back to article COLD FUSION is BACK with 'anomalous heat' claim

Italian entrepreneur Andrea Rossi has surfaced again to restate his claim that his E-Cat low energy nuclear reaction kit puts out more energy than goes in. And so it is that the “cold fusion” debate will be re-ignited – this time with new voices in Rossi's corner. Giuseppe Levi and Evelyn Foschi (Bologna University, Italy); …

COMMENTS

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  1. Don Jefe

    No Brainer

    This doesn't seem like much of a conundrum to me. It will either work consistently and repeatedly or it won't. I'm betting on the latter. If it does in fact appear to work the man is a fool if he believes that he will be able to keep his "flux capacitor" a secret. Even if he has actually invented something fantastic no government is going to allow him to be the sole keeper of what might be a world changing technology.

    It would be fantastic if he had created this, it really would, but I figure my banana peel and coffee ground powered matter conversion system provides as much cold fusion as the E-Cat.

    1. Dazed and Confused

      Re: No Brainer

      > It will either work consistently and repeatedly or it won't. I'm betting on the latter.

      This should be easy enough to prove without needing to open up the box of tricks.

      Isolate the prototype Mk1 E-Cat, give it a measured input feed, and measure the output. How long can it keep it up? If it can continue to produce 2KW of output for an input of 306W then he's proved his case.

      (And I'll go and buy a hat just so I can eat it)

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: No Brainer

        >If it can continue to produce 2KW of output for an input of 306W then he's proved his case.

        Even if it goes chugga-chugga-chugga and smells of diesel?

        1. Dazed and Confused

          Re: No Brainer

          >>If it can continue to produce 2KW of output for an input of 306W then he's proved his case.

          >Even if it goes chugga-chugga-chugga and smells of diesel?

          Hence the need to seal the thing off and for it to continue to produce the energy. If it manages an hour or so its probably chemical. If it manages weeks? ... WTF is the diesel coming from :-)

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: No Brainer

            > If it manages weeks?

            How big is the box?

            The longer it goes on the more you can be sure he's got a good generator.

            To prove it's fusion you need to see what is in the box.

            1. Frumious Bandersnatch

              Re: No Brainer

              To prove it's fusion you need to see what is in the box.

              Not necessarily. If you seal the apparatus up and you have a really accurate scales (or a long enough time scale) to measure the mass of the thing, you should see a gradual reduction in mass. That would probably be enough to prove there's fusion going on. Or fission, but we have to take it at their word that there aren't any fissile materials in the box providing the extra energy output.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: No Brainer

                > ...but we have to take it at their word that...

                So, what you're saying is, that to actually know, you have to look inside the box.

            2. Ronny Cook

              Re: No Brainer

              > To prove it's fusion you need to see what is in the box.

              (1) Start with black box of mass M, and a lump of nickel+hydrogen of mass 2M. Put it all in a sealed box.

              (2) Run the machine until all nickel and hydrogen is consumed.

              (3) Analyse the output to confirm that you have a mass of 2M-E/c^2 worth of copper (where E is the net energy output of your device).

              Alternatively:

              (1) Start with the machine of mass M and fuel of mass m.

              (2) Calculate the maximum energy that can be generated via the most efficient chemical means known from mass M+m

              (3) Run the machine until net energy output exceeds this quantity.

              This would probably be faster, although admittedly it could disguise a fission or quantum process.

      2. GitMeMyShootinIrons

        Re: No Brainer

        "Isolate the prototype Mk1 E-Cat, give it a measured input feed, and measure the output. How long can it keep it up? If it can continue to produce 2KW of output for an input of 306W then he's proved his case."

        I'd agree he's proved his case (if it works), though were I a state regulator I'd be a little concerned about the 'industrial secret' catalyst he's using. Just what unobtainium is he using? Is it rare/expensive/dangerous? If so, he may have proved cold fusion, but at what cost/risk.

        It sounds nice, but is that the smell of Snake Oil in the air?

        1. Dave 126

          Re: No Brainer

          Okay, okay... if he doesn't want to open his black box to scrutiny, it could just be left running for a period of time with several independent assessors monitoring the power in and power out. The volume of the box is known. If the box continues outputting power for a period of time beyond what one would expect of a battery or fuel cell, it will become interesting and worthy of further consideration (even if 'all' he has created is a better battery, it would be noteworthy but not world changing)

          Until then, I'm assuming snake oil.

          1. Dave 126

            Re: No Brainer

            BTW, Dick Smith is ace! In the early 1980s he served as the conductor aboard a London double decker bus which jumped 15 motorcycles. He would later serve twice as chairman of the Australian Civil Aviation Safety Authority Board!

            His interview with broadcaster Philip Adams is wonderful, and hosted here:

            http://castroller.com/podcasts/LateNightLive2/3226855

          2. itzman

            Re: No Brainer

            could have a few pounds of radioactive muck inside it...decay heat etc etc.

      3. Ian Johnston Silver badge
        Thumb Up

        Re: No Brainer

        And measure it in several independent ways.

      4. Pet Peeve
        Boffin

        Re: No Brainer

        Clearly the only thing for it is to send one to an independent tester and let THEM build the test setup, but that's never going to happen, because it's a scam or self-delusion.

        if it's a scam, Rossi will know a real test will give the game away, and will make some claim that it would be giving away his TRADE SECRET (nondisclosure agreements are simply the tool of the illuminati, you know), and if it's self-delusion, his paranoia won't allow the device out of his hands.

        Would we all love this thing to actually work? Mostly yes, though if you have a universal energy source, you had batter have a universal energy sink too, unless you want to cook the planet. Does anyone with two synapses to rub together think this is a good investment opportunity? HELL NO.

        Please don't prove P. T. Barnum right and give this guy a cent of your money unless the impossible happens and he allows a real test. This is much, much, MUCH more likely to be another Steorn than any kind of energy breakthrough.

        1. AndrueC Silver badge
          Coat

          Re: No Brainer

          if you have a universal energy source, you had batter have a universal energy sink too, unless you want to cook the planet

          Nah. You just move your planet further out from the sun. Perhaps even take it on an interstellar voyage away from the centre of the galaxy. I'm sure I've heard of that before somewhere.

          Mine's the one with the Known Space novels in the pocket.

      5. itzman
        Happy

        Re: No Brainer

        I am sure it could continue..until the internal battery runs flat.

        But what use would cold fusion be? we want rampantly hot fusion to drive steam turbines.

        1. SonofRojBlake

          Re: No Brainer

          "we want rampantly hot fusion to drive steam turbines"

          Newsflash - water boils at just one hundred degrees C. Nuclear fusion typically happens at about one hundred MILLION degrees. We really, REALLY don't want it to be that hot.

          What would be nice is a fusion reaction that happens at about a thousand degrees - i.e. about a 100,000 times less than we currently know how to do it, and therefore comparatively "cold".

    2. Wzrd1 Silver badge

      Re: No Brainer

      Bleh, my device, constructed from chewing gum wrappers and bailing wire, held together in a proprietary manner via a trade secret method that involved the use of a Swiss Army knife generates millions of times more energy from nothing at all.

      Or was that a MacGuyver episode?

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: No Brainer

      I'd happily believe it was fusion without seeing what was inside the box IF certain things were shown.

      show me what goes in the 'box'

      show me what comes out the 'box'

      show me the box working sustainably. (ie not deteriorating over time)

      if nickel goes in and copper comes out I'd have no option, but to believe it was a fusion process.

      knowing how catalysts work (or even double photon capture photosynthesis) I'm happy to think there may be a short-cut to cold fusion. I don't believe in free energy! but in the possibility of lower state transition releasing fusion energy.

    4. Oliver Cromwell

      Re: No Brainer

      The current discusion touches on the intellectual property aspects of the E-cat. There is reason to believe no patent will be granted and even if it was it wouldn't prevent other partys form creating a similar device.There are lapsed patents that may very well cover whats going on. And the US essentialy will not grant LENR patents. It is possible that almost from the begining there will be very limited IP protection and many competing products so the problem is not that there is a locked down secret. Another way besides a patent to protect an invention is to use a trade secret. That what appears to be going on.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "Over to you, readers of El Reg; we await your comments with fascination and trepidation."

    Oh I'll doubt you'll get any comments about a system which appears to put out more energy than is put in - not really a reg reader kind of thing , they prefer tittle-tattle celebrity gossip.

    1. Mad Chaz
      Paris Hilton

      Re: "Over to you, readers of El Reg; we await your comments with fascination and trepidation."

      But imagine what she might do with something that puts out more power then you put in!

    2. Annihilator
      Boffin

      Re: "Over to you, readers of El Reg; we await your comments with fascination and trepidation."

      "put out more energy than is put in"

      Depends on your point of view, but I don't think that technically anyone is claiming more energy is put out than in, given how badly that would break the laws of thermodynamics. It's presumably converting its mass into energy.

      Although, granted, I'm sure that part's bollox too.

      1. pklausner

        Re: "It's presumably converting its mass into energy."

        Yes. That is the claim: [cold] nuclear fusion which converts mass to energy.

        Whether that really happens within the mysterious box is another question...

        1. bonkers
          Boffin

          Re: "It's presumably converting its mass into energy."

          My calculations suggest it is really converting mass to energy:

          The average energy output was 816 Watts - this was calculated using questionable methods but importantly the control (dummy cylinder) when fed with 810W produced a very similar temperature.

          The average power input was 235W, the test duration 116 hours.

          Therefore the device showed a nett energy output of 67kWh or 243MJ. simples.

          The reaction chamber volume was quite small - a 5mm bore 33cm long.

          The secret powder that was in there was measured as 0.3g only - barely a coating. The researchers rounded this up to a figure of 1 gram. I will evaluate also a worst case figure of 57 grams - if the bore was packed with solid Nickel.

          The energy densities are quite astonishing, considering petrol is the most energy-dense common substance at 50MJ/kg, with hydrogen (in any phase) on its own at 145MJ/kg.

          I calculate 800 Giga-Joules/kg if the 0.3g figure is to be believed.

          My minimum (using 57g) is still 4200MJ/kg - about 29x solid hydrogen.

          the researchers claim 183600 MJ/kg - with a few other worst cases in there, I make it 242GJ/kg.

          It could be all down to "fiddling the electric" - but it cannot be down to stored energy in the device.

          1. bonkers
            Facepalm

            Re: "It's presumably converting its mass into energy."

            sorry - it cannot be down to stored CHEMICAL energy in the device. The whole point is that it is stored NUCULAR energy.

            1. bonkers
              Unhappy

              Re: "It's presumably converting its mass into energy."

              small addendum, sorry... the chamber volume was 20mm bore, so my worst case figure is now 263 MJ/L

              Still 1.8 times better than the best though.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: "1.8 times better than the best"

                At first I thought you had some good reasoning.

                Then you admitted to a pretty big error in your sums, more than an order of magnitude.

                Hmm.

                Well that's a different matter since an 80% variance could easily be within the error bars, it sounds like there is scope for those to be quite generous.

          2. Baar McFly
            Alert

            Re: "It's presumably converting its mass into energy."

            Your calculations are on target. Worst case figures at 242GJ/kg is nothing short of astonishing. But this is not converting the mass of nickel or H2 to energy in any previously known way. It is clearly not chemical. So where is all that energy coming from?? Looks like an entirely new form of nuclear activity - which is why the acronym LENR Low Energy Nuclear Reactions is commonly used by scientists.

            This study has badly shaken old school physicists.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: "It's presumably converting its mass into energy."

              Baar McFly

              Registered on the day of the article and only commented on the article.

              There are a few of them commenting here. Sock-puppet action is a classic sign of fraud.

    3. Baar McFly
      Flame

      Re: "Over to you, readers of El Reg; we await your comments with fascination and trepidation."

      Indeed. From the comments so far few here have had an attention span long enough to have ACTUALLY READ the 28 page report written by 11 scientists and engineers. What we do see is deep denial of the mountain of LENR data generated over 23 years from the likes Naval Research Lab, SPAWAR, LANL, Stanford Research, NASA, University Missouri, MIT, Italy's ENEA, Mitsubishi Heavy, DARPA, Boeing Research, etc.

      For any who do not elect to put their heads where the sun shines less, here is a helpful explanatory link: http://iccf18.research.missouri.edu/

  3. Fibbles

    I imagine the Chinese will be very interested in his research.

    What with his catalyst being snake oil.

  4. thomas k.

    proof that it works ....

    will come from the inevitable raid on his lab in which all his equipment and research are confiscated by agents of governments in thrall to the big energy consortiums who actually run things, and the whole thing will then be extensively documented in videos appearing in the weird neighborhood over at youtube.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: it's never done so obviously

      Accidental death in a lab explosion is more likely.

  5. Blofeld's Cat
    Facepalm

    Hmm...

    "They laughed at Columbus, they laughed at Fulton, they laughed at the Wright Brothers. But they also laughed at Bozo the Clown." - Carl Sagan

    1. Dave 126
      Happy

      Re: Hmm...

      "Keep an open mind, but no so open that your brains fall out" - Bertrand Russell

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    This planet is an endless source of amusement

    So glad I live here.

    1. Chris Parsons

      Re: This planet is an endless source of amusement

      But it's such a shame the neighbourhood is going down.

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      3. Chris Miller

        "I wouldn't accept it for publication"

        No-one would. That's why it's on arXiv.

        1. This post has been deleted by its author

          1. Chris Miller

            Re: @Chris Miller

            Apologies HFG, I didn't intend to insult arXiv which is a fantastic resource, with many great papers. But the fact remains that you can get a paper on there with no peer review process, which is what has been done in this case. When it gets published in Nature or PTRS, I'll give it another look.

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      4. davidp231

        Re: Having not read the paper yet

        " and far better fonts to both write papers in and write equations in than Arial"

        At least it's not Comic Sans.

        1. Evan Essence
          Trollface

          Re: Having not read the paper yet

          At least it's not Comic Sans.

          Comic Sans was good enough for the ATLAS spokeswoman to use in her presentation last year at CERN about the Higgs Boson.

      5. tojb

        Re: Having not read the paper yet

        Seconded: every time I get a report in MS word my heart sinks. Someone has decided its easier to spend two days trying to squeeze equations and figures onto the page through an interface that wasn't designed for them than 1 day learning tex and 1 day writing.

        1. Ragarath

          Re: Having not read the paper yet

          Gosh we are a lot of snobs aren't we. I don't like the way they used a font I don't like so their publishing format and because of that I am dismissing their work (which I have not read and probably would not understand so I will not even go there.)

          You call yourself a scientist? What would you have done when things were scribbled down on scraps of paper? Complained that they did not use the right consistency of ink / carbon?

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            1. Ragarath

              Re: @Ragarath @HolyFreakinGhost

              Did you miss the part where I found that they're modelling heat emission using the Stefan-Boltzmann law, which is only valid for blackbodies, and that they didn't test whether or not this object is actually radiating as a blackbody (hint: it won't be), and that they would have to modify that law to T^(4+delta) with delta<~1? That's the point I stopped reading. The font is off-putting through experience: I've refereed a lot of papers and I have never seen a paper that I would accept for publication that was submitted in Word and standard MS fonts. That's not a reflection on Word, and it's not actually snobbery (which you may notice I acknowledged in the original post); it's an observation.

              Whoa there, I think you misunderstood my post, and reading it back now I think I understand why (because I am a dolt). The snobbery part was meant to be light hearted (your the one that brought it up! and in response to yojb's post) and reading back dismissing was too harsh a word for what I wanted to convey. I should have used 'rubbishing' or some such. You even state in your original post "The rest of it may or may not be valid but if they're not verifying that" which in my opinion means you were although I must admit not just on the grounds of formatting.

              From my post:

              "I don't like the way they used a font I don't like so their publishing format and because of that I am dismissing their work (which I have not read and probably would not understand so I will not even go there.)"

              I confused the way I was writing this and yes reading it back it looks like a dig at you because I was talking from your point of view to parrot back then continued using the first person in brackets to talk about myself. As in the not understanding part would be me, not you.

              And yes, I do call myself a scientist. Back when things were scribbled on scraps of paper I would read things scribbled on scraps of paper. These days we can do rather better, and a seeming lack of effort makes me wary. Bad science inside -- or, at least, unacknowledged sources of error -- makes me even more wary.

              Read my post again, it is not the scraps of paper, it was the ink in question or even (though not in the post) the style of handwriting used. Yes formatting and neat layouts etc. help a lot but work should not be discounted because it is not in what one person deems to be the correct way of writing it.

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          2. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

            Re: Having not read the paper yet

            Ragarath: I don't like the way they used a font I don't like so their publishing format and because of that I am dismissing their work (which I have not read and probably would not understand so I will not even go there.)

            Apparently you didn't bother reading HFG's post, either. He didn't dismiss their work because they used Word; he just complained about it, and for valid reasons. Word is terrible, and it's especially terrible for scientific publication.

            He raised a number of technical problems with the paper, and that's why he dismissed it.

      6. fajensen
        Boffin

        Re: Having not read the paper yet

        Then again, I'm not an experimental physicist. Maybe this is normal for experimental physics. God help us.

        Experimental Physics is a tournament game: Very few, very bright people, will manage to rake in most of the funding available - the lavish funding available will attracts the most talented people, providing positive feedback.

        The *other* experimental physicists, who are not extremely talented or under "the wings" of a "superstar", will have to make do with the leftovers in stale university labs or (shudder) teaching. Offer them some money, ply them with drink and eventually you will find someone, who are all out of fucks to give, that will corroborate anything!

      7. Don Jefe

        Re: Having not read the paper yet

        In fairness, most scientific papers are written in Word using plug ins for pretty equations and references then popped over to PDF: Many don't even get to the PDF part and an editor handles it later. My wife is on the review board of some of the journals oft cited here on El Reg so I just asked her.

        The rest I agree with. The chosen publishing venue pretty much says it all.

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        2. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

          Re: Having not read the paper yet

          most scientific papers are written in Word

          I don't believe that's true. It may be true for the journals your wife reviews, but the ones I've dealt with prefer, or only accept, LaTeX. I'm not aware of a comprehensive survey of scientific journals on this question, but if there is one, I'd bet Word submissions are still in the minority, thank goodness.

          In much of the humanities, Word is alas the de facto standard, which is one reason why I rarely submit anything for publication myself in my humanities field (rhetoric). Generally if I do it's to an online journal that accepts HTML manuscripts.

      8. Baar McFly
        FAIL

        Re: Having not read the paper yet

        Why Lubos! Unsurprising to see you here under the pseudonym HFGhost! Critiquing the font and formatting? Has it really descended to this since Harvard fired you? Since you are too lazy to attempt to understand the paper you cannot expect readers here to take you more seriously than say, Carl Sagan would Bozo. And that's who you sound like commenting on emissivity ... Even a theoretical physicist of your ilk should be able to muster the margin of intellect to learn something about thermal propagation. Sad Lubos... very sad.

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      9. Marshalltown
        Coat

        Having read the paper

        The authors - reportedly - don't work for the inventor's company, and the experimental test was therefore purportedly independently conducted. They ran two tests of differently designed devices and a "dummy test." The second test was apparently because the first device melted down part way into the test cycle. All told they recorded over 200 hours of anomalous out put. The experimenters were limited by lack of access to the interior of the device, which meant that essentially they were black boxing it. "We put this much electricity in over resistors ... we estimate this much came out based on infrared imagery and calculated convection transfers." The irritating thing is that they provide two "Ragone" plots and neither do they indicate the E-Cat storage or output, simply asserting it is off the scale of the chart. I suspect that again the maker wants the actual efficiency kept quiet. The authors do say that no known natural process can explain this at present.

      10. Mark .

        Re: Having not read the paper yet

        Oh god - only on the Register could someone dispute a flawed and unscientific claim because of their *choice of editor*.

    2. jamesb2147
      Stop

      Re: Having not read the paper yet

      They're referring to harnessing many more joules/kg than any known chemical reaction. They're not referring to energy output compared to energy input.

      You should read the paper.

  8. Shane Lusby
    Pirate

    Copyright?

    Surely the MPAA and Paramount will be raiding their labs for infringing on the idea of cold fusion from The Saint? Yet again pirates are trying to steal from the creativity of the poor starving media companies who barely have a crumb of bread to share between them.

    1. GitMeMyShootinIrons

      Re: Copyright?

      They won't be too concerned so long as they can have Keanu Reeves in the lead role of the biopic (after his convincing job in Chain Reaction).

  9. Interceptor
    Trollface

    How to spot snake oil in one* easy step:

    The inventors/creators/hucksters invent a cool, marketable name for it and refuse to release any pertinent scientific details.

    (*another is if it's an audio-related product of any kind.)

    1. itzman

      spotting snake oil

      Yerrss. If i had such a device I'd talk earnestly to some lawyers first. Then Id keep my mouth shut and build a working prototype and couple it up to something like a Mamod steam engine driving a generator. Then I'd invite people to see it generating electricity hour upon hour. I wouldn't go near a scientific journal AT ALL. I'd head straight to a company that could build the thing and get capital to patent it, protect it and fight its corner. Then once it did work I'd get the recognition I deserved. The the scientists could pick over it and see HOW it worked.

      1. MrXavia

        Re: spotting snake oil

        I think I would keep the lawyers out of it until I had a fully working prototype, and then maybe I would still keep it a secret!

  10. JeffyPooh
    Pint

    Please pass the Fluke TrueRMS DVOM

    QUOTE ...the system being fed by: “... a TRIAC power regulator device which interrupted each phase periodically, in order to modulate power input with an industrial trade secret waveform.”

    So, I'll place a bet on the root cause of this 'excess power' stemming from them using a meter that doesn't measure RMS voltage / current / power correctly with funny waveforms.

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Please pass the Fluke TrueRMS DVOM

        You''re being way too sympathetic here.

        Gaffa-tape Rossi to a chair a LONG way away from the KETTLE LEAD and then see how much heat it produces.

        N.B. KETTLE LEAD is common parlance for a standard EU AC power cable. Which could be used to supply AC to a KETTLE.

        A KETTLE is a device with a SWITCH which can be activated to HEAT WATER with ELECTRICITY from a WALL SOCKET ;) Especially if you can RUN FAST when you think NO-ONE is LOOKING :P

        Incidentally I don't think Morphy Richards have a serious competitor here, it's too big and expensive and not pretty enough, thought the Italians were good at industrial design? ;)

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Up

      Re: Please pass the Fluke TrueRMS DVOM

      This is why I love reading the Reg for science articles like this, where I know enough to be dangerous but not always enough to see all the angles those who are more knowledgeable than me do. I was running some possible issues through my head as I read the article, but this one makes the most sense as being something that could simultaneously fool outside observers trying to debunk it, as well as allow insiders with good intentions to truly believe what they want to believe.

      I always say the only way to test over unity power production claims is use a closed system where all input power is provided by a standard battery of known capacity. They might be able to fool power meters with the right waveform, perhaps even their utility, but you can't fool a closed system with something like that.

      Let's give it a fully charged forklift battery that holds 1 kwh for its input. If it manages to fully charge two depleted forklift batteries providing 1 kwh each on the other end, with no wires connected to anything but the batteries and no "black box" we can't look inside that could hide something capable of storing anything near to 1 kwh, and it can be moved out of their lab - even only as far as someone randomly choosing a spot in their parking lot to set it up - then I'll be ready to seriously listen to their claims.

      1. MacroRodent
        Holmes

        "Batteries included" Re: Please pass the Fluke TrueRMS DVOM

        The black box can provide more output than input for quite a while if it is full of "D" cells. After the power drops, the inventor will claim the catalyst is depleted and he has to take the E-Cat to factory for replenishing it. Naturally no outsider is allowed to observe the operation...

        1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

          Re: "Batteries included" Please pass the Fluke TrueRMS DVOM

          It wouldn't be a catalyst if it got depleted...

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: "Batteries included" Please pass the Fluke TrueRMS DVOM

            "It wouldn't be a catalyst if it got depleted..."

            You know that, I know that, maybe some other oldtimers do too.

            Would you accept "... the catalyst got contaminated ..." as an excuse to end the experiment prematurely? That claim might achieve the desired result and be chemically plausible, whereas depletion isn't.

      2. Pete Smith 2
        Holmes

        Re: Please pass the Fluke TrueRMS DVOM

        I looked into this a while ago, and the most plausible explanation someone came up with was *very* simple.

        They don't allow measurement of the system before it's plugged into an outlet or generator.

        They break the Live lead out of the power cable and measure the current going through it.

        No other inspection or touching is allowed.

        This person postulated they've simply connected the earth lead in the plug to the Live terminal, not the earth terminal.

        When demonstrations have been given, the "power output" has always been at around the P=IV for the country. e.g. in the UK they would have nominally a 3.1kw output for 360w input. They have a 360w heater on the live input and a 2750w heater on the "earth" input.

        Presto. 1.5A through the measured "live lead", but a full 13A worth of heat being generated.

        Ingenious in its simplicity. Occams razor and all that.

        1. jamesb2147
          Thumb Up

          Re: Please pass the Fluke TrueRMS DVOM

          Certainly that's entirely possible. Hopefully they have a chance to test that in future.

      3. Shannon Jacobs
        Holmes

        Believing what they want to believe

        I think that's the crux of the problem, and the real threat of the Internet is that people can now saturate their input channels with "evidence" for whatever insane silliness they want to believe.

        The google returns over 2 million hits for "obama birthplace kenya", which would keep anyone busy for a few years. Larry Page says this isn't a problem. No EVIL here, eh? Thanks to the google.

        The only question about this article is whether they are self-deluded or attempting to profit on the delusions of others. Based on the cloud of secrecy, I'm pretty sure they are just con artists milking suckers with money who want to invest in nothing.

    3. L.Bergholm

      Re: Please pass the Fluke TrueRMS DVOM

      Please read the report. I quote:

      "electrical measurements were performed by a PCE-830 Power and Harmonics Analyzer by PCE

      Instruments with a nominal accuracy of 1%."

      That is a True RMS instrument.

      1. bonkers

        Re: Please pass the Fluke TrueRMS DVOM

        Good point, you read it so I don't have to (I'm at work)

        Assuming no fraud with the meter, like changing the sense resistor, then a simple long duration test will soon exceed the kWh/kg of known battery technology. The DC-in DC-out test is fundamentally even harder to defraud.

        Why are so many commentards getting violent over the matter?

        Be cool, do the tests, play no part in the screeching self-censorship that paid science has to abide by.

        1. This post has been deleted by its author

  11. Martin Budden Silver badge
    WTF?

    Why isn't he being arrested for fraud?

    .

    1. Don Jefe

      Re: Why isn't he being arrested for fraud?

      Because it is on Avrix and everyone assumes that such a mind blowingly fantastic device would be not be rolling in the pseudo-scientific crap that is there. They are correct too. It is kind of like suing the History Channel for its historical accuracy.

  12. Winkypop Silver badge
    Facepalm

    Red flags ahoy !

    Sealed black boxes - check

    So called trade secrets - check

    Incredible claims - check

    History of wild claims - check

    AAA-grade horse-hockey!

    1. TheWeenie
      Trollface

      Re: Red flags ahoy !

      You can see where he's going wrong there. If he'd put it in a shiny white box, he'd already have sold millions!

  13. Kanhef
    Holmes

    Turns nickel into copper, eh?

    Should be easy enough to test - put a piece of pure nickel in, let it run for a while, then take it to an independent lab and have them do an elemental analysis of it. No concerns about revealing "trade secrets" there.

    Of course, they'll never agree to it, as it would immediately show their claim of achieving fusion to be false. There are too many hallmarks of bad science to consider this credible. The only question I have is whether they've managed to fool themselves and actually believe what they're saying, or if they're just trying to fool everyone else.

    1. jamesb2147
      Facepalm

      Re: Turns nickel into copper, eh?

      The scientists seem rather convinced, although perhaps they're being lied to and passing those lies on. They're specific in mentioning that it's a hydrogen-laden nickel dust in the chamber, with some kind of secret sauce catalyst. It's unclear if the sauce is in the "trade secret waveform" or powder chamber that had to be emptied away from the scientists (although they appear to have been present when the chamber was cut open).

  14. mIRCat
    Coat

    I don't get it.

    Why not add more ice to conventional fusion?

    I happen to keep an ice tray in here.

  15. Tom 7

    This sort of shit

    is making homoeopathy look good.

    If it makes more power than it generates why the fuck are they putting power into it???

    1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Re: This sort of shit

      is making homoeopathy look good.

      And there's billions to be made from that as well. What, as an investor, is not to like? ;-)

    2. L.Bergholm

      Re: This sort of shit

      The short answer to your question is. To prevent meltdown.

      To start the reaction you need to pass a threshold temperature.

      After that you will start to get exccess energy. The problem is that the generation of excess energy has a positive feedback loop. As the temperature rises so does the generation of energy. In the report they mention a test where the reactor got to hot and went into meltdown wich stopped the reaction.

      In the report they describe how they pulse the input power so that the reactor cools down a bit between the pulses thereby preventing a runaway process. This was also the reason the second test in march had a lower power output. They wanted to be sure the reactor was stable.

  16. Chemist
    Devil

    Scientiic Method

    1) Get rich fools to buy systems off this guy

    2) Allow to run

    3) Measure success/failure by number of law suites (even rich fools have lawyers)

    I hate the smell of snake-oil esp. in the morning

  17. A Non e-mouse Silver badge

    "Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence"

    - Sagan/Truzzi/et al

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    But...it's truly amazing !

    Not the E-Cat, however. But the fashion in which this man has succesfully manipulated every kind of media over a period of years claiming he's got discovered nothing short of the Hole-E-Grail of energy production, while continuing to succesfully keep the thing out of the hands of anybody who could just prove or disprove it's functionality.

    Time and time again he has presented a shoebox of which no-one may know the contents, and time and time again he's been able to cajole reputable scientists ands centres of learning into not dismissing the thing as being not relevant until he proves the science behind it.

    The man is a genius allright...just not a physics genius.

  19. Richard Tobin

    Scientists are easily fooled

    Did they put an ammeter on the earthing cable?

  20. TeeCee Gold badge

    "....and test a black box whose operations are invisible."

    Or a "car battery" as I like to call it.

  21. ttkaminski

    Copper, nuclear never mentioned

    The linked pdf doesn't mention anything about nickel being converted into copper, or the reaction being a nuclear one.

  22. Pan.

    Rossi cv from wikipedia

    "Andrea Rossi was born in 1950 on the 3rd of June, in Milan. In 1973, Rossi graduated in Philosophy at the University of Milan,[6] with a thesis on Albert Einstein’s Theory of Relativity and its interrelationship with Edmund Husserl’s Phenomenology.[7][unreliable source?][8][9]"

    ok i thing this is enough!

  23. Charlie Clark Silver badge
    Coat

    Basic premise

    I just love the idea that somehow turning nickel into copper releases power slowly enough to plug in a kettle to make a pot of tea. Maybe the "patented waveform" somehow puts the the nuclei to sleep using "sleepons"? Why isn't building a Massive Hadron Lullaby?

    Not to discount the possibility of strange things happening at the quantum level but the strong nuclear force is called strong for a reason and even some kind of "nuclear transistor" where quarks would tunnel from nucleus to another would still release a fuck of a lot energy. So, paint me sceptical. But I do like the idea of a "nuclear transistor" - just imagine being able to use something along those lines to control the gain of future fusion reactions!

  24. Vladimir Plouzhnikov

    Finally!

    A power source good enough to power Moller's Skycar!

  25. jabuzz
    FAIL

    Power sneaked in via earth wire

    Do some Googling but it would appear that the method for the "anomolous" heat generation has been twigged. As it is all a black box you wire up a simple electrical thermal element and then use the earth wire from a normal plug that has been "specially" wired along with the socket in the wall to draw power. You then happily separate the wires out in the flex but a clamp meter over the live and measure the current/voltage and get a power draw that is less than the heat output. Meanwhile the power for the "anomolous" heat generation is being drawn down the earth wire and shares the common neutral.

    Rossi has been challenged to do a test where the power levels in all three wires supplying the apparatus are measured and he has refused. I have quickly skimbled the paper and the power measurement section makes no mention of measuring the power levels in all the cores connected up.

    Given Rossi's history of fraud (Google it but there is a failed thermoelectric generator using waste heat and a failed oil from waste firm) one has to take him with a very large pinch of salt.

    1. SeanEllis
      Black Helicopters

      Re: Power sneaked in via earth wire

      Entirely plausible and consistent with the measured temperature for one phase on full power. Nice one.

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    This guy has a history of bullshitting about these sort of things, I'm not going to hold my breath on this one.

  27. Schultz
    Flame

    Somebody will get burned by this story

    I am utterly astonished, that the Swedish scientists signed off on that story without measuring all power input into the room by their own devices.

    Simple: use only one power plug leading into the room and carrying bog-standard 400/230 V AC -- as much as required. Make sure there are no hidden cables or devices (best by putting the device into a room of your own choosing). Measure all power going in and look at the power output.

    The system described in the Arxiv paper contains too many proprietary devices that might provide power to the set-up. My bet is on snake oil and some red faces in the aftermath. Of course, it can take a long time to find out what is going on (just read up on some other cold fusion stories here or here).

    1. Vladimir Plouzhnikov

      Re: Somebody will get burned by this story

      "Of course, it can take a long time to find out what is going on"

      I think it should take no time at all - with an arrest and a search warrants on the basis of suspected fraud and misleading the investors...

  28. AlB

    Has anyone actually read the paper?

    I have and I can't find many flaws with it. Sure it doesn't establish a theory but then it doesn't set out to do so, just measure input and output. He's financed this research himself without a penny of government money, unlike NIF, ITER and other multi-billion dollar outfits that are still decades away from anything meaningful. He wants to sell it to the world for profit - it's what motivated him to keep at it for many years and it's a justified reward. He doesn't need to share trade secrets with anyone, he just needs to comprehensively establish that it works reliably and safely.

    The report, written by scientists who are putting their reputation on the line, is pretty clear in that it works - all assumptions are very conservative. You can debate mW and W results of other cold fusion experiments in the past decades endlessly but once you reach kW of energy as in this case it's just too big to fake.

    There was a dry run without the charge and that established a base line showing no gain.

    360W in over a such a large surface area should not result in hundreds of degrees of heat if it was purely driven by electrics - compare that to a kettle that consumes 2000-3000W on a much smaller surface.

    There were three separate tests over extended periods, in the first burn-out test the electric wires are actually colder on the thermal camera than the rest of the unit.

    The density of heat generation over such an extended period from a 2kg unit does rule out any chemical reaction. The true density is much higher as the active nuclear charge is only grams and can last for months, which by the way will be tested next.

    On Rossi, the person: he's enigmatic and has been screwed over by the tax authorities (by the way he was fully acquitted). He may exaggerate at times but his progress over the years is undeniable so I'd put him in the mad scientist category.

    I'd also be more skeptical if nobody else was claiming success but there's also Defkalion and Brillouin, both of which are going to demo and share results in August so it's an exciting race to watch. On top of that there's NASA, CERN and others that are very seriously looking into this field without prejudice.

    Seriously, what is it with people that font choices and Word vs. LaTeX are the subject of great debate when we're potentially at the precipice of an energy revolution that solar and wind could never deliver?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Has anyone actually read the paper?

      I agree about the whole Word thing, who cares how it's formatted as long as the results are accurately recorded, and they may even be in this case. Would love to be proven wrong but everything about the man screams fraud. No doubt it puts out more energy than is put in, I don't think these scientists would be risking their reputation otherwise, the question is how?

      As far as we know he could have any sort of fuel cell in that 'black box', pumping out all that energy. Until the 'how' is established and his results replicated by others unconnected with him, no-one but the naive will believe him.

      1. AlB

        Re: Has anyone actually read the paper?

        If you have a look at the Ragone plot in the paper fuel cell energy density is WAY lower than what was measured so if the measurements are anywhere near correct the process happening inside the black box was not chemical, mechanical or a fuel cell.

        The how it works is for others to figure out, this is a commercial setup and therefore it's his prerogative not to share the inner workings so he can reap the benefits. Mainstream science with billions of funding haven't brought us much closer to cheap abundant energy. Commercial efforts with the right business incentives I think will do a far better job of getting us there, be it Rossi or the many other players in hot/cold fusion and fission field.

    2. David Hicks
      Stop

      Finance?

      "He's financed this research himself without a penny of government money, unlike NIF, ITER and other multi-billion dollar outfits that are still decades away from anything meaningful."

      They're decades away and costing a lot of money because they're working within the bounds of reality, something that Rossi is not constrained by.

      "I'd also be more skeptical if nobody else was claiming success but there's also Defkalion and Brillouin, both of which are going to demo and share results in August so it's an exciting race to watch."

      Yes, the results we need are always just around the corner, just a couple more months, any time now!

      You've been suckered. Did you invest in orbo?

      1. AlB

        Re: Finance?

        We've gone from pretty much nothing in early 2011 to an independent report in mid-2013 and several competing companies (some of which by the way have already reported and successfully demoed their stuff): that's pretty rapid progress in my book. Maybe the most aggressive projections did not come through but do they ever? I'm not willing to wait until 2050 for some super expensive laser fusion or Tokakaks so I AM getting my hopes up and anyway he hasn't harmed anyone in the process or cost me a cent in taxes so I don't understand the hate.

        1. David Hicks
          FAIL

          Re: Finance?

          We've gone from pretty much nothing in early 2011 to an independent report in mid-2013 and several competing companies (some of which by the way have already reported and successfully demoed their stuff):

          Defkalion claim to be selling technology licenses. After their deal to produce stuff for Rossi fell through. Either they've totally ripped off his stuff, in which case why is there not a huge lawsuit (I mean, no one else is smart enough to come up with this stuff right, it's revolutionary!) , or it's a scam.

          The Brillouin Energy stuff seems to be based on misunderstanding of another obscure part of physics.

          Anyone that actually successfully demo'd this stuff would be headline news, everywhere. It would be a massive. The big energy boys would be trying to buy them out for billions.

          They aren't though, and nobody's presented anything remotely like a verified results. Hell, Orbo had demos.

          that's pretty rapid progress in my book.

          It's been years. There's still been nothing but hot air, despite all sorts of unverified claims like that there was a 1MW unit running a factory somewhere.

          Maybe the most aggressive projections did not come through but do they ever? I'm not willing to wait until 2050 for some super expensive laser fusion or Tokakaks so I AM getting my hopes up and anyway he hasn't harmed anyone in the process or cost me a cent in taxes so I don't understand the hate.

          Because he seems to be exhibiting all the hallmarks of a total charlatan.

          Because he's seems to be exhibiting all the hallmarks of a total charlatan.

          Because he's pulled these shenanigans before.

          Because without people shouting this utter bullshit down at every turn we would no doubt see lots of uneducated people investing in this stuff and losing their money to the unscrupulous.

          Because it's blatantly just the latest in a long line of ludicrous perpetual motion machines.

          Enough reasons?

          1. David Hicks

            Re: Finance?

            Ooops, two of those reasons are the same!

            1. eLD
              Thumb Up

              Re: Finance?

              I know technically thats only one reason, but its such a good reason that I think it deserved to be mentioned twice.

          2. AlB

            Re: Finance?

            After being burned in 89 everyone is ultra-cautious, hence no headlines. No household name company would want the public ridicule from people like you either but behind closed doors I'm sure they're taking a serious look. Until they have products in the market there's nothing to talk about anyway and it would just set off the competition. No other "perpetual motion machine" has received this degree of independent testing by the way, from Papp engines to magnetic motors so these are much easier to dismiss than this effort.

            On investing there's nothing wrong with being optimistic: without some people taking a risk we'd still live in the stone age. There's also nothing wrong with sophisticated investors putting some money to work here either as long as the founders are totally committed with their own money and you have some legal safeguards. It's really no different to putting your money in a biotech or offshore oil driller: it's a binary, often low probability outcome and still there are investors that accept the risks. These companies by the way also take many years to have anything to show for their work so the achievements to date are pretty solid.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Finance?

              >On investing there's nothing wrong with being optimistic...

              No, but you'd need a brain-bypass to go anywhere near this thing with money.

            2. David Hicks
              Thumb Down

              Re: Finance?

              "Until they have products in the market there's nothing to talk about anyway and it would just set off the competition."

              Except apparently there are/have been customers already and the product *is* on the market. I refer you to the aforementioned "Factory powered by 1MW e-cat" and the fact that they are open for orders with a half-million US$ deposit.

              "No other "perpetual motion machine" has received this degree of independent testing by the way, from Papp engines to magnetic motors so these are much easier to dismiss than this effort."

              Except there hasn't really been any proper independent testing, and saying it's better than previous perpetual motion efforts is saying precisely nothing.

              "These companies by the way also take many years to have anything to show for their work so the achievements to date are pretty solid."

              Right, except for the claims from day 1 of having working, installed units, that have so far failed to be verified. Like all the other claims made about the device.

              By sophisticated investors do you mean idiots?

              Because actual sophisticated investors would check that there was something other than hot air involved, like there would be in prospecting or genuine biotech. Unless they were investing in Rossi's ability to self-publicise...

              1. AlB

                Re: Finance?

                Let me put it another way: would you rather put 5% of your assets in a portfolio of coal, gas, oil, wind and solar companies or would you rather put it into a dozen outfits that try different new approaches to energy generation, from Rossi to Flibe, from TerraPower to TriAlpha in the hope that one hits the jackpot at some point? Sophisticated investors have backed much more idiotic ventures than these before.

                1. David Hicks
                  Thumb Down

                  Re: Finance?

                  "Let me put it another way: would you rather put 5% of your assets in a portfolio of coal, gas, oil, wind and solar companies or would you rather put it into a dozen outfits that try different new approaches to energy generation"

                  I'd put it somewhere that didn't stink of a scam, which this does for the many reasons listed. Maybe somewhere that had realistic, scientific claims.

                  "from Rossi to Flibe, from TerraPower to TriAlpha in the hope that one hits the jackpot at some point? Sophisticated investors have backed much more idiotic ventures than these before."

                  Flibe and Terrapower have some serious science behind them and have not made claims about working units, factories etc etc. Trialpha have released less information but at the very least are not making claims that are dubious in terms of the physics involved, nor that OMG IT TOTALLY WORKS LOOK AT ME.

                2. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  Re: Finance?

                  >Let me put it another way: would you rather put 5% of your assets in a portfolio

                  >of coal, gas, oil, wind and solar companies or would you rather put it into a dozen

                  >outfits that try different new approaches to energy generation, from Rossi to Flibe,

                  >from TerraPower to TriAlpha in the hope that one hits the jackpot at some point?

                  I actually do have a few hundred grand invested in various companies. Whilst I do back risky ventures, this one is complete horseshit.

                  I see you signed up today and you've only posted on this topic.

                  Are you connected to this?

                  Did you sign up just to plug it?

                  >Sophisticated investors have backed much more idiotic ventures than these before.

                  Yes, they have, and I'm sure you will find some gullible fool to separate from his money.

                  Probably not a Reg reader though.

                  1. AlB

                    Re: Finance?

                    Reg reader since the 90s but never felt strongly about anything before to post: I'm not plugging it but I would like to see a serious discussion about potential flaws in the setup rather than personal accusations and blanket dismissals.

                    I do think that the blank test puts a lot of those concerns to rest but maybe the authors could have done a little more to totally squash them. There are at least 18 theories around that try to explain what's going on, not all of them ludicrous. Experimental data should help settle this in years to come.

                    On investing I have no personal stake or involvement. If I were an investor I wouldn't bank everything on one guy and of course if you were seriously thinking about investing you'd want a lot of access but there are many promising new energy startups around and I think this is one of them, even if their PR and their way of doing business puts some people off. Rossi ploughed a lot of his own money into this and looks like he's put it all into the warehouse and equipment so doesn't have the hallmarks of a typical scammer like for example Keshe.

                    1. David Hicks
                      Stop

                      Re: Finance?

                      >> I would like to see a serious discussion about potential flaws in the setup rather than personal accusations and blanket dismissals.

                      There are not potential flaws in the setup.

                      There are big, gaping, procedural holes in the paper.

                      There's no point in experimental theories to explain what's going on if you can't show that there is anything going on in the first place.

                      The blanket dismissals are there because that's all you can do.

                    2. Anonymous Coward
                      Anonymous Coward

                      Re: Finance?

                      > Reg reader since the 90s but never felt strongly about anything before to post

                      There are an awful lot of you commenting on this subject, and all saying how much you believe that the black box does just what it says on the tin.

                      > I would like to see a serious discussion about potential flaws in the setup...

                      We don't know what the setup is, because they haven't told us what it is.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Has anyone actually read the paper?

      > I have and I can't find many flaws with it.

      You feel there is enough information there to reproduce the experiment and verify it then?

      1. AlB

        Re: Has anyone actually read the paper?

        Yes: he supplies the box, I measure input and output and after a certain period it's clear that it can't be a chemical process.

        The workings of the device are closed source but it's the same as with Lotus 1-2-3 in the early days: I type =1+1 and I see 2 on the screen: I can't see the source code but I can verify that it works without knowing the detail. Over the following years people figured out how to build it themselves and along came Excel, then Open Office - the same is happening here with commercial and open source competitors who are trying to figure out the secret sauce, which I think will happen in pretty short order.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Has anyone actually read the paper?

          >I measure input and output and after a certain period it's clear that it can't be a chemical process.

          Nonsense. There's nothing like enough energy there to rule out chemical processes.

          >I can't see the source code but I can verify that it works without knowing the detail.

          No, you can't. All you can verify is the result it gives you for the test data you have used. Having tried 1+1 and got 2 you have no idea that 5+5 doesn't also give 2, or even that it is correct for every pair of numbers you might try.

          How do you know that there isn't a broken number in there? Perhaps 6000101203 +1 gives 5, but every other possible combination is correct?

          You know what it is _supposed_ to do and have inferred that it does what they said it does because you've prodded it with a stick.

          Which is pretty much a description of the testing carried out on this device.

          1. AlB

            Re: Has anyone actually read the paper?

            > Nonsense. There's nothing like enough energy there to rule out chemical processes.

            There IS enough energy to rule out chemical processes, even if you allow for some pretty major measurements errors. Have a look at the plot (in logs) here: http://www.forbes.com/sites/markgibbs/2013/05/20/finally-independent-testing-of-rossis-e-cat-cold-fusion-device-maybe-the-world-will-change-after-all/

            At this stage of development 3 runs is all we can reasonably expect. Over the coming months and years there will be plenty more tests and data from customers to verify further.

            1. David Hicks

              Re: Has anyone actually read the paper?

              >> There IS enough energy to rule out chemical processes, even if you allow for some pretty major measurements errors.

              Except we don't know that because the measurements were so badly done. The energy output was not measured accurately. The reactor and reaction mass were not measured accurately. The energy input was not isolated or measured properly. The whole thing is so full of holes you could use it to drain your pasta.

          2. bonkers

            Re: Has anyone actually read the paper?

            > Nonsense. There's nothing like enough energy there to rule out chemical processes.

            have a look at my earlier comment and calculations. The energy density in the reaction vessel is beyond Hydrogen.

            It cannot be chemical but it might be electrical with a sneak wire.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Has anyone actually read the paper?

              > The energy density in the reaction vessel is beyond Hydrogen.

              Hydrogen alone doesn't have a very high energy density.

    4. This post has been deleted by its author

      1. AlB

        Re: Has anyone actually read the paper?

        These are valid concerns but the dummy run confirms both emissivity to be roughly as estimated and power in roughly equaling power out when there's no active element present. The gain with the active element is so large that minor measurement errors don't really affect the overall result.

    5. Pet Peeve
      Boffin

      Re: Has anyone actually read the paper?

      Plenty HAVE read the paper (HolyFreakingGhost has had a lot to say that's quite good, read back), and even the non-physicists are cringing. Note: I am not a trained physicist either - just a generally literate reader of scientific papers, and someone who admires con games in a "look at the scary snake, let's go somewhere else" manner.

      I hardly got a page into the paper before bullshit detectors went off. The first warning was when they showed FLIR images of the test apparatus. Why show that at all? It doesn't tell you a dang thing except that a piece of metal on a stand is hot. It doesn't tell you beans about how it got hot, whether it's hotter than it's supposed to be or not, or really anything other than someone wanted to be flashy. I can point a FLIR-based thermometer (love the things!) at the inside of my car and show that it's 130 degrees on a 70 degree day - MAGIC? No.

      And then there's the howler that took me totally out of serious consideration of the rest of the paper, this silly sentence: "It was not possible to evaluate the weight of the internal steel cylinder or of the caps because the E-Cat HT was already running when the test began.". Wait, what? You acknowledge that weighing the apparatus is important, but you carry on with the experiment without those weights in your lab book? They instead substituted numbers from another device, like someone is already making "E-Cat HT" devices on an assembly line with exactly consistent dimensions and composition.

      It gets even dodgier after that, with measurement methods that are ridiculously flawed (they used an RMS power meter, but apparently don't know what it's telling you, for example), and wildly hyperbolic statements like "our measurements could be off by an order of magnitude and there'd still be net energy", which wouldn't even be true if I'm reading the graphs right.

      I still can't decide whether to pin this on bad experimental design, self delusion, or actual confidence trickery, but you'll notice "hurry up and TAKE MY MONEY" is not on that list.

      1. AlB

        Re: Has anyone actually read the paper?

        A couple of points that make it look real:

        The dummy run pretty well establishes that with the same instruments and cabling no gain was achieved and the emissivity was established. This was in the March experiment, which must have been a result to feedback on a relatively relatively poor setup in the first December run.

        The electric wires in the first burn-out test actually casting a dark shadow, meaning they are cooler than the rest of the device

        Supplying power through the ground wire in the active test but not the dummy test past the equipment and when they have full control of the room is only a very remote possibility.

        The heating/cooling curve that looks different to a generic resistor

        The heat inside the device will make it hard to hide and operate advanced mimicking equipment

        The magnitude of the gain

        The very very long game that Rossi is playing, the personal committed capital and very awkward PR that's not helping his cause make it very hard to believe it's a con

        Last but not least two decades worth of experiments that establish some effect in over 100 papers (see lenr-canr.org)

        This is not going to convince the hardcore skeptics but I suspect that many will look at this with cautious optimism even if they withhold final judgment until more data is available.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Has anyone actually read the paper?

          > The dummy run pretty well establishes that with the same instruments and cabling no gain was achieved and the emissivity was established.

          > The electric wires in the first burn-out test actually casting a dark shadow, meaning they are cooler than the rest of the device

          No shit. I turn on my kettle to boil water and the wires don't get hot. Overhead pylons power half a frickin town and get mildly warm but not enough to fry seagulls. Means jack.

          > Supplying power through the ground wire in the active test but not the dummy test past the equipment and when they have full control of the room is only a very remote possibility.

          ... but it is a possibility, and one which has been raised before. If you had to prove the outside world wouldn't you actually _want_ to measure it to cover all bases?

          > very awkward PR

          It's not the PR that's the problem. He's a blatant self publicist. Fine I can deal with that.

          It's the absolutely shite science which is the problem. If you claim "free energy" you know damned well you are going to get questioned about the energy in the system, not just the one wire you happened to measure. All energy in and out, mass in and out, place chamber in insulating fluid of known heat capacity so you can measure radiant losses.

          I'm not even a fricking research scientist and even I can spot the holes.

          If it smells to good to be true, and has no hard data, then it probably is ...

  29. Panicnow
    Go

    Lost inventions

    Shame if he dies without verification though. And his claims do make him a target.

    I remember the Thermal insulation paint demonstrated on Tomorrows World that is lost to the world as he kept the secret and then died on us!

    1. Dave 126

      Re: Lost inventions

      >http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Starlite

      That really is an odd one... I remembered the demonstration on Tomorrow's World, and the military seem to think it works...

      About 18 months after the Tomorrow's World appearance, Ward finally agreed to let Lewis run a series of tests, on condition that he wouldn't analyse Starlite's ingredients. The first thing Lewis and his colleagues did was fire powerful laser pulses at the material. There was little damage, despite the fact that each pulse contained 100 millijoules of energy. "That will drill holes in bricks," says Lewis.

      Other tests at White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico and the Atomic Weapons Establishment on the island of Foulness, UK, confirmed that Starlite was the real deal. At Foulness, researchers used an arc lamp, essentially a powerful tungsten bulb, to focus a huge amount of heat onto a small area of the material. Again an impressive performance: the material easily withstood temperatures of around 1000 °C, according to a 1993 article in the military publication International Defence Review.

      -From issue 2864 of New Scientist magazine, page 40-43.

    2. HMB

      Re: Lost inventions

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W4nnLP--uTI

      Starlite was very interesting, but it really baffles me that it hasn't been replicated or repeated since. Legend has it that Maurice's family still know the secret.

      Best theory I can come up with is that it is in use as a classified material. I just find it very difficult to accept that a wonder plastic was created and then didn't escape into the world to be used.

      Maybe Maurice stole the secret from the future and the time police have been busy mopping up :P

      1. Dave 126

        Re: Lost inventions

        Yeah, I understand that he hinted on a radio interview that his family knew.

        Just how rich did he want to be out of it? It seems he spent decades turning down millions of pounds for the hope of billions. He must have been very confident that nobody else would stumble across the formula whilst he was sitting on it.

        If it existed, it is baffling that it hasn't been replicated. If it didn't exist, it is baffling that the military labs said it worked. One doesn't really want to suggest that it works and the military really know the formula, nor suggest that it didn't work and the military had their own reasons for saying otherwise.

        Odd, odd, odd.

  30. PassiveSmoking
    Thumb Down

    Were it that easy

    I'm sorry, but if fusion was that easy, human beings probably would have discovered it before the nuclear physics had been unearthed. The Victorian age would have been powered by nickel instead of coal.

  31. Seanmon
    Facepalm

    Wrong coldfusion, dammit.

    I thought we were talking about the Adobe platform, on which I am the last remaining developer on Earth. I can haz ££££ job?

  32. Cliff

    It's a trick!

    It's not really a barbecue cold fusion device, if you x-Ray it you'll see it contains a Steorn Orbo and a dynamo!

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Not really a story...

    Is it?

    There's nothing here other than a guy claiming some daft nonsense.

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Without proper inspection and validation...

    .. there are just too many ways to add energy to the test system as described for any scientific conclusion to be drawn.

    I call BS and seriously would like to know why anyone is paying attention to this guy or his "scientists" who don't seem to use scientific methods.

    I would be interested in introducing them to my soon to be patented " Zero Point Nose Paining Device", they all simply need to close their eyes and in the presence of my device they will suddenly feel a sharp and lingering pain to their proboscis. I know they will be excited about the many and various applications for the ZpnpD

    1. Vladimir Plouzhnikov

      Re: Without proper inspection and validation...

      And because of quantum effects, if they open their eyes and observe the device, they will collapse its wave function, so they should only blame themselves if it would appear to them as if you were holding a paint brush in front of their nose...

    2. Pet Peeve
      Happy

      Re: Without proper inspection and validation...

      Ha, please patent your special ball-peen hammer application procedure PRONTO. There's a lot of crank pseudoscientists that I could volunteer to independently test it for you.

  35. lipong
    FAIL

    Disgrace of the sort of comments

    Regardless of the character and its claims any scientific discovery should be judged without prejudice, let the science do the talking. Rather then discredit, lets await until some more experiments are performed then science will judge by have a theory, perform the experiments and analysing the results. If less people were less critic and rather accepts is claims and push for more testing we would know the truth by now.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Disgrace of the sort of comments

      First, he must say what he is doing, and he hasn't done that.

    2. Dave 126

      Re: Disgrace of the sort of comments

      >Regardless of the character and its claims any scientific discovery should be judged without prejudice

      I think people's only problem with the man's character is that he doesn't allow a fair scientific experiment, even one which doesn't require peeking inside the box.

      Hell, many of us grew up admiring a crazy scientist who stole plutonium off Libyan terrorists : D

    3. David Hicks
      FAIL

      Re: Disgrace of the sort of comments

      The only reason the claims have not been properly tested is because the inventor won't allow it. Yet he keeps hyping his invention and making unverified claims. This sets off all sorts of alarm bells.

      If there was any science published we would let it do the talking. There isn't.

    4. Pet Peeve
      Stop

      Re: Disgrace of the sort of comments

      Lipong, this is called "concern trolling". If someone publishes bullshit in the name of science, it's not just encouraged, it's MANDATORY to call them bullshitters. Tone doesn't matter.

      Respect is earned, and I really don't think that Rossi has earned a bit of it.

  36. Faye B
    Paris Hilton

    Battery Powered

    Contains nickel, hydrogen and a chemical catalyist, sounds like a nickel hydride battery to me. They probably only put in the funny waveform electric to help prop up the charge for longer, or maybe to power the flashing lights and mysterious buzzing to make it look 'real'.

  37. SMabille
    WTF?

    Sure..

    I have invented THE solution to the world energy problem.

    I can:

    1) Patent my solution, being sure that I will sell it to world+dog and probably climb in the top 100 richest man on earth very quickly and probably grab a Nobel price in the process

    2) Declare it a "trade secret", hide it in a box and let no one get close

    Really difficult choice... let me tease everyone, choose the second option and see if I look very serious.

    WTF? just because... WTF!

    1. bonkers

      Re: Sure..

      I'm not sure you're right on that. If you patent, for starters it lasts only 20 years, secondly you have to reveal the details - then others can extend the work possibly putting you out of business with their improvements.

      Take Rolls-Royce, they only patent what others can deduce from reverse engineering, if the secret is hidden in the manufacturing process they keep it trade secret.

      Look also at "the Cambridge Process" for producing cheap Titanium - patented, sold to Carlyle group by Blair and shelved indefinitely to protect vested interests.

      1. David Hicks
        Stop

        Re: Sure..

        "If you patent, for starters it lasts only 20 years, secondly you have to reveal the details - then others can extend the work possibly putting you out of business with their improvements."

        Only if you license the patent to them, and you can charge them lots of money for that.

        He has previously made claims to already have working units. 20 years protection could net him billions, even if he just sold out to one of the already-big players. If it worked.

      2. Tim Worstal

        Re: Sure..

        Erm: The Cambridge process for Ti. The FFC process? Being used by Metalysis right now.

        The only problem with it being that it's not quite as wondrous as was at first thought.

        And yes, El Reg's metals spiv (that's me folks!) does indeed know about this. Back when they first designed the system I advised on what markets for which metals they might want to look at (or more accurately, which ones they should forget about).

        1. bonkers
          Thumb Up

          Re: Sure..

          Thanks for that - glad to hear its in use now, took a while though didn't it?

          Where's all the cheap Titanium then? Surely anything is better than the existing Ti process. I shall look it up,

          thanks again.

          1. Tim Worstal

            Re: Sure..

            Last I saw (and this isn't a story I particularly follow) they were working to get their Ti aerospace accredited. That's where all the money in Ti is, in making plane parts. And, given the way in which a metal failure in a plane at altitude produces a fiery burning death in a deep hole for hundreds of people, that accreditation takes time to get.

            One industry contact worked with them on neodymium (the process should theoretically work on a number of metals) and was deeply unimpressed at the quality of produiction. Pity really, because we need a lot of Nd for all those windmills.

            The most interesting part of the story to me is that when they did decide to commercialise they set up in Sheffield (or Rotherham? Some hellish Northern city anyway). Not quite where you'd expect for glamourous new tech. Except, that's where all the people who know how to make weird metals are, where all the support services are. Economic geography does produce clusters like that. If you're going to do weird metals then that area. Chlorine chemistry then Tyneside. Fluorine chemistry, Mersey area. Pottery, then Stoke (and indeed the most recent UK new pottery was in Stoke).

            Path dependence to be posh about it........

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Sure..

              "Sheffield (or Rotherham? Some hellish Northern city anyway)"

              Fuck off, southern twat. What's a UKIP official (well, ex official) doing living in a foreign cuntry anyway?

              [Miss, miss, he started it miss]

  38. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    yeah

    I expect cold fusion have achieved success, but if not, there is also the aneutronic fusion that is a promising possibility to supply the world's energy needs. http://www.youtube.com/v/VUrt186pWoA

    1. Vladimir Plouzhnikov

      Re: yeah

      Yes, I also have an idea for anelectronic electricity and you are welcome to contribute a small amount needed to make a working prototype.

      No, I cannot explain how it works because it's a trade secret but, trust me - it will conquer the world.

      P.S. I am also developing hole-less semiconductors (surely will be better than the regular ones, which are full of holes) and aurum-free gold, if you're interested.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Don't be so closed-minded, cynical and skeptical. Just don't believe everything and not be so doubtful of everything. Seek for more knowledge before saying a bunch of nonsense.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Science. Theories backed up by gathering of hard empirical data. May or may never be proven.

          Unless there is hard and _complete_ data it is nonsense, and deserves absolute skepticism. Gives real science and engineering a bad name ...

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            ...it is nonsense, and deserves absolute skepticism...

            "Heavier-than-air flying machines are impossible." - Lord Kelvin, president, Royal Society, 1895

            "There is not the slightest indication that [nuclear energy] will ever be obtainable. It would mean that the atom would have to be shattered at will." - Albert Einstein, 1932

            “The bomb will never go off. I speak as an expert in explosives.” — Admiral William Leahy, U.S. Atomic Bomb Project

            “Space travel is bunk.” — Sir Harold Spencer Jones, Astronomer Royal of the UK, 1957 (two weeks later Sputnik orbited the Earth)

            "Louis Pasteur's theory of germs is ridiculous fiction." - Pierre Pachet, Professor of Physiology at Toulouse, 1872.

            But science has gone ahead not thanks to the skeptics.

            1. David Hicks
              FAIL

              Re: ...it is nonsense, and deserves absolute skepticism...

              >> But science has gone ahead not thanks to the skeptics.

              Remember, they laughed at Bozo the clown, too.

              Actually, skepticism is a very important part of the scientific process. Blindly believing anything and everything is not useful.

              1. Marshalltown
                Pint

                Re: ...it is nonsense, and deserves absolute skepticism...

                That includes "scepticism" when it passes from doubt to absolute belief and the protection of dogma at the expense of knowledge.

  39. Anonymous Coward
    FAIL

    The route of Scepticism

    I can understand why people would be sceptical, and there's plenty of those than can prove otherwise.

    However, isolate the cause behind his assertions:

    Why he's being so secretive?

    Money, Power, or something else?

    Money:

    Why do people have trade secrets? To make Money.

    Patents were invented to protect trade secrets.

    Trademarking, patenting, copy-writing etc.. them in 3 areas, US & Europe & China would cost little.

    Even if the rest of the world stole the idea, he would still become the richest man (and the most wanted dead) in the world. Hell, even if he did it just in the US, he would still be rich.

    Power:

    Sole producer in the world, gatekeeper - see above.

    Fame / Notoriety?

    Fame would work if he gave it all away.

    Notoriety would work if he doesn't have a product - see all pyramid schemes.

    I personally, don't buy it, however much internally I would want this.

    So, what is the catch to all this? prohibitive cost? Laws of physics?

    Energy in 306w, Energy out 2k, cost to produce, £100,000 of unobtainium.

  40. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "...with an industrial trade secret [or special] waveform..."

    "Special" waveforms are the refuge of charlatans.

    For example Taser International and their ever-changing-with-each-revision "special" taser waveforms that are "safe" (*).

    (* not really)

  41. SeanEllis

    Having read the paper...

    ...I am concerned about several points:

    1. Why didn't they use standard calorimetry approaches, rather than just measuring the surface temperature of the device?

    2. The device uses a "custom waveform" to drive the heaters. Since power meters can be sensitive to wave shape, is there a possible measurement error here?

    3. The input power was measured using clamp ammeters on the input to the regulator. What measures were taken to isolate them from external magnetic fields? Was the cable inspected afterward to confirm that it is as it seems (and isn't, for example, a pair of coaxial cables carrying more current). And what measures were taken to ensure that the regulator had no additional power inputs?

    4. In the second test, the device was taken away to be emptied. The difference in weight before and after is small, which exacerbates the estimated power density enormously. What measures were taken to ensure that the device was actually emptied, and that the remaining mass was inert?

    It seems that they are testing the claim in good faith, but I would like to see the involvement of someone who can help to eliminate the possibility of actual fraud.

    1. SeanEllis
      Black Helicopters

      Re: Having read the paper...

      There's another interesting piece towards the end of the second test. It says:

      "At [full power from one phase], the heat produced from the resistor coils alone determined an average

      surface temperature (flange and “top” excluded) of almost 300 °C, very close to the average one found in the same areas of the E-Cat HT2 during the live test."

      This allows for an input power measurement error to be the sole cause of the apparent over-production of energy.

      1. AlB

        Re: Having read the paper...

        Yes, but power was only on 35% of the time rather than 100% of the time in the dummy run. The plots show the on/off cycles very clearly.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Having read the paper...

          > Yes, but power was only on 35% of the time rather than 100% of the time in the dummy run

          Nope. All you know is that the power on one of the many possible inputs was only on 35% of the time.

          The measurement setup for the experiment is incomplete, and therefore the results are void.

  42. Fred Goldstein
    Holmes

    Patentts trump trade secrets

    The red flag should be that he is keeping it a trade secret. Patents exist in order to allow inventors to disclose their inventions while keeping the rights to them. This would be a real invention, none of that software patent hockey puck. So he could file a patent application, establishing his first-to-file rights, and then immediately disclose the "secret" for scientific review. But he doesn't.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Patentts trump trade secrets

      He could even keep it secret and just have a decent experimental setup; it would be enough to convince the naysayers. Patent or trade secret is just how you commercialize it, but that's not excuse for sloppy science.

  43. Jaymax
    Headmaster

    Reputations...

    Torbjörn Hartman: a senior research engineer at a nuclear particle physics lab http://www.tsl.uu.se/

    Roland Pettersson: Chemist, senior lecturer http://katalog.uu.se/empInfo/?languageId=1&id=XX1360

    Bo Höistad: Professor, nuclear physics http://katalog.uu.se/empInfo/?languageId=1&id=XX1060

    Lars Tegnér: Professor, electrical engineering http://katalog.uu.se/empInfo/?languageId=1&id=N9-1431

    ...

    And basically Uppsala University as an institution, if it turns out Rossi managed to dupe the four of them.

    1. bonkers
      Thumb Up

      Re: Reputations...

      Why did you get downvoted for well-researched unbiased input?

      Its easy to say that these people are idiots, they clearly aren't - though it is possible they have been duped.

      I'm rather hoping they haven't.

    2. fajensen

      Re: Reputations...

      Not good at all: The lecturers should produce better work than what they (one hopes) would send their students off to repeat and rewrite!

      ... And why not cheat and also measure the electricity consumption before the socket?

  44. sisk

    Probably snake oil, but...

    IF....wait, hold on....IF....nope, still not a big enough if.

    Anyway, if he's actually invented ColdFusion in a box he would be wise to keep its inner working secret for as long as possible. If he can prove that it works and start selling it before he has to reveal how it works he stands to make a fortune. If not....well, how much did Tesla make off the radio?

  45. Schultz
    Boffin

    The big problem is:

    All nuclei we commonly find on earth are very stable. (That is, stable on cosmic timescales!) If there are very exergonic nuclear reactions involving common reagents (nickel and hydrogen are fairly common), then those reactions must have quite a large reaction barrier -- else they would have occurred long ago. How they can hope to drive such reactions with some hand-waving and black-box secret electromagnetic waveforms baffles me. Variants of cold fusion (and <1000 °C is cold in this context) were tried many times before and always failed. The only working approach to-date is pyroelectric fusion, and that just uses large electric fields to accelerate the reacting nuclei.

    I'll definitely have to call some colleague from Uppsala tomorrow to make fun of him!

    1. MacroRodent
      Boffin

      Re: The big problem is:

      > If there are very exergonic nuclear reactions involving common reagents (nickel and hydrogen

      > are fairly common), then those reactions must have quite a large reaction barrier -- else they

      > would have occurred long ago.

      But pure forms of either element are very rare in nature, because they oxidise quickly. A situation mixing pure nickel and hydrogen under heat and pressure would never occur without human activity. So I don't find this counter-argument completely convincing. (That does not mean I believe in cold fusion, either):

      1. Kanhef

        Re: The big problem is:

        For nuclear reactions, it doesn't matter what chemical compound the atoms involved are part of. Having pure elements makes controlling the reaction easier (so you aren't also turning oxygen into fluorine, for example), but isn't necessary.

  46. Thatvoiceinmyhead
    WTF?

    "Trade Secret." Really?

    So if he wants this to be taken at all seriously, why does he not Patent the damn "Trade Secret" to protect it and his investment and (presumed) $multi-gazillion future earnings and let man, woman and dog properly review the tech for themselves? That is, after all, what Patents are for.

    1. Marshalltown
      Devil

      Re: "Trade Secret." Really?

      Patents have a limited life. Trade secrets are for as long as yo can keep them.

  47. Trustme

    WIred covered this a month and a half ago - http://www.wired.co.uk/news/archive/2013-03/30/rossi

    Surprised the Reg haven't made any mention of the open-source project that's running alongside it that anyone can contribute to and test for themselves (MFMP)

    1. David Hicks
      Stop

      Interesting. I'd stumbled across the Celani character when reading about this stuff before.

      However it's the same tune as it always is with LENR, ORBO, whatever revolutionary new energy paradigm you want to talk about - the real, scientific tests are just around the corner now, any day, we'll have some real results for you in just a few more weeks.

      I don't doubt that some of the people involved here earnestly believe this stuff (I do have my doubts that Rossi does...) but I'm a long way from convinced they're on to anything.

  48. Steve I
    Go

    If I invented a real cold fusion machine ...

    ...anyone who didn't believe me could just take a flying fuck at a rolling doughnut. I'd be busy flogging it to the energy companies for more money than I would know what to do with.

  49. c4m1k4z3
    Facepalm

    it doesn't work

    without magnetohydrodynamics

  50. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I have a theory

    It could simply use some soft beta isotope such as K-40, enriched by some as-yet-handwavium method from natural potassium or simply a lot of centrifuges.

    This when hit with his proprietry waveform (possibly T-rays) induces isomeric decay, similar to hafnium 178m or tantalum 180m, the somewhat higher energy gamma rays then decouple into the nickel which transmutes into copper.

    IOW its not cold fusion but involves a chain of low energy nuclear transitions.

    AC/DC and if this is actually how it works I will be amazed.

  51. jamesb2147
    Pint

    Minor note: it looks like they're already set up for battery power; one photo shows the interior of the cargo containers pretty clearly with what appear to be batteries inside. It looks like far more than they need, but they could slightly modify the setup to meet much of the criticism here. I look forward to reading about the next round of observations. :)

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