The Rossi Energy Catalyzer - The Next Big Thing?Advertisement:
While not yet a household name, Andrea Rossi and the Rossi Energy Catalyzer has been generating a lot of buzz in the scientific world. These devices are capable of generating large amounts of heat, and therefore energy, via low-energy nuclear reactions (LENR) that create no radioactive waste that must be disposed of. Not only do these devices exploit an energy source previously not known to man, they also use only small amounts of readily available raw material to create this reaction.
How Does Rossi's Energy Catalyzer Work?
While we know the work of Fleischman and Pons inspired the experiments that led to Rossi's breakthrough, the actual mechanism used is currently being protected as a trade secret, at least until the patents files by Rossi go through. What we know for sure is that Ny Teknik, a Swedish tech magazine, reports that a demonstration of the Rossi Energy Catalyzer, or E-Cat, produced close to 10 KW of net power "loaded with one gram of nickel powder pressurized with hydrogen."
Until the patents go through and the science behind the machine is revealed, all we have now are a few facts and a lot of speculation as to what's going on. What is believed to be happening inside the E-Cat is a reaction that transforms nickel into copper. What isn't understood is how this transformation releases large amounts of energy, as similar experiments have revealed nothing remarkable. While many sites speculate as to what is actually happening, we prefer to wait until the actual facts are released.
Demonstrations have shown the technology is indeed viable, and according to Rossi, the cost to produce the unknown catalyzer is only 1 cent per MWh . In comparison, comparable wind power costs nearly 5 cents to produce. This groundbreaking technology could revolutionalize the clean power industry if it is what everyone involved says what it is. As of right now, there's no good reason not to believe it, as industry heavyweights are betting big bucks it's the real deal.
Is It Safe?
After seeing the damage an earthquake caused to Japan's nuclear infrastructure, the first question most people ask about this technology is whether or not it's safe. While the cold fusion technology used in the Rossi Energy Catalyzer is "nuclear" by nature, it is a much safer sort of nuclear reaction. Instead of using highly radioactive materials like uranium or plutonium, nickel powder, hydrogen gas and non-radioactive catalysts are used.
A small amount of radiation is produced by the low energy nuclear reactions occurring in this system, but the amount produced is minute in comparison to normal nuclear energy generators. While nuclear power plants require massive concrete and iron containment units, only 2 centimeters of lead is required to shield the Rossi unit. Additionally, minutes after the Rossi device is turned off, no radiation can be detected in the unit. Contrast this to tradition nuclear power where spent fuel rods remain radioactive for thousands of years and you can see why the E-Cat is generating a lot of buzz.
When Can We Expect to See It In Use?
Sooner than you may think. Defkalion Green Technologies has contracted with Rossi to build a fully operational 1 MW power plant using this technology by late 2011. The 330 units ordered have allegedly already been built and are currently undergoing testing. The enclosure for the one MW plant reportedly only weighs a couple tons and is only a couple meters tall and 3 meters wide.
Rossi has also indicated he would like to have a similar plant up and running in the United States within the same time frame. Ampenergo, a US company with close ties to the United States Department of Energy, is likely going to be the company that brings the Rossi Energy Catalyzer technology to the United States.