Second HotCat Test Report – Updated

Update 22 Oct 2014:

Thank you to everyone who has contributed to the debate. Rossi continues to deliver even if it is not what he promised. Despite many sceptics deriding the man as a third rate showman, I tip my hat to his ability to keep this show going.  It is too easy to label anyone in his camp an idiot. That would apply to too many otherwise intelligent scientists. There are many lessons here but most of them revolve around human nature. We can pore over the minutia  of the report but the lack of genuine third-party scrutiny makes me suspect foul-play. Rather than provide clarity, he has once again failed to step up to the mark.

After all this time and solely as a nod to all those otherwise intelligent beings, I cannot proclaim this a fraud with certainty. However, I do lament the waste of all that talent. A child could prove that this is real and an independent lab under NDA could take a prep’d and sealed tube and attest to its reality without compromising the IP. The latest test appears to be designed to convince someone but I doubt the target is the scientific community. Without the ability to replicate, too much has to be taken on trust – something Rossi forfeited many lies ago.

The warning on this site still stands.

End Update

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The long-awaited 2nd HotCat report is now available, although there appears to be some delay or problem holding it from arXiv.
It is lengthy and as is my usual practice, the aim is to report its appearance ASAP to let others discuss it. It is a pity that it appears to have been conducted by the same researchers – for no other reason that if there was any doubt about the veracity of the first report, that would have been mitigated by the performance of new actors.

According to the abstract, the test was performed over a period of 32 days and the fuel examined before and after for isotopic changes. Recording significant energy release beyond the capability of chemical reactions for the volume and significant isotopic changes, the authors declare the test a success. It will take some time to study and do it justice but I look forward to the more capable among us giving their initial impressions. While I sympathize with the disappointment regarding a lack of ‘fresh blood’ to the fight, please refrain from making unjustified attacks on those involved. I have no doubt that the material itself will provide enough meat for criticism. Make it constructive.

[[With thanks to Frank in the comments section]]

Professor Bo Höistad Answers Critics

Following the negative critique given to the Levi HotCat paper, the Italian magazine, IB Times, conducted an interview with Bo Höistad, one of the seven members of the test team and signatory to the paper. This is an appropriate choice because Ericsson and Pomp are Nuclear physicists at Uppsala. As a peer at the same establishment, Höistad is understandably miffed at the criticism and takes a pot-shot at them in return for their unprofessional attack. I have some sympathy for this. While they made some valid points it was obvious that their own paper was full of non-scientific observations reflecting their determination to find fault.

There is little new information but it is interesting to see Höistad come out fighting and standing by their findings. He does confirm that one of Rossi’s technicians started the eCat but otherwise he and Rossi left them to it. One other interesting snippet is that it is true that they did not get to see Rossi’s surgery to remove the’fuel’ but in his opinion this did not effect their conclusions because the results were in excess of ‘any’ known chemical fuel.

The article is here and the following is a Google translation:

There is no peace for Andrea Rossi and his E-Cat. The publication of the now famous independent third-party testing on the E-Cat high temperature seemed to represent a turning point in the story starring the Italian engineer and his creature, which promises to revolutionize the world of energy.

But even the new test came in the middle of strong controversy, carried out by an article made ​​by Professors Goran Ericsson and Stephan Pomp, nuclear physicists at the University of Uppsala, which is highly critical of the test and puts openly questioned the results.

The criticism of Ericsson and Pomp – Published on arxiv.org , the platform of Cornell University on which they were made public also test the E-Cat, in their report Ericsson Pomp and question the real independence of the testers noting that some of them had already participated in previous demonstrations organized by engineer Rossi. Is also criticized their own qualifications to perform these tests because they do not have adequate preparation for the test to “black box.”

Ericsson Pomp and wonder how testers can be assured that inside the reactor there is nickel and hydrogen if they have not been able to open.

Furthermore, the same reference to “trade secrets” about the “fuel” the reactor brings down a veil of shadow over into the real operation of the reactor itself overshadowing the possibility that it could be used a second source of energy.

This accusation stems from the fact that Ericsson Pomp and do not share the choice to perform the tests in the laboratories Leonardo Corporation made ​​available by engineer Rossi. The two scientists also point out that in both tests the reactors were put into operation by authorized personnel by engineer Rossi and not by testers themselves.

Regarding the measurements, according to Ericsson and Pomp, the December test must be invalidated because no data have been reported on emissivity. For the test in March, the two critics claim to have been able, through the COSMOL (a simulation tool used in physics) to replicate the same results without the involvement of any abnormal heat. The two critics consider that there is no data were provided on the reactor outlet (“dummy”).

Test indipendente
Independent test

The conclusions of the report of Ericsson and Pomp were harsh: accuse their colleagues have done prevail their hopes on the scientific rigor and, based on all the observations reported prior, express the conviction that no truly independent test was performed on the E -Cat. Ericcson Pomp and therefore conclude that neither the test published on Arxiv or elsewhere has never been proven to be a “abnormal production of energy.”

The answer of Professor Bo Höistad – This is clearly a very heavy report in which, not only doubt is cast on the operation of the E-Cat, but also the reliability of the same scientists who have carried out two tests in December 2012 and March 2013 so as to explicitly accuse them of having followed a typical method of “pseudo-science”, that is to be skipped to extraordinary conclusions without first having sought explanations in traditional physics.

We therefore decided to contact Professor Bo Höistad, a nuclear physicist and professor at the University of Uppsala and one of the authors of the famous independent testing, to allow it to replicate and to explain its position on the target of criticism by Ericsson and Pomp.

IBTimes: Dear Professor Höistad, Ericsson Pomp and bring into question the independence of the tester, especially Professor Levi and Petterson. How do you respond to this charge?

Bo Höistad: First, let me point out that the article of Pomp and Ericsson is written with a provision very negative towards Rossi and tried to find all the possible arguments to support their idea that Rossi there is cheating. As a result they are very critical about our results tentatively positive. Their paper, instead of directly discuss our findings in a scientific manner, focuses on a number circumstantial issues that have no relevance to the primary outcome ie if our results are correct within the errors estimated. For most of us give different statements that are false. Also there are many deliberate omissions, unwarranted opinions and false claims. Finally, their article is written in a polemical style tended to insult and ridicule rather than bring clarity to a complex scientific controversy.

On the question of independence, is an obvious contradiction that the result of our measurements may be rejected only because one of our authors (Levi) and Rossi know. Our result should be judged on scientific grounds and not on the basis of insignificant relationships.

IBTimes: In the report of Ericsson Pomp and it is also said that neither she nor the other authors of the study have the appropriate skills to carry out a test “black-box”. Is that so?

Bo Höistad: How researchers in experimental physics, chemistry and radiology with a long experience in advanced techniques of high precision our expertise is evident. It should be noted that both Ericsson Pomp that are nuclear physicists, while our group includes a much broader field of science.

IBTimes: We come to criticism “technical”, the fact that the tests were carried out in the laboratories of Leonardo Corporation puts into question in any way the results published by you and your team?

Bo Höistad: We used our experimental tools. Rossi has only provided his E-Cat reactor with its electrical box. It also allowed us to use his laboratory we have carefully inspected before testing. Rossi was not involved in the test in any way. One of his technicians helped us to operate the E-Cat, but then did not take part in any way to the measurements.

IBTimes: The report some questions that are addressed in the study. As you know that inside the reactor is nickel and hydrogen because you could not open it? Because the reactor was put into operation by technicians assigned by Rossi?

Bo Höistad: We were there when Rossi emptied the reactor fuel, although we have not seen him doing it. We have also implemented a fuel analysis after the operation of the reactor. But strictly speaking we can not be 100% sure that the fuel that we have analyzed is the same that was present in the reactor. However, this has no relevance to the main result of the measurement that has produced a large excess heat compared to the combustion chemistry of ANY substance (see story)

IBTimes: What can you tell us about the “fuel” and “trade secrets” that surround him? Is it really possible – as suggested in the study by Ericsson and Pomp – which has been used a second source of energy?

Bo Höistad: If you are referring to some form of hidden energy to cheat, we have made ​​every effort to unmask an agreement of this kind.

At this point of our investigation does not make sense to make assumptions about the nature of the excess heat produced by the reactor fuel. In particular, any hypothesis on the prevalence of a nuclear reaction is understandable only if a nuclear transition can be localized, and so far has not been so.

Note that we communicated in the “Indication of anomalous heat energy production in a reactor device containing hydrogen loaded nickel powder” (the title of the third-party testing, ed), and our results should certainly be controlled by more comprehensive studies. Our current results are interesting enough to continue these studies. Presumably there is still a long way to go before we can confirm or deny the operation of the E-Cat reactor (I made this observation to the Swedish newspaper Ny Tekink, New Technology, and Ericsson and Pomp know).

IBTimes: How do you respond to criticism on the measurements for both the December test for the March?

Bo Höistad: Their conjectures about the difference in the excess heat produced between the test in December and March are incorrect. Just look at our article.

IBTimes: Finally Ericsson Pomp and argue that in tests made ​​by you will encounter a typical attitude of pseudo-science, which is extraordinary steps quickly to conclusions rather than trying to find explanations in the physical standard. It is a very heavy criticism: How do you respond?

Bo Höistad: It is very unfortunate that Ericsson Pomp and resort to bad comments and mischievous. Accusing colleagues with a long and distinguished series of hundreds of scientific articles published in the most important international journals in physics be hired to pseudo-science is simply an insult severe and beyond any reasonable level of a decent academic behavior. Frankly speaking I am ashamed of having colleagues at the University of Uppsala that you refrain from personal attacks of such a low level.

Here the abstract and full text of the study of Ericsson and Pomp

Here the abstract and full text of the independent third-party testing on the E-Cat

[With thanks to Delio77]

 

ETA – OT for this post but worth highlighting that Cold Fusion Now points out that the US Navy (Pamela Boss et al) has been awarded a patent involving transmutation through LENR. I reserve comment until I’ve studied it except to say that it is an interesting development given that their lab was closed down. Of course, a patent guarantees nothing – even so; US Navy Granted Cold Fusion Patent makes for a good tabloid headline.

After scanning the patent, I see it is for generating particles as reported in reference to their earlier CR-39 results. As with all things LENR, these were attacked at the time (what’s new?). With an application date of 2007, it makes no direct claim for CF or LENR but it is there in f9rm and explicitly references many cold fusion papers and claims].

Levi et al eCat Paper Critiqued

A constant refrain among members of the LENR community is that papers are not accepted by traditional scientific journals. Subsequent criticism by the tougher sceptics citing lack of peer review as evidence for lack of credibility has therefore seemed circular to me. For that reason, I welcome any rational critique from members of the scientific community in a position to judge. Rather than shy away or act defensively, LENR advocates would do well to study and address the issues. When your work is being torn apart, it has (ironically) been taken seriously enough to warrant the time and effort taken to study it. This is the way of real science. Normally peer review is conducted behind the scenes and authors are given the opportunity to rebut criticism. Due to the public-facing nature of arxiv, we get to see behind the curtain.

I admit to being torn. I agree with many (but not all) of the criticisms levelled at Rossi and his ‘tests’ but abhor the often nasty tone in which some of the discussions are conducted. With all that in mind, the publication of a paper by two nuclear scientists from Uppsala University is a useful development. It appears to be dispassionate even as the conclusions fall against the claims made in the Levi HotCat test paper.

We have heard most of the arguments here and elsewhere. They come down to the lack of true independence, the non-neutral testing ground, Rossi’s imposed restrictions, missing data and apparent lack of rigor when taking measurements in an environment where trickery cannot be assumed absent. While all of this has some truth to it, unless you assume fraud or gross incompetence among all participants, the observations diminish the power but do not kill the paper. The authors at times seem to pick problems that (to my mind) demonstrate their determination to find fault. Instead of highlighting the problem with the December IR test (due to insufficient knowledge of emissivity) they seem to dismiss it completely. They also claim the November test worthless and go on to imply that you cannot perform a black box measurement of energy balance when the device has already been switched on. IMHO such nit-picking could diminish the power of their critique. It is unnecessary as they have some valid points to make and make them well.

In all the biting and scratching we see on the forums, it is common among certain pundits to assume guilt is proven simply by casting doubt. I am sceptical of Rossi’s claims but it is important to recognise that just because you show that fraud has not been excluded, you cannot claim this as proof of fraud. The tendency by some to claim that there is no evidence for Rossi’s claims demonstrates their lack of understanding of the word. There is no proof but when 7 scientists witness, measure and report such evidence, that in itself is evidence. Taken in combination with previous demos, we can see that evidence exists to take the eCat seriously even as we recognise that proof is far from sight and doubt a reasonable stance. To a scientist, it is as if a group of people visited a magician’s workshop to witness a woman sawn in half. They are allowed to measure everything except what lies beneath the two halves of the table. When they then write a paper explaining how they proved to themselves that the woman was indeed halved and yet lived, they had better be prepared to be taken to task. This is not personal but common sense given the nature of the miracle and the history of tricks in the sector.

In the case of Ericsson and Pomp’s paper, I believe they fell short of proving the Levi paper worthless but did well to catalogue the problems with it. To me, three interesting points are worth highlighting among others:

  • Given the Hydro Fusion input measurement controversy, why wasn’t every effort taken to prove the integrity of the input beyond reasonable doubt? In particular, if the purpose was to use science to lend business credibility to the claim, why not bring an expert specialising in electrical power measurement to the party (eg from an independent testing facility)?
  • The second point of interest (to me) relates to the claimed power density. Ericsson and Pomp wonder at the lack of comment regarding power density which, at approximately 100 times that of a commercial fission reactor, is so out of the park as to be worthy of special scrutiny. In this case, they (Ericsson and Pomp) take the extreme of 0.3 g as their Nickel fuel mass. Remembering that we are talking about a (claimed) unknown process, it is a little harsh to compare it to fission instead of fusion. Taking 1g as the mass and energies akin to that of fusion, we can easily take out a factor of ten. Even so, it is still worthy of note.
  • The final point worth highlighting here is that the shape of the thermal waveform can be reproduced by assuming resistive heating on its own (but not the claimed scale of output/input).

There is much more to be said but this post is already too long. It’s worth remembering that, as a defence lawyer might cloud the issue with reasonable doubt to free an innocent (or guilty) client, in science you are guilty until proven otherwise.  It is always easy to find fault but the truth is that The Seven were there and Ericsson and Pomp were not. Even as I hold on to my scepticism, I remain astonished by Rossi’s performance. Ericsson’s paper is useful but does not destroy Rossi’s game. They show the test was not perfect – fine, but let’s not assume fraud just because you can imagine it. Make no mistake; his is an incredible feat. He let a group of seven scientists study the beast up close and personal for nine days when he was not present and then they went on to proclaim the lady halved and yet alive. You have to respect that even as you shake your head in wonder.

 

[Edited to change title from 'Peer Reviewed' to 'Critiqued' as - while it is reasonable to mention the lack of peer review and welcome this as a useful cousin - it is also reasonable to argue that this is not 'Peer Review' in the accepted use of the term in the scientific world.]

Criticism From Peter Ekström

Many people are frustrated when critics voice their opinions regarding eCat tests and that frustration is evident in the case of the May 2013 HotCat paper. However, when answering why the paper was published on Arxiv instead of a peer-reviewed journal, Andrea Rossi stated that he saw Arxiv as a first step where the paper would have its initial airing (and so peer reviewed of sorts). Preparing a proper scientific paper will take time and in time, such a step may follow. In other words we – along with Rossi – should welcome peer review. With that in mind, I am grateful to Peter Ekstrom of Lund University for his take on the report. A long-time eCat critic, it is no surprise that he is not convinced. The following thoughts and any errors are my own but it seems to me that Ekstrom’s justified observations are further coloured by his preconceived conclusions and embellished to amplify the result he expects.

He starts by pointing out that the test was not truly independent:

This report is advertised as an indipendent (sic) test of the functionality of Andrea Rossi’s E-Cat. Rossi  has arranged a series of demonstrations of different versions of E-Cat since January 2011. The common feature is, however, that the demonstrations are completely under Rossi’s control, and that “testers” are very limited in what they are actually allowed to check.

While previous tests have been completely under Rossi’s control, this was not. True, by conducting it in his premises and setting the boundary conditions, he is limiting the tester’s options. However, this should not necessarily void a black box procedure.

It is very clear from the report that the authors had very limited control over the instruments and procedures used for the measurements. One even gets the impression that part of the report was written beforehand in Italian (by Rossi and Levi?):

The authors would like to thank …. Prof. Alessandro Passi for his patient work in translating the  text.”

According to Levi, they had full autonomy over the test and the equipment they used as long as they kept away from trying to examine the core itself and the control box.  The rest appears to be nit-picking.

In my opinion, the main purpose of the report is to prove that the output power is greater than the  input power. This purpose is not achieved.

Fair enough. Let’s see why:

Input power

The input power is measured with a PCE-830, which is probably a very sophisticated instrument, but  the authors do not provide an account of how the instrument was checked so that they knew it gave  correct values for the pulsed power input to the heating resistors. (In a test in September 2012 the  input power was shown to be incorrect by a factor of 2-3 [1]. A simple circuit diagram would have  made it clearer how the watt meter was connected. Moreover, the testers were not permitted to inspect the control box regulating the input power.

Although unable to look inside the box, they were allowed to pick it up (it was light) and check for hidden wires or other signs of trickery. Indeed, we are told by Torbjörn Hartman that he did exactly this. I do think it is reasonable to remind us that a potential investment involving Hydrofusion was pulled because their testers claimed erroneous input measurement. The story is here and the following is Google’s translation of the announcement:

Investor Group had instructed the SP Technical Research Institute of Sweden, to monitor the measurement, and the researchers who attended measuring an input electrical power that was two to three times higher than Rossi himself measured.

Despite this, Rossi presented a measurement report September 9 based on earlier tests where a lower input power and an energy surplus reported.

I have no reason to doubt the current authors’ ability to check the input power and hope that the above incident made them mindful of the need for extra vigilance in that area. In my opinion, it is something worth keeping in mind without jumping to negative conclusions.

Continuing with the Ekstrom critique:

Output power

The output power is calculated from the temperature measured with an IR camera using Stefan- Boltzmann’s radiation law. This creates an uncertainty since the emissivity is not known, and the temperature varies considerably in different parts of the cylinder.

The emissivity for stainless steel could have any value from 0.8 to 0.075 [2]. The lower value would  obviously yield a much lower net power, in fact it could easily make COP=1. Furthermore, the paint  used has an unknown emissivity

The emissivity value was used by the IR camera software to calculate the temperature and then again (in reverse) by the SB formula. While exact cancellation cannot be guaranteed, the difference is likely to be minimal. Indeed, in the March test, by using patches of known emissivity supplied by the IR camera manufacturer, this was checked and the difference was indeed small. Furthermore, spot checks were made with a thermocouple which compared well to IR temperature measurements within 2 Deg C.

Since a correct measurement of the output power is crucial to the functioning of E-Cat, a more  unambiguous method should have been employed. The E-Cat could have been cooled with water  (directly or indirectly) and the flow rate and input/output temperatures measured.

Perhaps, but I suspect we would simply have a whole different set of arguments to ponder. Few experiments are perfect but there is no reason this method should not work to an accuracy capable of measuring such dramatic power differentials.

Null test

In order to prove that the E-Cat works as claimed, it is very useful to perform a null test. This is done  during the March test. Obviously, the dummy and the real device should be as similar as possible,  and only the fuel (nickel, hydrogen, secret component) should be omitted.

“The electrical power to the dummy was handled by the same control box, but without the ON/OFFcycle of the resistor coils. Thus, the power applied to the dummy was continuous.”

The testers thus decided, for a reason known only to them, to change the power supply to the  resistor coils. In my opinion, this completely invalidates the test. The dummy run should have been  carried out with everything the same as in the test run, except the fuel. Presumably, it would then  have run at a significantly lower temperature.

I believe that the testers made no such decision. They ran the null test in the same manner but, since there was no excess heat, the thermostat did not trigger the on/off cycle seen in the charged version of the run.

“The scope of the present work is to make an independent test of the E-Cat HT reactor under  controlled conditions and with high precision instrumentation.”

It is disturbing that a local author is the main author in a so-called independent test. Furthermore,  there is very little description concerning the control of the measurement procedures by the  international authors. They also seem to have had very little say in the experimental procedures.

That a local author appears to have been the lead on the tests is not ideal and it is fair for a scientist already concerned about the validity of the results to question it. This should only be relevant in relation to perception, unintended bias (or over-trust) or direct complicity in fraud. The damage to perception will vary. I expect some business people will take it as a cautionary measure while those already sceptical will be unable to look beyond it. For my part, I am reassured somewhat by Hartman’s checks and by the involvement of the other authors. As for the charge of complicity in fraud (made elsewhere and not by Ekstrom) – that does not sit well. Giuseppe Levi is a respected member of Bologna University. I doubt he would involve himself in a deception bound to fall sometime in the near future.

“Later, an experiment [3] was carried out by S. Focardi and A. Rossi using an apparatus with a sealed  container holding nickel powder plus unknown additives pressurized with hydrogen gas. When the  container was heated, substantial heat was produced in excess of the input heat.”

This self-reference does not unambiguously show that excess heat was produced. The report is of  poor quality, and the physical interpretation of the nuclear process is seriously flawed.

I’m not sure of the point being made here. There is no self-reference. The report was not authored by Rossi or Focardi and the context was purely historical. Further, as Ekstrom himself admits, the point of the paper was to determine if excess heat was evident, not to determine the nature of any assumed nuclear process.

”It was not possible to evaluate the weight of the internal steel cylinder or of the caps because the  ECat-HT was already running when the test began.”

The weight of the cylinder is not that important, but it is crucial that the test team was present at  startup to check the functioning of the device. In addition, it is stated that the non-local members of  the test team were not present at the E-Cat HT test in December. Thus the December test is based on  hearsay, and of very little value as an independent test.

The determination of excess heat can be made without being present at startup. In this context, the criticism is somewhat harsh. I do agree that the absence of non local members in December reduces the value of any claimed independence but once more, I think dismissing it as hearsay (the lead author was present) and of little value takes things too far.

“The E-Cat HT2′s power supply departs from that of the device used in December in that it is no longer  three-phase, but single-phase: the TRIAC power supply has been replaced by a control circuit having  three-phase power input and single-phase output, mounted within a box, the contents of which were  not available for inspection, inasmuch as they are part of the industrial trade secret.”

The fact that the reactor itself was unavailable for inspection is acceptable, since it should be  possible to measure the net power provided by a “black box” (especially using blackbody radiation),  but the fact that the control circuit feeding electric power into the E-Cat was not open to inspection  is very disturbing.

I was initially concerned by this but Hartman’s subsequent description of his own inspection reduces that concern. It is unlikely that anything significant could be squirrelled away in order to sneak extra power beyond that measured before the box.

“The authors of the paper noted that they weren’t in control of all of the aspects of the process, but  they concluded that there was an energy production one order of magnitude higher than a  conventional source.”

This statement is self-contradictory. If the experimenters were not in control of all aspects of the  process, they can make no statement on the functionality of the device.

This is another overreach. In their opinion, the elements they had control of were enough to justify their conclusions. They take great pains to point out that, where uncertainty existed, they picked the most conservative assumptions. The apparent excess energy was so great that even if you assumed the whole volume of the reactor core was involved in the process and considering the fact that the tests were actively stopped while heat production was still in full flow, their conclusions do not contradict the statement of control.

“The weight that may be assigned to the powder charges? is therefore on the order of 0.3 g.”

A weight of the powder of 0.3 g would yield a power density of 533/0.0003 = 1.8*106 W/kg = 1.8  MW/kg. This is an enormous power density, and the nickel powder would presumably melt and be  rendered useless.

They make no assumption about the mechanism driving this process. It is a physical test with measurable outcomes.  If and only if the results are verified, theory will catch up and we can match fact to it. If they are not verified then the point is moot anyway.

“The most important element of the E-Cat HT was lodged inside the structure. It consisted of an AISI  310 steel cylinder, 3 mm thick and 33 mm in diameter, housing the powder charges. Two AISI 316  steel cone-shaped caps were hot-hammered in the cylinder, sealing it hermetically.”

It would have been interesting to have documented how the endcaps of the cylinder were hot- hammered in the cylinder with 0.3 g nickel powder floating around in a pressurised H2 atmosphere.  But this is obviously a trade secret.

We know little about the core but I believe the Hydrogen is in solid form and not a gas.

Only Levi and Foschi were present at the December test, but all authors apparently claim that they have complete control of the test. How was that achieved? Since this is not documented, the tests in November and December should not have been included in the report with the Swedish authors.

The observation is well made but we know by subsequent comment that this is a preliminary paper created to illicit fast feedback such as yours. With that in mind and to allow us to view the tests in context, it seems reasonable to combine them in one place.

It is strange that the COP (coefficient of performance) of E-Cat decreases from the December  test (COP=5.6) to the March test (COP=2.9). One would expect the device to become more  efficient with time. Is this because the measurement procedure in the March test was more accurate? Maybe one could then expect COP=1 for an even more sophisticated  measurement?

The authors state that the March device was of a different design. This seems reasonable in an ongoing R&D situation. If the November HotCat melted, perhaps control was more important than output at that stage of experimentation. It is purely my guess, but it seems that the inventor did not design something for the authors but gave them what was on the bench at the time.

Plot 9 shows COP and the ON/OFF status of the resistor coils. Is it a coincidence that zero  feeding for two thirds of the time results in COP=3, but constant feeding would yield COP=1?

I noticed that too and it does make you pause to wonder. That said, if the input was measured correctly and proper measures taken to ensure no extra power was sneaked into the cylinder, then this is of no consequence.

If the results of the measurements are correct, it is obvious that some new physics is at play. The  complete lack of any kind of interpretation of the results in terms of physical theory is thus  surprising, to say the least. It is even more surprising that the authors have made no attempt to learn  what is going on by using efficient, high-resolution detectors (for instance germanium detectors).  According to the report, detectors were used, but the type was not specified, and no spectra were  reported.

As Ekstrom himself stated, this was about measuring excess heat. I have no idea why he thinks they should have made it about something else, particularly as we know there were limitations put upon them by Rossi. In a black box test, these limitations are reasonable when we consider the commercial implications if this turns out to be true.

I would forgive anyone reading the above for thinking me an eCat believer. I am not. I am simply trying to strip away what I see as a natural (and often unintended) bias in so many of the critiques out there. This can diminish genuine concerns. I hope the authors continue to talk freely within the limits of any NDA they signed and correct anything we have got wrong. In my case, I would welcome such corrections.

To dismiss the HotCat report as of no consequence, I think you have to start from the assumption that the results are false and work backwards. I believe that there are unanswered questions and we have not reached the level of proof required to conclude that the world is about to change – but this report has made me sit up and take notice. Unless you are trying to make an investment call, there is no need to conclude one way or another. I fully understand why many people have jumped with both feet into the negative camp but suspicion and prior conclusions should not blind us to evidence. There is so much BS surrounding the eCat but to truly falsify this report without assuming fraud among its authors, is pretty hard to do.

We have been calling for an independent report for some time. While this falls short of the gold standard, you have to be determined to dismiss it completely. That on it’s own is a pretty impressive achievement.

 

 

Torbjörn Hartman Expands On eCat Test

One of the HotCat Paper authors, Torbjörn Hartman, has commented in more detail about the checks he personally made to reduce the chance of deception on the power input circuit. The following is a Google translation with some spelling corrections and with thanks to Jed Rothwell on Vortex who received the link from a Swedish journalist. It is good to see that Hartman approached the task with an appropriate level of caution and interesting to see that a reasonable amount remains. Even so, this is another small indicator that allows us to retain and build a measure of hope.

Remember that there were not only three clamps to measure the current on three phases but also four connectors to measure the voltage on the three phases and the zero/ground line. The protective ground line was not used and laid curled up on the bench. The only possibility to fool the power-meter then is to raise the DC voltage on all the four lines but that also means that the current must have an other way to leave the system and I tried to find such hidden connections when we were there. The control box had no connections through the wood on the table. All cables in and out were accounted for. The E-cat was just lying on the metal frame that was only free-standing on the floor with no cables going to it. The little socket, where the mains cables from the wall connector where connected with the cables to the box and where we had the clamps, was screwed to the wood of the bench but there was no screws going through the metal sheet under the bench. The sheet showed no marks on it under the interesting parts (or elsewhere as I remember it). Of course, if the white little socket was rigged inside and the metal screws was long enough to go just through the wood, touching the metal sheet underneath, then the bench itself could lead current. I do not remember if I actually checked the bench frame for cables connected to it but I probably did. However, I have a close-up picture of the socket and it looks normal and the screws appear to be of normal size. I also have pictures of all the connectors going to the powermeter and of the frame on the floor. I took a picture every day of the connectors and cables to the powermeter in case anyone would tamper with them when we were out.

I lifted the control box to check what was under it and when doing so I tried to measure the weight and it is much lighter than a car battery. The box itself has a weight, of course, and what is in it can not be much.

All these observations take away a number of ways to tamper with our measurements but there can still be things that we “didn’t think of” and that is the reason why we only can claim “indications of” and not “proof of” anomalous heat production. We must have more control over the whole situation before we can talk about proof.

Best regards,
Torbjörn

ETA – Hanno Essen Answers Questions

Swedish Company Endorses HotCat Report

One of the bodies funding the HotCat report – the Swedish Energy Research Organization, Elforsk – has issued a statement on its website, lending their name in a direct way to its credibility. This is a potentially significant development as it weakens the slurs trying to paint the testers as a small band of incompetents, dupes or fraudsters dancing to Rossi’s tune. While associating their name with the report, they fall short of ratifying it (I would expect nothing more). Even so, they obviously take it seriously and by extension, its authors. Attacking Levi et al seems to be a common theme among many commenters on various tech and scientific blogs. With luck, this will help steer us away from such facile arguments and concentrate on the paper itself.

The following is Google’s interpretation:

Swedish researchers have tested Rossi energy catalyst – E-cat

Researchers from Uppsala University and KTH Stockholm has conducted measurements of the produced heat energy from a device called the E-cat. It is known as an energy catalyst invented by the Italian scientist Andrea Rossi.

The measurements show that the catalyst produces significantly more energy than can be explained by ordinary chemical reactions. The results are very remarkable. What lies behind the extraordinary heat production can not be explained today. There has been speculation over whether there can be any form of nuclear transformation. However, this is highly questionable. To learn more about what is going on you have to learn what is happening with the fuel and the waste it produces. The measurements have been funded by such Elforsk.

Download the report here

 

[With thanks to commenter TheGhostofOtto1923 on PhyOrg]

This is the Company’s description of itself [Much more here:

Development through cooperation

Cooperation between electricity companies, manufacturing companies and public authorities is important for work within Elforsk. There are 800 places on Elforsk’s advisory and decision-making bodies. These places are occupied by experts from electricity companies, manufacturing industries, public authorities and other interested parties. Programme teams within Elforsk draw up the strategic approach for the programme area in question. New R&D programmes are launched when interested parties decide on funding based on offers from Elforsk. Under the agreed programme, the interested parties then decide how funding should be employed for specific activities during the programme. A key task for Elforsk’s staff is to ensure that decisions are implemented in time and with the required quality. Another, equally important task is, together with interested parties, to formulate new research programmes and implement the results from these so that they are of benefit. This approach creates effective cooperation between business and industry, society and the academic community.

 

HotCat Report – Thoughts And Criticism

With a day to consider yesterday’s HotCat report, the following is an update on my thoughts:

There are too many unknowns to be answered but the initial positive impression has survived a close reading of the paper. In purely scientific terms, people are right to be cautious and question the extent of its independence. This can be done without accusation. I await the assault that usually follows such tests but, by the relative silence so far, my guess is that specific debunking is taking more work than usual. Where this is in evidence, the reaction appears to be hurried and flawed.

An example of this follows cautiously positive comments from particle physicist, Tommasco Dorigo at Science 2.0. Currently working at CERN, Dorigo says he still opts for the eCat being a scam. However, he also admits to being impressed by the results and will follow the developing story with more interest.

To some, anything but absolute condemnation is confirmation that you are an idiot.

Luboš Motl, a Czech physicist, castigates Dorigo and tears apart the report. I have no problem with this. Such is the stuff of science and Motl might end up being substantially correct. However, it does appear to me that he has only skimmed the paper he accuses of sloppiness. Commenting on the use of unity as an approximation for the emissivity of the device, he points out that, rather than underestimating the final result, it overestimates it and on its own could account for much of the claimed excess power. However, the paper clearly states that in the December test, the approximation was plugged into the IR software to calculate the temperature from the measured colour map and that temperature was then used in the radiated power calculation. I am no expert and am ready to be proven wrong by someone who is, but it appears to me that since the emissivity would be used again in the actual  Stefan-Boltzmann formula, the net effect is minimal. Indeed, this is confirmed in the March test by using white dots of known emissivity supplied by the IR camera manufacturer.

My point here is not to slap Motl down but to demonstrate the tendency of smart people to read what they expect to find (this works both ways). I look forward to honest comment from scientists such as these and wish we would dump the habit of assuming someone an idiot because they are willing to admit a cautionary interest in wtf is going on.

With that in mind, I am encouraged by this paper and hope the coming analysis from mainstream scientists will be constructive even if it is critical . We are a long way from scientific proof but in business terms, I would not be surprised if this makes a few potential investors wonder if they should chuck some pin-money on the fire.

I’m not ready to abandon caution – I cannot dismiss the obvious lies and obfuscation surrounding this subject over the past two years and don’t think others should assume we have The Holy Grail. However, the report has definitely made me pause. I hope others do too. It is entirely possible to do so without switching off our brains and believing everything we are told.

 

[With thanks to Akira Shirakawa on Vortex]

HotCat Independent Report

The long-promised report on the HotCat has arrived. Far too early to draw conclusions, I have to admit to being surprised. Never have I longed to be proven wrong so much in my life. We are not there yet, but at face value, this appears to be a giant step in the right direction. Healthy scepticism of the scientific kind is still advised since there are, as yet, many unanswered questions. However, extreme sceptics cannot assume that Rossi is hiding the rabbit by micro-managing the tests. They are right to ask questions but they can no longer say that we are talking about a small, easily miss-measured effect, that the testers are idiots or that they have remained silent due to extreme embarrassment. Among them, Hanno Essen and Giuseppe Levi have much to lose amid a controversy fit for the 21st century. They know the impact of their conclusions and it is difficult to see how they could be substantially wrong.

Successful runs producing COPs of 5.6 and 2.6 were conducted (while running the device without the charge in place did not result in anomalous heat). At around four days continuous operation, short of illicit nocturnal recharges, it is difficult to see where the report writers could have made a mistake.

The report authors include working physicists, chemists and a radiation expert:

  • Giuseppe Levi – Bologna University, Bologna, Italy
  • Evelyn Foschi – Bologna, Italy
  • Torbjörn Hartman, Bo Höistad, Roland Pettersson and Lars Tegnér – Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden
  • Hanno Essén – Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm, Sweden

You can read the full report here.

More to follow after due deliberation.

Rossi Gives His Side Of HotCat Friendly Fire

Andrea Rossi says:

DEAR READERS:
TODAY A BIG MESS IS POPPED OUT FROM A SHORT MEASUREMENT THAT HAS BEEN DONE THE LAST WEEK. I REALLY HAVE DIFFICULTY TO UNDERSTAND WHY SOME PERSONS HAVE TOTALLY IGNORED WHAT I CLEARLY SAID IN MY PRELIMINAR STATEMENT IN THE REPORT PRESENTED IN ZURICH: I SAID THAT ALL THE DATA ARE NOT FINAL, THE VALIDATION, THE R&D, THE CERTIFICATION OF THE HIGH TEMPERATURE REACTOR ARE IN COURSE AND THE FINAL REPORT WILL BE RELEASED WITHIN MONTHS. NOW, A GUY COMES HERE (INVITED FROM US) MAKES SOME HOUR OF MEASUREMENT, GOES AWAY AND A WEEK AFTER MAKES A PRESS CONFERENCE LIKE HE HAS MADE A PROCESS OF VALIDATION THAT TAKES MONTHES: DOES THIS MAKE ANY SENSE? I AM VERY CONFUSED. ANYWAY:
THE EXTERNAL SURFACE OF OUR REACTOR IS 933 CM^2
THE TEMPERATURE WE REACH WHEN IT IS STABLE IS 1050 CELSIUS ON THE EXTERNAL SURFACE. THE GUY IS ESCAPED FROM US BEFORE THE REACTOR REACHED THE DUE TEMPERATURE SAYING HE HAD SEEN ENOUGH ( ENOUGH OF WHAT?).
THE MAX POWER OF THE RESISTANCE IS 8 kW
WITH THESE NUMBERS ONLY, THE ENERGY PRODUCED IS ABOUT 17 kWH/H, WITHOUT CONSIDERING THE ENERGY FROM THE INTERNAL CYLINDER (WHATEVER IT IS), THE CONVECTION ENERGY ( WHICH IS A LOT).
NOW: IN THE NEXT 2 MONTHS WE HAVE TO ARRIVE TO A PRECISE DETERMINATION OF THE MAXIMUM COP, BUT JUST FROM THESE VERY BASIC ANC CONSTANT NUMBERS ( INDIPENDENT FROM THE MEASUREMENTS OF AMPS AND OHMS) WE HAVE A COP AROUND 2.
THE ITER PROGRAM, TO MAKE ENERGY WITH NUCLEAR HOT FUSION, IS COSTED 100 BILLION OF EUROS AND GOT NOT EVEN 1.01 OF COP.
SO, WHAT ?
IN THE FINAL REPORT YOU WILL SEE A LIST OF MANY PROFESSORS AND ENGINEERS WHO ARE MAKING ALL THE NECESSARY MEASUREMENTS FOR MONTHS.
LET ME WORK, AND LET THE TEAM OF PROFESSORS AND ENGINEERS WHO ARE MAKING THE VALIDATION ANDE CERTIFICATION WORK. THIS TIME, ANYWAY, WE GOT FRIENDLY FIRE, IT APPEARS.
ANDREA ROSSI

[With thanks to Francesco CH]

HotCat Fail For Hydrofusion – Updated

Important Update from Mats Lewan of Ny Teknik at end of this post.

Hydrofusion, the company behind Andrea Rossi’s official web site at ecat.com (and his N European rep) has issued a press release indicating that it cannot support Rossi’s claims for the HotCat. As I always caution against jumping to positive conclusions on flimsy evidence, it is also too early to tell how significant this announcement is. The wording is curious. Some commentators think the press release is framed to distance the company from the claims while one individual claims that a minor technical glitch (ac input)  lies at the root of the failure. Started by a small group of Swedish scientists, Hydrofusion is uniquely placed to make a call one way or the other. They fully understand the controversy behind these extraordinary claims and must know that such a statement will be pounced upon as tealeaves to be read.

Press release

Hydro Fusion witnessed a new independent test of the high temperature ECAT prototype reactor on September 6th in Bologna. Although no full report has yet been received, early indications are that the results of the July 16th/August 7th reports could not be reproduced.

Hydro Fusion cannot at this stage support any claims made, written or other, about the amount of excess heat generated by the new high temperature ECAT prototype.

The timing is curious. Hot on the heels of his Zurich appearance, AR was keen to yell the following:

  • Andrea Rossi

    Dear Brian:
    It is necessary that I repeat the following statement:
    THE HOT CAT ( REACTOR AT HIGH TEMPERATURE) HAS NOT BEEN YET VALIDATED, BECAUSE THE TESTS AND THE MEASUREMENTS HAVE STILL TO BE COMPLETED, AND TO COMPLETE THEM WILL BE NECESSARY AT LEAST 2-3 MORE MONTHS. I SAID THIS IN MY REPORT IN ZURICH AND I REPEAT THIS HERE.
    THE PROFESSORS AND ENGINEERS WHO ARE MAKING THESE TESTS ARE SPECIALISTS AND THEIR WORK IS COMPLEX. FOR EXAMPLE, THE MEASUREMENT OF THE ENERGY CONSUMED HAS TO BE MADE IN A WAY THAT IS BEYOND ANY REASONABLE DOUBT, SO NOW WE ARE REPEATING THE MEASUREMENTS USING A VARIAC TO AVOID THAT ENERGY USED BY THE RESISTANCES IS NOT MEASURED BY THE VOLTMETER AND THE AMPEROMETER ( THIS IS AN EXAMPLE OF THE MANY ISSUES THAT ARE UNDER PROBE). THEREFORE IT IS ABSOLUTELY WRONG TO USE THE EXPRESSION ” THE ENGINEERS WHO PERFORMED THE PUBLISHED VALIDATION”, WHILE IS CORRECT THE EXPRESSION ” THE PROFESSORS AND THE ENGINEERS WHO ARE PERFORMING THE VALIDATION IN COURSE”.
    THE FINAL RESULTS WILL BE PUBLISHED IN A SCIENTIFIC MAGAZINE ONLY AFTER THE VALIDATION WILL HAVE BEEN COMPLETED.
    I AM RECEIVING FROM MANY PERSONS THIS QUESTION: ” IS IT POSSIBLE TO INVEST IN THE HOT CAT”? MY ANSWER IS: NO, IT IS NOT, BECAUSE THE REACTOR FOR HIGH TEMPERATURES IS NOT READY, IS NOT AS PRODUCT, IS A PROTOTYPE SUBJECT TO RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT AND I WANT NOT TO PUT ANYBODY AT RISK BEFORE THE HOT CAT IS NOT YET A PRODUCT. OF COURSE I BELIEVE IN IT, I AM INVESTING MY MONEY IN IT, BUT I WANT NOT TO PLAY FOOT BALL WITH THE BONES OF THE OTHERS.
    Warm Regards,
    Andrea Rossi

To be fair, he did say at the conference that these were preliminary results that required confirmation (even as he said he believed them). If we step back, however, I could not help but wonder why the inventor would arrive at the first meeting of licensees who are reported to have paid real money to ride this train and talk about anything but tangible business stuff. When he announced his million-unit factory, Autumn 2012 was touted as a target for results. What those results were to be is a little vague but most observers expected to see some sort of proof that such a project really does exist. Of course, although there has been no official announcement that his ‘plans’ have changed, it is not too big a stretch to guess that a lack of certification might put a damper on things.

On that subject, I read many people talking about the claimed certification for the 1MW plant. When referring to the CE label, it is important to note than in Europe, this can be done in-house. As long as you have a device that you can categorize on the list of official product descriptors (tv, fridge, boiler etc) you can stick the CE label on your product self-confirming that it conforms to requirements. Voila! It is certified. Rossi confirmed this during his talk on Sunday. He added that the company also requested external certification but it was not clear exactly what that entailed. He did point out that since the eCat does not use radioactive materials, does not produce any and the device does not radiate outside its enclosure, it falls under normal rules for conventional non-nuclear machines (such as microwaves and phones).

It was a curious talk and curiouser still that the audience did not tackle him on details such as roll-out plans. I can only guess that back-channel communications are being used for such commercial-in-confidence talk but nothing would surprise me in this ever-surprising saga.

Hydrofusion’s speedy press release may or may not be a warning shot of things to come. Leaks are beginning to appear as more and more actors come into play and one man finds it impossible to cover all bases. As is my refrain, it is always possible that we are reading the signals incorrectly – but the battleship does appear to be listing. I genuinely hope that our worries are unfounded and reserve the final leap for the upcoming promise of UniBo’s validation. If he delivers, nothing else will matter and, if not, I predict an eCat exodus.

[As an aside, it appears that Domenico Fioravanti, the engineer Rossi claims acted as the secret customer's rep at the 1MW acceptance test last October (and was outed as the source of the original HotCat leak) is also one of the engineers behind the latest HotCat tests. This was spotted by a vigilant e-catworld reader: Screenshot of filepath and the original HotCat file. Note the name 'Cures' at bottom left on pages 9 and 12.]

 

UPDATE

With thanks to Mats Lewan at Ny Teknik, he has just informed me that the Swedes have halted their eCat investment after the failed tests. The article is in Swedish but Google translates it well:

[Note that the currency is Swedish Kronor]

‘Swedish investment in E-cat halted after test’

http://www.nyteknik.se/nyheter/energi_miljo/energi/article3535258.ece

Google Translate:

http://translate.google.com/translate?sl=sv&tl=en&js=n&prev=_t&hl=en&ie=UTF-8&layout=2&eotf=1&u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.nyteknik.se%2Fnyheter%2Fenergi_miljo%2Fenergi%2Farticle3535258.ece

From that article:

Investor Group had instructed the SP Technical Research Institute of Sweden, to monitor the measurement, and the researchers who attended measuring an input electrical power that was two to three times higher than Rossi himself measured.

Despite this, Rossi presented a measurement report September 9 based on earlier tests where a lower input power and an energy surplus reported.

This is about as bad as it could get and may short circuit all other considerations if it is verified. The company stresses that the tests were for the HotCat but it is interesting to note that they are halting their investment [until further notice?]

[With thanks to Mats]