Another E-Cat Test: Success?
by Mike Weaver
October 10, 2014
Andrea Rossi's E-Cat machine has been wowing folks for some time now. This device is claimed to produce considerable amounts of energy via Low Energy Nuclear Reactions (LENR). I've written about LENR and Rossi before. Results of additional testing on the E-Cat have been published very recently. Does this, finally, prove that the E-Cat works?
I found this report through an article on the site ExtremeTech. The article, by Sebastian Anthony, discusses the test report from the testing company Sifferkoll.
From the ExtremeTech article:
The researchers observed a small E-Cat over 32 days, where it produced net energy of 1.5 megawatt-hours, or "far more than can be obtained from any known chemical sources in the small reactor volume." The researchers were also allowed to analyze the fuel before and after the 32-day run, noting that the isotopes in the spent fuel could only have been obtained by "nuclear reactions"—a conclusion that boggles the researchers: "...It is of course very hard to comprehend how these fusion processes can take place in the fuel compound at low energies."Very exciting. You can read the actual report here. Happily, they do go into some detail on their methods and results, which is nice. As I read it, however, a few things jumped out at me, which gave me considerable pause in my celebration of our clean energy future. From the Sifferkoll report:
The dummy reactor was switched on at 12:20 PM of 24 February 2014 by Andrea Rossi who gradually brought it to the power level requested by us. Rossi later intervened to switch off the dummy, and in the following subsequent operations on the E-Cat: charge insertion, reactor startup, reactor shutdown and powder charge extraction. Throughout the test, no further intervention or interference on his part occurred; moreover, all phases of the test were monitored directly by the collaboration.And there it is: my core issue, in a nice, neat paragraph. Rossi operated the E-Cat. Rossi fueled it. Rossi removed the spent fuel. Why? Why is Rossi even present for the test, much less actually interacting with the equipment?
Rossi has been suspected of shenanigans before in his tests. Despite the seeming rigor of the testing protocols, there are ways that a skilled trickster could gimmick the test. For example, Australian skeptic Ian Bryce investigated the claims, which are presented in a nice piece about Rossi's work, back in 2011. From the piece:
Bryce noted that in Rossi's experiments, if the earth wire was accidentally connected to the active pin of the power plug instead of the earth pin, and also to some of the power circuits inside the blue control box, then it could introduce extra power bypassing the metering instruments.At this point, given the years of promises and questionable tests, I really find it difficult to accept that Rossi's E-Cat is anything other than a scam. If it is a real device exploiting a real physical phenomenon, then why is it never tested without Rossi present? If Rossi wishes to avoid such claims, the answer is obvious: give some E-Cat devices, with all necessary equipment, supplies, and highly detailed operating instructions, to a true independent lab and stay at home. The device should be able to speak for itself. This is a bar that he has yet to pass. Rossi and the E-Cat are well enough known at this point that there is little risk, I judge, to his work being stolen and rushed to market without him receiving credit. The real risk, I reckon, is that the device will not work without Rossi present.
by Mike Weaver
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