Krivit’s second report: Rossi evades scientific debate

For those who were wondering whether New Energy Times editor Steven Krivit was willing to burn his bridges with Andrea Rossi, the answer is an apparent “yes”. Krivit’s first report provoked a heated response from Rossi, who accused him of industrial espionage on behalf of an Italian competitor. Krivit’s second report, recently released, will likely do nothing to assuage Rossi’s feelings.

Krivit’s overall judgment on the E-Cat is that there could be “something real” about it, but that the “claimed quantities of excess heat have been exaggerated, possibly by as much as two orders of magnitude.” Krivit does not explain this claim in detail in this particular report, however, deferring such technical details until a later report, but he does summarize his technical concerns with the testing of Rossi’s device:

  1. Analytical error: possible mathematical error based on the assumptions of the energy capacity of the steam.
  2. Procedural error: possible use of an incorrect measurement instrument.
  3. Analytical error: possible failure to correctly interpret a signal from the experiment that is clearly visible using only the naked eye that was apparent during the experiments.

Instead, Krivit’s second report is mostly devoted to pointing out Rossi’s lack of scientific qualifications and what Krivit regards as his misuse of those who have such qualifications to bolster his own credibility, while at the same time attempting to evade the scientific debate that naturally arises as a result of his claims. In particular, Krivit is frustrated by the unwillingness or inability of the scientists closest to Rossi to provide specific details on the results obtained from the E-Cat tests.

Rossi, on the other hand, keeps himself busy responding to questions on his website, the Journal of Nuclear Physics, but either avoids or gives evasive answers to questions about results or experimental design, often simply promising that he will have a 1 MW reactor available in October, and telling the questioners they will just have to wait till then. That is his privilege as a businessman and a private citizen, but Krivit expects more from the scientists whose expertise he has sought, and who lend him their support.

If Rossi thought Krivit was working on behalf of an “Italian competitor” before, he will certainly find confirmation for that suspicion in this report. First, Krivit notes the similarity between Rossi’s device and that developed by Francesco Piantelli (a colleague of Rossi’s partner Sergio Focardi) in the ’90s. (The primary differences are that the E-Cat allegedly uses a catalyst of some sort, known only to  Rossi, and that it uses nickel in nanopowder form. Piantelli used nickel rods in most of his experiments, although he did mention the possibility of using “metallic powder” in his 1995 patent application.) Second, Krivit reports on the work of three researchers in Naples who have shown him an experiment—and scientific-data he regards as promising. Whether these researchers have any connection to Piantelli—or, indeed, to cold fusion research—is unknown, but Krivit promises to report on their findings after he is finished with his reports on the E-Cat.

Related posts:

Mr. Rossi talks E-Cat by Ruby Carat June 21, 2011

Mr. Rossi calculates the E-Cat’s energy by Ivy Matt June 24, 2011

Mr. Rossi calculates the E-Cat’s energy

Steven Krivit, editor of the New Energy Times, has another video out from his visit to Bologna. In this video Andrea Rossi calculates the energy produced by the E-Cat used in his demonstration to Mr. Krivit.

To summarize the video, Mr. Rossi calculates that the total energy produced in the E-Cat is 4906.1 watt hours per hour. The total energy consumed is 770 watt hours per hour. Thus, according to Mr. Rossi’s calculations the E-Cat used in his demonstration achieved an energy output/input ratio of approximately 6.37. In hot fusion terms the E-Cat (the one used in this particular demonstration, at least) appears to have achieved Q =  6.37.

To put this claim in perspective, the Joint European Torus (JET) magnetic confinement fusion experiment achieved Q = 0.67 in 1997, which still remains the world record for fusion power in the high-energy plasma fusion realm. Right now the focus of hot fusion research is on achieving Q = 1, with somewhat less attention being given to the practical concerns of converting useful amounts of fusion energy into electrical power. Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory’s  National Ignition Facility (NIF) laser fusion experiment is currently expected to achieve Q = 1 next year. The only other hot fusion experiment for which such a claim is made is dark horse Lawrenceville Plasma Physics‘ Focus Fusion-1 (FF-1), which is hoped to achieve Q = 1 in a similar time frame. What is widely regarded as the safest bet for fusion power, ITER, isn’t expected to achieve Q = 1 until at least 2026, assuming the current schedule holds.

By contrast, cold fusion researchers have been claiming an energy output/input ratio of greater than 1 for years now, though not to the extent that Mr. Rossi has. Rumors are that Francesco Piantelli, a former colleague of Mr. Rossi’s partner Sergio Focardi, will be announcing a similar claim soon, but for now it looks like Mr. Rossi is in the lead. The next hurdles: the University of Bologna’s tests on the E-Cat and the Greek authorities’ tests on Defkalion Green Technologies’ Hyperion products. If Mr. Rossi’s device makes it through these tests successfully it appears the way will be open for the final test: customer opinion.

Related links

Mr. Rossi talks E-Cat. — Ruby Carat June 21, 2011

Defkalion internal tests

Defkalion Green TechnologiesA day after the press conference held by Defkalion Green Technologies S.A. there is still apparently no mention of it in the English-speaking mainstream media, the most prominent news outlet reporting on the event being Next Big Future.

Meanwhile, a company representative using the moniker Defkalion GT has begun answering questions on the company’s forum. In response to a question by forum member barbierir about Defkalion’s internal E-Cat tests, Defkalion GT answered that the company has conducted a large number of in-house tests on the E-Cat prototype over several months.

In addition, Greek authorities will be testing DGT’s Hyperion products for performance, stability, functionality, and safety during the first 10 days of July. The results of those tests will be released after the authorities certify the products. The results of any other third-party tests on the Hyperion products before the October launch will be announced by DGT and published on their website.

Low Energy Nuclear Revolution

A week ago Phizero s.r.l., an Italian developer of control systems for industrial automation, released “Low Energy Nuclear Revolution,” a 40-minute documentary on the E-Cat story. Today they’ve released a version with English subtitles.

The documentary briefly covers the history of cold fusion before going on to introduce some major players in the E-Cat story, though not Andrea Rossi himself. Those interviewed include professors Sergio Focardi, Emilio Del Giudice, Francesco Celani, Christos Stremmenos, and Giuseppe Levi, doctors Stefano Bagnasco and David Bianchini, reporter Angelo Saso, and author and blogger Daniele Passerini. The documentary gives a good look at some of the people most closely associated with Rossi, how they entered the cold fusion field, how they became involved in Rossi’s work, and what sort of evidence persuaded them that Rossi’s work was worth examining.

The documentary is narrated by Ing. Giacomo Guidi, a nuclear medicine researcher (and, one might perhaps assume, very familiar with the physics of nuclear reactions). According to Phizero the documentary is the “[f]irst part of a big work in progress.” The staff of 137 Films, the producers of The Believers, are mentioned in the credits, but what relation this documentary has to The Believers, if any, is not made clear.

Query interviews Giuseppe Levi

Query, the official journal of the Italian Committee for the Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal (CICAP), has a new interview with University of Bologna Department of Physics Professor Giuseppe Levi.

The interview covers New Energy Times journalist Steven Krivit‘s controversial visit to Bologna, written documentation of the university’s E-Cat tests, and the university’s new research contract with Andrea Rossi. Of particular note, regarding the contract:

“Then you have the freedom to publish your results, I guess.”

“Absolutely. This was of course a conditio sine qua non. In this part of the total freedom to publish results that are positive or negative. At the measures we are totally free to do so.”

Members of the University of Bologna research team conducting tests on Rossi’s E-Cat will include Professors Levi, Ferrari, Bonetti, Campari, and Villa.

(The interview in the link above is an English machine translation of the original interview in Italian, which can be found here.)

The Defkalion website is live

Defkalion Green TechnologiesOn June 23 Defkalion Green Technologies S.A. updated their website, replacing their placeholder page with a new, more professionally-designed site. Two items of interest on the new website are a description of DGT’s product line and a brief explanation of the science behind the E-Cat.

The small units will range from 5 to 30 kWh/h, and will be 55×48×35 cm (roughly 22×19×14″).
The larger 1 MW units will fit inside a 20×40′ (roughly 6×12 m) container.

Regarding the science behind the E-Cat, DGT has this to say:
“The science behind the E-Cat increases the probability of particles overcoming the electrostatic potential Coulomb barriers in order to penetrate the nucleus by the quantum mechanical tunneling effect, yielding in an exothermic reaction between Hydrogen and Nickel. By decreasing the surface upon which a given amount of pressure is exerted, the odds for the tunneling effect to occur are increased, allowing for higher penetrability of the Coulomb barrier.”

The second sentence is the key one, as it purports to explain how the Coulomb barrier is overcome. Whether this hypothesis was developed by someone at DGT (such as Prof. Christos Stremmenos), by Andrea Rossi, or borrowed from elsewhere is not made clear on the website.

Also of interest on the new website are a white paper and a forum. The 11-page white paper is the most significant update. There are a few inconsistencies between the white paper and the press release reported on earlier, particularly regarding the power output and introduction date of the kW-range product.  To briefly summarize the white paper:

  • There are two companies: Defkalion Green Technologies S.A., based in Athens, which controls the manufacture of the product; and Praxen Defkalion Green Technologies (Global) Ltd., based in Cyprus, which controls the contract with Andrea Rossi regarding his industrial secrets.
  • DGT’s product, called Hyperion, consists of an E-Cat, a hydrogen canister, and electronics inside a container (Hyperion Power Generation might have something to say about that name.) The smaller units will range from 5-30 kW in multiples of 5 kW, while the larger units will range from 1.15-3.45 MW.
  • Three factories will be built in Xanthi, Greece. The first is being designed for a maximum production capacity of 300,000 units (both kW range and MW range) per year. The second, scheduled for 2012, will be even larger. The third factory will produce the secret catalyst to be used in the products.
  • Production of the 1 MW Hyperion will commence in the first quarter of 2012. No date is given for the production of the kW Hyperion.
  • Hyperion products will come in six configurations, designated Series A through F. Series A and B will be kW-range electrical generators, Series C and D will be kW-range heaters, and Series E and F will be MW-range products. All Hyperion products will be remotely monitored by Defkalion.

Oddly, the white paper appears to claim that the nickel-hydrogen exothermic reaction at the heart of DGT’s product line is not cold fusion, LENR, or CANR. This is particularly odd, as the explanation of the science on the website is all about overcoming the Coulomb barrier. The Coulomb barrier is the electrostatic barrier that exists between positively-charged nuclei under normal conditions, so any reaction that overcomes the Coulomb barrier is by definition a nuclear reaction of some sort.

The establishment of a forum is an interesting move, and may be a good way to stir up excitement for the Hyperion product line. Much will depend on DGT’s moderating policies and whether company officers will actually engage with the forum members. Company participation in the forum appears to be minimal so far.