| Andrea Rossi 2011 E-Cat Scam Device Summary
In 2011, Andrea Rossi connected a few small pipes and, on one end, hooked them to a small pump. He hooked the pump to a small jug of water and fed the water through the pipes. Inside one of the pipes, he placed an electric heater and, he said, a secret catalyst. He said his secret catalyst was heating the water much more than was possible by the electrical heat alone. In fact, he said, it was turning all the water into steam. According to his measurements, he put in 770 watts of power. He said that he got an equivalent output of 4,900 watts. The evidence for this, he said, was the steam generated by the device. However, there was no steam coming out of the device. Instead, there was a rubber hose attached to the other end of the pipe, and the hose was feeding hot water and a tiny amount of steam into a drain hole in the wall. (Reference: The Failure of Rossi’s Energy Catalyzer, Caught on Video)
Energy Catalyzer Scam Investigation Summary
Sometime before 2011, Rossi began trying to use and commercialize the low-energy nuclear research developed by Francesco Piantelli, a retired Italian biophysicist and his colleagues. Piantelli began his LENR research in 1989, when he observed something unusual taking place in one of his experiments. Initially, Piantelli didn't pay close attention to it. But after he saw the Martin Fleischmann and Stanley Pons "cold fusion" announcement, he looked more closely at his own work. Piantelli found that his device, too, was producing anomalous excess heat and nuclear effects. But Piantelli was working with nickel and hydrogen gas, a very different configuration from Fleischmann-Pons’. (Piantelli Group Documents)
Piantelli also knew that the idea of room-temperature fusion was highly unlikely. More significantly, he was working with a hydrogen system rather than a deuterium system; therefore, the idea of fusion was not even a consideration for him. (See 2008 and 2010 ACS presentations here Publications and Presentations)
For many years, Piantelli worked with his colleague Sergio Focardi in LENR research. Both men have legitimate academic credentials and scientific backgrounds. Together, they have a long history of credible LENR research, some of which published in peer-reviewed journals. The pair never got fully reproducible or practical results. (Overview of H-Ni Systems: Old Experiments and New Setup)
I met Piantelli and interviewed him in his private lab in 2007. Both he and Focardi were retired by then. I wrote two articles about their work the following year. Right around that time, Rossi approached Piantelli and asked to work with him. Meanwhile several Americans, began asking for my assistance to make contact with Piantelli.
Piantelli declined Rossi's offer to collaborate. Rossi approached Focardi, who had given up research at the time and was eager for a second chance.
"I received a phone call from Rossi to speak together about a problem, and from the meeting that we had after the phone call, I understood that Rossi was bringing new ideas in the field and it was worthwhile to work together," Focardi said. "I understood that the problem of getting reactions had been resolved. Just from the first experiment that we made together, I understood the problems had been resolved."
On Jan. 13, 2011, Focardi told the Italian media that he made "cold fusion" a reality. I was skeptical but open-minded. But, on Feb. 23, when technology journalist Mats Lewan, who has a degree in physics, published his report of an 18-hour water-only test performed by Giuseppe Levi, a physics professor at the University of Bologna, I began to change my mind. When Lewan reported on April 6 that two Swedish physicists had conducted independent verifications of Rossi's claim, I became more convinced. I booked my flight to Italy on April 17. But I still knew very little about the device or how it worked. Lewan's article "Ny Teknik Tested the Energy Catalyzer" on May 2, increased my confidence in the reality of Rossi's claim even further.
In the days leading up to my site visit, I began asking Rossi and Levi detailed questions about the experimental design and their data. But they had no answers or data for me. I became concerned, but I hoped things would get better once I met with them in person. Things didn't get better. I also drew a schematic before I got to Italy and asked Rossi to confirm its accuracy once I met with him.
Levi gave excuses for not having data for his 18-hour experiment. When I interviewed Rossi on camera on June 15, 2011, I had to explain to him what a control experiment was. When I asked him to explain his "discovery" to me, he couldn't, and he contradicted himself several times in his attempt. (Rossi Interview Transcript Excerpts)
Rossi unintentionally refuted his own claim on June 14, 2011, when he showed me his experiment as I was filming his demonstration in an industrial garage. (The Failure of Rossi’s Energy Catalyzer, Caught on Video). The steam flux exiting his device looked no greater than the amount and rate of steam expected from the electrical power he was feeding into the system.
As the diagram below shows, even if Rossi showed a visibly large flux of steam exiting his device (he didn't) and even if Rossi's steam expert used an instrument that was capable of measuring steam (he didn't), the design of Rossi's E-Cat provides a simple way for Rossi to feed unvaporized water down the drain and thus deceive observers.
Rossi's E-Cat is designed to feed unvaporized water down the drain and thus deceive observers who fail to notice the lack of a high flux of steam output.
Videotape shows Rossi emptying the hose and dumping water down the drain. The screen images below are from my video of Rossi's demonstration on June 14, 2011.
Rossi prepares to remove the hose from the drain hole in the wall to show the steam output.
Rossi drains water out of the hose before he removes it from the drain hole.
Rossi shows a trivial amount of steam against the backdrop of Levi's t-shirt. Rossi puts the hose back in the hole quickly because he knows that more hot water will soon come out of the hose.
Two months earlier, on April 28, 2011, another journalist caught Rossi on video playing with the input power controls when he should not have been. (The Failure of Rossi’s Energy Catalyzer, Caught on Video).
Until June 15, 2011, I had kept an open mind about Rossi's claim. He had been eager for my visit; he offered to pay for my flight and drive several hours to Milan to pick me up. I turned down his offer. In the two days I was there, we had a friendly, cordial relationship. At the end of my interview with him, he complimented me on my work and professionalism. He had been hospitable, gentlemanly and generous with his time. I recorded these sessions on video.
But I saw no evidence of Rossi's claim of extraordinary levels of excess heat. He showed me no scientific data from previous experiments to support the claim. He seemed to have a poor understanding of steam and the proper devices to measure steam. There was no laboratory, just a few wooden benches and some folding tables and chairs. As it turns out, Rossi's steam expert used a device that was incapable of measuring steam. Worse, the only visible steam was the equivalent of that produced by a tea kettle on low power. I wrote and published my first preliminary report the next day. It was the first time that any journalist had written anything critical about Rossi's Energy Catalyzer device.
Three days later, Rossi was no longer the gentleman he had been. He began calling me names and making public threats that he and his colleagues were taking legal action against me. Neither Rossi nor his colleagues sent any legal letter to me.
Throughout 2011, Rossi sought credibility for his claim of extraordinary levels of excess heat through scientific and academic validation. In 13 attempts, he and his group tried to demonstrate convincing experimental evidence for their claims. In all attempts, he and his group failed. They have no experimental evidence on which to base their extraordinary-energy claim. They never did.
The timeline of Rossi's story contains an extensive record of his factual inconsistencies and contradictions. (Master Timeline) However, after several years of declarations and promises, neither Focardi nor Rossi has provided either convincing scientific evidence or a device that the public can purchase.
The results of my investigation are here: http://newenergytimes.com/v2/sr/RossiECat/Andrea-Rossi-Energy-Catalyzer-Investigation-Index.shtml
Rossi had found natural allies among a group of scientists who had been fighting a losing battle for two decades to get the world to believe in their idea of "cold fusion." One of the more prominent of these scientists had even played around with data in order to give the appearance that "cold fusion" was real. (Michael McKubre's "M4" Experiment) Rossi also spent time building a fan base through his blog. Most of these Energy Catalyzer fans are good people who simply want to see a better world, a world fueled by clean energy. Unfortunately, they invested tremendous hope in Rossi without first demanding credible scientific evidence.
However, legitimate researchers are working in the field of low-energy nuclear reaction research.
Steven B. Krivit
Publisher and Senior Editor, New Energy Times
October 11, 2012