Oct 112012

Andrea Rossi. Image courtesy Mats Lewan

Oct. 11, 2012 – By Steven B. Krivit –

In 2011, Andrea Rossi, a convicted criminal with a string of failed energy ventures in his past, sought media attention and credibility for a device he said could produce extraordinary levels of low-energy nuclear reaction-based excess heat. To a certain degree, his device appeared to copy the work of Francesco Piantelli. Piantelli is a retired professor of physics from the University of Sienna in Italy and has a long history of credible, published LENR research.

On June 14 and 15, 2011, I was in Bologna, Italy, interviewing Rossi and filming his Energy Catalyzer device. I also interviewed his colleague, Sergio Focardi, professor emeritus at the University of Bologna Physics Department, whom Rossi had befriended. I also interviewed Giuseppe Levi, a professor of physics at the University of Bologna.

I have just published transcript excerpts from my video interviews of Rossi, Focardi and Levi. We produced these transcripts many months ago with the help of several New Energy Times readers, but I had forgotten to publish them until now.

In the transcripts, I have interspersed some contextual comments in an effort to convey additional understanding of the interview discussions, as well as my perceptions during the interviews.

Focardi  (Click here for transcript excerpts)
In the video interview, it became clear to me that Focardi was not familiar with many details of the claimed work. Regardless, he had apparently accepted everything that Rossi had told him. Focardi was quoted on Jan. 13, 2011, in an Italian newspaper saying that he had made cold fusion a reality, as a result of his work with Rossi. Focardi was very proud of what he thought was his major achievement in the history of science.

In my interview with him, Focardi did not initially want to go on camera alone. He said that his English was not good enough. His video interviews with other journalists show that his command of the English language was sufficient. During my interview with him, Focardi allowed Rossi to take liberties in his English interpretation of Focardi’s responses. As the transcript shows, Rossi also did not accurately translate some of my questions to Focardi.

I have no doubt that Focardi played an important role in the legitimate scientific research performed with his former colleague and friend Francesco Piantelli. Nothing that Focardi told me during the interview gave me any reason to believe that he contributed anything of significance to Rossi’s Energy Catalyzer concept.

Levi  (Click here for transcript excerpts)
In the weeks preceding the interview, I had begun to ask Levi for scientific data so I could be better prepared for the interview. He consented to the interview, but he did not provide me with any scientific data in advance. As the date of my trip approached, I made numerous direct attempts by e-mail to schedule a time and place with Levi for the interview. I had wanted to conduct the interview in his office, in an environment that was independent of Rossi.  Levi declined my request to interview him at the university and we conducted it in Rossi’s industrial garage.

Levi seemed to be entirely honest with me in the interview but very frustrated. Even before the public demonstration on Jan. 14, 2011, before Levi had performed his own tests, Levi had accepted Rossi’s claim. Even when Levi did his own tests, he did not see the massive amount and rate of steam that should have come out of the device, had Rossi’s claims been valid. Levi’s hope for Rossi’s claim to be true allowed Levi to see what was clearly not visible and would have been visible. Levi did not realize that he did not see a geyser of steam. When I asked Levi in the interview about his data, specifically questions about the steam-quality measurements, he became defensive. He knew that he did not have the data he should have had before organizing a public demonstration, holding a press conference, and making claims to reporters.

Rossi  (Click here for transcript excerpts)
At 1 minute 16 seconds into my interview with Rossi, he claimed he had begun his LENR experiments as soon as “cold fusion” discoverers Martin Fleischmann and Stanley Pons made their public announcement in 1989. Nobody in the LENR field knew Rossi until a few years ago. Rossi has no record in the field before a few years ago. And his answers were partly illogical and partly self-contradictory. Within 5 minutes, it became clear to me that Rossi was making up his answers. My in-line comments in the transcript explain in greater detail.

When I asked him about his moment of discovery, Rossi initially gave me a one-sentence response.

“I burned a finger,” Rossi said.

I asked him for a better explanation. He stammered as he attempted to answer my question in more detail. A serious problem with his response became evident: It says nothing about what he did or what happened; there is no discovery, only a “burnt finger.” Additionally, there is a contradiction: Rossi said that he discovered the “key factor” of “pressure” in 1992 or 1993. Yet he also said his “moment of discovery” was in 1997. And throughout most of 2011, he told everyone that the key to his discovery is the “secret catalyst.” Rossi discovered nothing.

Despite the logical failure of many things Rossi said and the strong appearance that he was making up a lot of his answers on the spot, he appeared calm, comfortable and confident.

This explains a great deal about how Rossi was able to get as far as he did with his Energy Catalyzer. It also explains how Rossi was able to get as far as he did with his earlier energy project, in which he attempted to turn industrial waste into fuel, his so-called Petroldragon incident.

Luigi Acerbi, the mayor of Lacchiarelli, Milan, Italy, in a May 5, 2011, Italian state television broadcast on RAI News 24, recalled Rossi’s Petroldragon and wondered how Rossi did his magic.

“In the years when [Rossi] was working here,” Acerbi said, “he didn’t produce a single drop of oil, as far as we know. What he did was creating just a media event. He was able to persuade — in a way that I cannot explain — a good portion of public opinion, and that’s exactly what is hard for me to explain. He persuaded technicians in the field, scientists and important institutions, [inaudible] the region of Lombardia that he was able to do magic.”

For more information on this topic, please see the Andrea Rossi Energy Catalyzer Investigation Index.

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