October 12, 2014 – By Steven B. Krivit –
In a document recently circulated on the Internet, collaborators of Andrea Rossi, a convicted white-collar criminal with a string of failed energy ventures, have again tried to establish credibility for the device that Rossi calls his “Energy Catalyzer,” or “E-Cat.”
His collaborators said that they performed an independent test, despite the fact that Rossi’s hands were all over the device. It’s been a while since New Energy Times has written anything on this topic, so this latest claim offers an opportunity to review the broader situation for newer readers.
Most of the authors of this latest document have been collaborating with Rossi for several years. With one exception, the authors are the same as those in a 2013 document that New Energy Times discussed in our news articles “Rossi Manipulates Academics to Create Illusion of Independent Test” and “Scientific Ethics of E-Cat Promoters Questioned.”
New Energy Times covered Rossi’s claims extensively in 2011 and, after several months of investigation, visiting the empty garage that Rossi called his laboratory and interviewing him and his key collaborators, determined that his claim lacked scientific credibility.
In July 2011, we published “Report #3: Scientific Analysis of Rossi, Focardi and Levi Claims.” The 200-page report included scientific and engineering analyses from 20 independent experts. The following month, we condensed that report into two pages.
A few weeks later, we distilled our findings into four sentences: ” In a seven-month period, the Rossi group sought credibility for its claim of extraordinary levels of excess heat through scientific and academic validation. In seven public attempts, the group tried to demonstrate convincing experimental evidence for its claims. In all attempts, the group failed. It has no experimental evidence on which to base its extraordinary energy claim.”
Rossi responded to our and other scientific critiques, saying that he didn’t need scientific validation and that he would go directly into commercial production of a working 1 MW reactor.
He wrote on his blog, “We have already passed the phase to convince somebody. We have arrived at a product that is ready for market. Our judge is the market. In this field the phase of the competition in the field of theories, hypotheses, conjectures etc. is over. The competition is in the market. If somebody has a valid technology, he has not to convince people by chattering, he has to make a reactor that works and go and sell it, as we are doing.”
A year later, on Feb. 17, 2012, he wrote on his blog, “In Autumn we will surely send the detailed offers to all the horde of pre-orderers. The deliveries will start hopefully within the next winter, surely within 18 months.”
The drama surrounding Rossi’s proclamations about a working 1 MW reactor available for purchase soon escalated. (See articles “Rossi E-Cat Never Delivered To Customer; Needs Gaskets” and Rossi Blames E-Cat Delivery Discrepancy on Translation Error.”) There is no evidence that Rossi has produced and delivered a single working commercial reactor.
The New Energy Times Web page Andrea Rossi Energy Catalyzer (E-Cat) Master Timeline is a useful resource for anyone who wants to develop a deeper understanding of the history of these claims and the people associated with them.
In the latest document, Rossi’s associates present two sets of data. The first is a set of isotopic shifts that supposedly occurred as a result of the experiment. The second set of data purports to measure excess heat from which the authors extrapolate evidence for nuclear-scale energy release.
What is novel about this recent document by Rossi’s collaborators is that they claim that the reactant material used in this experiment showed isotopic changes as a result of the experiment. If this were the case, this would be very strong evidence for a nuclear reaction.
This is not the first time that Rossi or his collaborators have attempted to assert isotopic changes as evidence for the E-Cat. In 2012, the Laboratory for Isotope Geology in the Swedish Museum of Natural History performed an analysis on Rossi’s reactant material but found no significant changes.
The authors of the latest E-Cat document assert that their test was carried out independently of Rossi.
“Since we required that our measurements be carried out in an independent laboratory with our own equipment,” the authors wrote, “the experiment was purposely set-up and hosted within an industrial establishment which was not in any way connected with Andrea Rossi’s businesses or those of his partners. The test was thus performed in Barbengo (Lugano), Switzerland, in a laboratory placed at our disposal by Officine Ghidoni SA.”
Tommaso Dorigo, writing for Science20.com, pointed out two glaring problems with the current claim. It was not independent and, as Dorigo astutely noticed in the document, Rossi’s hands were all over the experiment. Rossi turned it on, turned it off and, most crucially, inserted and removed the reactant — the samples for the alleged isotopic changes — before and after the experiment. Here is the relevant text from the document:
“The dummy reactor was switched on at 12:20 p.m. of 24 February 2014 by Andrea Rossi who gradually brought it to the power level requested by us,” the authors wrote. “Rossi later intervened to switch off the dummy, and in the following subsequent operations on the E-Cat: [powder] 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.”
The authors failed to remain in full control of the material they tested. The samples they sent for testing could have come from anywhere.
Despite the fact that Rossi abandoned his attempt to obtain scientific credibility years ago in favor of delivering a commercially available reactor that has yet to materialize, he has gone back to seeking scientific validation. It’s been four years; there is still no truly independent scientific confirmation of Rossi’s claim.
Questions? Comments? Submit a Letter to the Editor.
To the Editor:
Hello Mr. Krivit, did you happen to see this rather scathing criticism of this supposed ‘independent’ test uploaded by a couple of Swedish guys?
Oct. 13, 2014
To the Editor:
The biggest problem was that Rossi terminated the calibration below 500 degrees C. They have no calibration above that temperature. If they continued it would have shown the same ‘ apparent excess’. It was an unconscionable process not to go to 1400C.
UPDATE: Oct. 16, 2014
Check out this blog post by Uppsala University physicist Stephan Pomp. After we published our article, Pomp noticed that on Oct. 11, Rossi had offered an explanation as to why Rossi’s previous isotopic analysis showed nothing. According to Rossi, the samples he gave to Sven Kullander in 2011 were, in short, bogus, though Rossi offered a more complicated explanation. According to Rossi (now) he had warned Kullander (then) about the problems with the samples. Yet, curiously, Kullander proceeded with an analysis as if he thought the samples were legitimate. Now, three years later, when Kullander is no longer alive, and Rossi is now trying to put forward new claims of alleged isotopic changes, Rossi writes that he had told Kullander the 2011 samples were bogus.