances are you may have heard the rumblings over the past few weeks of the cold fusion device demonstrated by Andrea Rossi. The e-cat (energy catalyzer) is now available for sale to businesses on Rossi's Leonardo Corporation website. From Rossi's website (which apparently isn't a valid version?):
The E-Cat utilizes small amounts of nickel powder, hydrogen gas, and a proprietary catalyst to produce a safe and clean form of nuclear fusion. This form of nuclear fusion requires no radioactive materials, produces no radioactive waste, and emits no pollution into the environment.
I try not to get too worked up over announcements like this, as claims of abundant, cheap energy have been made centuries. In fact, our most popular posts are those uncovering free energy scams like Magniwork and HoJo motor. But Rossi's e-cat is a little different in that the principal of nuclear fusion doesn't violate any laws of physics. In fact, the E.U., Russia, India, Japan, Korea, China, and the U.S. are spending billions on demonstrating how nuclear fusion is the history of energy production.
To date, the e-cat devices have been shrouded in a bit of mystery. There has been little third-party verification of Rossi's energy claims. That is because Rossi is concerned about too much detail being released about the device's operation or because it just doesn't work. It seems that Rossi has to be a little mysterious, because he hasn't been issued an international patent on the device. From Wikipedia on Energy Catalyzer:
An application in 2008 to patent the device internationally had received an unfavorable preliminary report on patentability at the World Intellectual Property Organization from the European Patent Office, noting that the description of the device was based on "general statements and speculations" and citing "numerous deficiencies in both the description and in the evidence provided to support its feasibility" as well as incompatibilities with current scientific theories.
So either Rossi is trying to scam everyone or he isn't able to fully describe how the device works, he just know that it does.
But let's cross our fingers and hope....
If the e-cat is made available for homeowners to buy, how would they use it? From the 5 kW E-Cat heater page:
This unit will be capable of providing up to five kilowatts of heat -- in the form of hot water -- non stop and continually, twenty four hours a day, if needed; or it can provide less heat, governable according to the demand. It is slated to be the first cold fusion product marketed to ordinary individuals, families, and small businesses, in the history of human civilization.
The home heating unit will require a connection to a source of input power, but will be guaranteed to produce a minimum output of six times the power consumed. In reality, the power consumption will be far lower, because the unit will operate in a self-sustained manner for extended periods of time. During self-sustained operation, the heat produced by the cold fusion reactions inside of the unit, will provide the energy needed to maintain operation of the device. In this self sustaining mode, without a need for any significant external power, the unit will continue producing up to five kilowatts of output. When external power is needed for a short period of time, onboard electronic controls will draw it from the grid.
So with this device you could have an abundance of hot water for your washing needs and you could also use it in radiant floor heating to heat your home. But at what cost of an e-cat device would this make financial sense? I'm guessing it wont for most homeowners, but it may make sense for large buildings like dorms or apartment buildings. While you wait for a cold fusion heater, you could always check out a residential fuel cell!
The site has a nice link to many cold fusion forums. Hopefully this is just one of many posts on this emerging technology, let's keep a curious, but cautious eye on this!