This a little “relax after getting home” exploration of a corner of Planet Rossi, involving Mats Lewan — but, it turns out, only very peripherally –, Frank Acland’s interview of Andrea Rossi just the other day (June 11), and some random comments on E-Cat World, easily categorized under the time-wasting “Someone is wrong on the internet.”
On the way home from ICCF-21, I listened to Ruby Carat’s interview of Mats Lewan, which she had mentioned to me at the Conference. Her podcast page.
It was an appalling example of Brain Dead. Lewan has plenty of opinions, often stated with hedges, but, as became obvious well before Rossi v. Darden was settled last year, he was not following the facts in that case, “fact” in meaning attested documents and sworn testimony, not merely opinions of possibly biased individuals. (In court, generally, opinion is not admissible evidence unless the person is recognised by the Court as an expert. But parties may submit arguments in motions that are not attested fact, and Rossi definitely presented deceptive arguments in his filings … which was not a legal problem for him, something that some Rossi followers did not understand, thinking that his filings were proof.
Only attestations under penalty of perjury have the kind of authority I am referring to. Which includes documents filed attested to be true copies, say of emails received, or statements in depositions under oath.
Lewan followed the bane of all lazy journalists: “He said, she said,” as if the job of a journalist were to simply report opinions. No, the real job is to report fact and let the reader sort it, and when opinion is reported, to report it as such (i.e., as a “fact” that the “opinion of So-and-So” was expressed). As well, then, to ask questions to elucidate fact.
The problem is not that opinion is reported, but, in fact, here, that Lewan chucked the entire controversy out the window as if it was all about opinions, instead of facts, and he actually proceeds on his blog, to deny facts and to support opinions and claims, while claiming that facts reported by others are merely opinion, allegedly biased. That’s fake news.
Today, I received a Discuss notification that Lewan joined an E-Cat World discussion, Risks and Rewards For Businesses to Adopt The E-cat. So I read it. This was based on a prior post, Interview with Andrea Rossi on E-Cat Commercialization. Frank Acland’s interview was good, within the world-view of Planet Rossi. He asked good questions from within that general story that what Rossi Says is Truth. Acland’s understanding of some issues is not strong, or if it is, he keeps his mouth shut.
There was one point in the interview where Rossi was clearly deceptive, except that (as with much that Rossi says), the problem is of interpretation. Rossi was talking about the issue of operating permits, originally for the usage of his devices for electric power generation. He points out (correctly, I believe) that this will be simpler for heating applications. But then he claims that the E-Cat (i.e., the 1 MW plant) was already permitted in Florida. The fact is that there were two actions relating to that, if I have it right. One was a permit to operate a boiler, certainly based on a representation that the power of the boiler was far below 1 MW. At one point I wrote extensively about this. A 1 MW boiler would have been illegal without very special permitting, which was not done. 1 MW boilers are very dangerous! The other was a clearance from the radiation protection agency, which, of course, was trivial: no radiation observed or expected.
An actual 1 MW plant would probably have failed permitting, for many reasons. Acland let this slide by, but, quite simply, he is a cheerleader, not an investigative journalist. Lewan was such at one point, but has become a cheerleader also, dismissing not only the expected anti-LENR potshots, but also fact-based critique, and has generally avoided discussion with those who are knowledgeable. Knowledge will appear to him as “bias.”
From Acland’s summary of the interview:
The 100 kW E-Cat SK is still under development, and will undergo tests of months in length before they decide whether it is ready for commercialization.
Rossi revealed, in effect, that long-life testing had not been done. Rossi claimed to expect that he would be installing E-Cat SK plants for industrial customers by the end of this year (2018), less than six months. These could not possibly have been life-tested. Rossi’s business plan involves, he claims, no risk for the customer, who can return the plant. No contracts have been seen, but what is claimed:
The price that customers will pay for heat will depend on each specific situation, but Rossi states that it will be at between a 30 to 50 per cent discount compared to a customer’s current fuel costs.
It’s actually a brilliant model. In fact, I suggested it at least two years ago, as I recall, that Rossi could, if he had what he claimed to have, sell power to, say, heating co-ops in Sweden, using sealed, remote-operated 1 MW plants. No charge, Andrea, enjoy! There is an important word in that, “if.”
What would the actual cost be? From a quick search, I came up with 1.8 cents per kw-h for natural gas. On ECW, most discussion is thinking of electrical power, which is as low as about 8 cents per kW-h, depending greatly on location. (Correction of these figures is quite welcome). Based on the natural gas figure, the cost to the customer would be 0.9 to 1.2 cents per kW-h.
(Frank asked Rossi about his guess of 30 to 50 percent, but Rossi answered with “one-third to one-half”) Small point, ten percent error. It is common for Rossi to feed question guesses back to the inquirer as something the inquirer might readily believe. Or is this true?)
The contract cost to “J.M. Chemical Products” (for the Doral plant) was $1000/MW-day. That would be a bit more than four cents per kW-h. In theory, this is an attractive price.
The problem of waste heat was ignored. That is, if the customer need declined, there was no reduction in delivered power, if power could not be throttled back, that’s a major problem! The 1 MW plant was actually a pile of much smaller reactors, computer-controlled, allegedly, and should thus be easy to throttle back, while still operating individual reactors or reactor assemblies at an efficient level.
There are other severe problems with the ideas, I’ll get to those later, but for the Doral plant, we know — this is not speculation or guess or opinion — that the Doral “customer” was a shell corporation entirely controlled by Rossi, de facto. IH deliberately avoided sending the requested invoices, which could have strengthened certain aspects of Rossi’s claims. IH was already terminally suspicious, and Rossi has a Rule: never deal with those who are suspicious. The snakes!
Further, had the Doral plant actually functioned, and without a heat exchanger (which would normally be a cooling tower), heat levels in the warehouse would have been fatal. If Mats Lewan doubts that, he should read the testimony of Rossi’s own expert,
Wrong, er, Wong. As discovery in the lawsuit was about to close, Rossi claimed to have built a heat exchanger (not the big black box in the “Customer Area,” but up on the warehouse mezzanine.) Long story short, I’m fairly well convinced that Lukacs, the Rossi attorney who engineered the settlement, who was new to the case, realized that Rossi was not only in a nose-dive if the case went to trial, for a finding of civil fraud (over the mess in Florida!) he was in serious risk of a perjury conviction over the heat exchanger, which most of his other deceptions did not qualify for.
“I know it’s unfair, Dr. Rossi, but I know how the juries might see this evidence, and it looks bad. Next time, keep receipts for your amazing invisible, silent, air-cooled heat exchanger, and take photos! By the way, you could sell those!”
The discussion on ECW does not consider the most likely scenario: a customer likely already has gas-fired boilers, so backup power is already in place, they would merely drop a container in a convenient location and run steam pipes and valves to switch from EC power to gas-fired if needed. The systems could be in series. My opinion is that the customer, in a sane system, would be able to shut down power modules in the plant. They would not need to have access to the plant interior to do that.
However, the customer would still have start-up costs, unless Rossi covers those, actually paying for installation. Going back to the Doral plant, Rossi claimed in his pitch to Industrial Heat over the Doral installation that the plant cost $200,000 to build. For an overview here, we need to realise that Rossi was claiming to have a commercial plant ready for installation and delivery in late 2011, and it was actually delivered in 2013. In the settlement, Rossi got that plant back. It was already computer controlled, mostly (that was Fabiani’s job), and adding full computer, remote control, would theoretically be easy and relatively cheap. There were actually two plants, the one actually used and another that was for backup. After getting them back, Rossi claims he dismantled them, thus tossing away what he had claimed was worth $1000 per MW-day, in favor of an allegedly superior QX technology. (Remember, these plants were assemblies of many reactors, and individual ones could have been taken apart and analyzed. Nobody asks Rossi the inconvenient questions.)
These new plants are 100 kW, though. Let’s figure $30,000 including installation. Power is sold at, say, one cent per kWh. At 100 kW, this is $1 per hour, or $720 per month. That is almost 30% ROI per year. Good, but not spectacular, especially after operating expenses are considered. Rossi will need investors or sources for loans to do much of this. (The Doral plant supposedly paid for itself within the year). Once on has a revenue stream from a few truly independent customers, it should be possible to borrow the money to expand the installed base.)
My overall conclusion became quite clear: Rossi did not actually have true deliverables. Lewan focuses on “no proof” that the Doral plant didn’t work, but he ignores the obvious: if it worked, it was at far below the claimed power, so that engineering report was garbage.
Lewan is aware that the Stockholm QX test was completely inadequate, but somehow he soldiers on, accepting all the excuses offered as if plausible when they are clearly designed to appeal to ignorance and wishful thinking.
There are many idiocies in the comments on the interview, from someone who thinks that if someone gets a 30 or 50 percent discount, what is left is 69 or 49% “profit for Rossi”. Unclear on many concepts.
Or that the cost to compare with is that of electrical power (he uses 11 cents per kWh).
The next post about Risks and Rewards focuses on the cost figure as “most interesting.” Nobody appears to actually do the math.
That is the first time we have had even a ballpark number about how much the E-Cat would cost. It will be interesting to see how tempting that number will be to industrial customers. I would imagine that any industry, or any individual for that matter, would take notice if they were told that they could save up to half of their energy bill.
Sure they would. Then if they find out that it operates on unicorn farts, they might lose some interest, unless they can see a full, independent demo. However, Rossi could make the deal no-lose for the customer, with a modest increase in his own risk. He only needs to find one
sucker customer, initially. As long as the customer actually and independently measures the heat, it could then be safe, assuming that this is dropped into an existing boiler system that is kept in place. Boiling water is boiling water.
In the interview, Acland mentioned cogeneration. Rossi seemed confused, but setting that aside, it should be possible to run thermoelectic generators, as an example, with the “waste heat” being delivered as heat. Thermoelectrics are being claimed recently at up to 15-20% efficiency, which, with a well-designed system, perhaps using the inflow water to cool the cold junction and the steam to heat the hot junction, might generate, with no moving parts, a major chunk of the operating power (or even all of it after start-up). I have not noticed that, on ECW, the operating power is considered. I’d assume, for a sane risk-free contract, Rossi would pay for input power, recovering his cost, if the device generates substantial COP, when he sells the heat. While the E-Cats could have been gas-fired, I don’t think that is possible for the QX devices.
In many cases energy savings proposals come with an upfront cost, such as investing in a solar system, or a higher-efficiency furnace/AC unit. But Leonardo’s proposition apparently does not require any initial investment for equipment, since Leonardo will install the E-Cat hardware and will manage the E-Cats remotely at no charge.
There will be disruption required for the customer, which may come at some cost in time, space, and labor. They will have to find space for the E-Cat apparatus, and they will have to make modifications to their plants to incorporate an E-Cat heat source, and that might not be a trivial undertaking. They will also have to maintain a backup heat source and have it on continual standby in case the E-Cat goes offline — so that adds complexity.
If this is done properly (the chances of Rossi doing it properly are what?), with an existing natural gas boiler system, it should be a quite simple plumbing job, with no serious issue if the Rossi system fails, just fire up the gas boiler. That could be automatic, i.e., there would be an automatic control that would maintain boiler temperature and pressure, turning on the gas boiler if those were not maintained by the Rossi system. That might already be in place. Feed it hot water (under modest pressure) it would stay shut off. Safety systems would already exist. (Remember, boilers are way dangerous, a point Jed Rothwell makes all the time.)
One of the standard hilarities on Planet Rossi has that he has often claimed and retained a “nuclear engineer” instead of an HVAC engineer, given that nuclear engineers will have far less expertise in HVAC systems. I cannot think of a single nuclear *known* engineering principle that would apply to the the E-cats, other than the general education they might get in steam systems as used in some nuclear plants.
Also, so far, Leonardo has no commercial track record. LENR is unknown to most people, and certainly not considered a real alternative energy source at this point. The customer cannot be sure how reliable the E-Cat will be. There is the risk that the E-Cat won’t work well for whatever reason, and the time and effort put into installation may not be worth it.
This assumes that Rossi does not make it “risk-free.” In an existing gas-fired boiler system, it should be trivial to install a Rossi system as he has been describing them. So the customer would only need to provide some space for a container or other sealed box, and Rossi’s team would retain a plumber to install it. (It would also need power, which could similarly be installed cheaply and which could be billed to Rossi.) nsider those companies that install solar-electric systems on customer roofs. Like that. All the customer supplies is the space and the grid connection, which they already have.
The customer doesn’t care what is happening inside the sealed box. They will want to have the ability to shut it down when needed, that’s all; and “Please take this away.” They are not likely to do that as long as it is cost-effective to keep it. Even if it fails frequently, they end up ahead.
But “Leonardo has no commercial track record” ? On Planet Earth, he has a long record, apparently the records have not been transferred to Planet Rossi. At ICCF-21, it was suggested I talk with a certain retired engineer who had a long history of working with Rossi, going back before 2000 to the original Leonardo Technologies and the people who later became Ampenergo., around the thermoelectric generator fiasco.
Set rumor aside, just read the record, both of what Rossi has claimed in and about the past, and what was then revealed when it was more (much more) than “Rossi Says,” i.e., authenticated documents and testimony in deposition — by Rossi and others.
Rossi claimed to have a commercial reactor available for sale in 2011. I’m not going into the various times that he allegedly sold it (or maybe sold others), but we know he sold a “1 MW reactor” — probably the only one built — to Industrial Heat in 2012, actually delivered in 2013, later moved to Doral, Florida for the sale of power to a “customer,” which was Rossi inside and out, there is no remaining question about that, but only details such as “Did he claim that the customer was actually Johnson Matthey?” (I’m convinced a jury would have found so, the evidence was overwhelming, from Rossi emails and witnesses, not only IH say-so)
Rossi also had commercial agreements with many people over the years. He clearly lied to either Hydro Fusion or to Industrial Heat over why a test for HF failed. Rossi tells people what he wants them to hear and think, and clearly does so when he would know it is misleading, like the Johnson Matthey issue.
We know how these worked out. Ironically, the people involved in his original working company (Leonardo Technologies, not the later Leonardo New Hampshire or Leonardo Florida) probably made money on investment in the E-Cat, because IH paid them something like $5 million to release the license (with more due if more paid to Rossi). I hear rumors that all may not be well with that affair. Ampernergo would still have license rights even if IH gave them up, I pointed out last year. They were explicitly excluded from the Settlement Agreement.
Not that it matters if the technology is worthless.
It think it will be interesting to see whether the savings offered by Leonardo will be attractive enough for customers take them up on their E-Cat proposition.
It is quite clear to me that if Rossi had functional reactors, he could have done this years ago. If he does not do it (or release products to the market), I will continue to conclude that he doesn’t have what he has claimed. That does not mean that he has nothing, but given all the history, I find the possibility much more likely, that the whole thing has been a Rossi fantasy or fraud. Pick your favorite. It may have had a kernel of truth, but Rossi has so obscured it all by deceptions and massive exaggeration, still continuing, that it’s crazy to invest much in continuing to watch Rossi. He always claimed “in mercato veritas,” so I suggest we call him on that. He’s quite right, it should be much easier to sell risk-free power than expensive devices, initially.
Mats Lewan Oystein Lande • a day ago
I think solar and LENR could be an interesting combination in many applications, for example in electric vehicles. LENR would reduce the need for battery capacity to what’s needed for distributing peak demand, and it would eliminate the need for recharging, since charging can be done continuously. […]
Not bad. I stayed for a week with my son after ICCF-8, and he has a Chevy Volt. Amazing little car. We really don’t know enough — as to what is confirmed — about practical LENR applications to make judgments based on efficiency, etc. However, the technology that strikes me as likely is hydrogen or biofuels. The latter might seem to be polluting, because of carbon emissions, but, in fact, the production of the fuels compensates for that by pulling carbon out of the atmosphere. This is really a form of solar power applied through photosynthesis and it’s nice to be around! The Volt has a gasoline-powered generator, which could be adapted for biofuels. I don’t see LENR as being likely to be efficient for that, and it could create substantial waste heat which is, long-term, a pollutant. (All engines would do this, but electric motors are, I believe, more efficient and the fuel could be produced in places where the heat is not a problem or is even a benefit.
Notice the fuel flexibility.
This is quite funny:
cashmemorz • 3 days ago
So, all things considered, any potential customer would have to take several things into consideration. Some of those are detailed by Frank Acland. Also, as was mentioned by RENE in the topic preceding, the first thing to take into consideration, is “verify, verify.”
Unclear on the concept of making it completely safe for the customer. The customer will only need to have indications — and guarantees — that the Rossi Thing will not blow up his facility. Nothing needs to be verified before installation, other than harmlessness. So what if Rossi is faking it with, say, concealed deliveries of fuel or all that. With an existing heating plant, there should be instrumentation in place already to be able to verify fuel usage.
There has not ever been any history to look at where a LENR device has supplied heat to a real business.
That’s correct. By the way, how do we know this is a “LENR device”? Because Rossi Says? What’s the “ash”? How much of it is there?
The point I am making here is that the business plan would almost certainly work if Rossi actually has commercial devices capable of reliable operation, as he has been claiming since 2011. So if those applications don’t appear, or something better, my conclusion is simple: they don’t exist. It’s an elaborate fantasy. Very elaborate, by the way, very unusual, outside our normal experience, which is one reason it fools so many.
People have said that to sue Industrial Heat, Rossi would have to be crazy. My answer is — probably — “Yes, he would.” After settling, Rossi invented a great story about how he got what he really wanted. But what he really wanted was to escape from fantasy restrictions. Rossi was not prevented from continuing to develop his technology by the IH Agreement. He may have believed he sold it too cheap, and therefore did not actually disclose the “secret.” But that secret, if real, was worth a trillion dollars a year. In return for $100 million — which he’d have received if he actually had a manufacturable technology and had disclosed it as he promised — he was obtaining support from experts with massive connections, probably not obtainable with his history otherwise. Instead he screwed them over, that becomes quite clear. That is his “commercial history,” and if anyone has a need to know, I strongly suggest they study the Rossi v. Darden case records, which are authoritative. And, yes, set aside the IH story and the Rossi story and become familiar with the facts.
But nobody needs to know that to accept an agreement to install a “Mystery Power Plant” in the steam loop for an existing gas-fired boiler, excepting only safety concerns (which could readily be addressed, supplemented by insurance). The irony here is that had the Doral plant been working as claimed, it would have been deadly, but simply from the heat, though steam explosion could have been another danger. To be sure, if a plant is known to be delivering 100 KW, it would be illegal in many jurisdictions, unless rigorously approved, so Rossi’s cavalier attitude about permits could be the fly in the ointment here. Scale down, is what I’d suggest. Rossi got away with the plant in Florida by representing the power input, not the output.
The year long test is questionable in that regard. That year long test may even be the point showing that there was something unreal about Rossi’s heat supply.
What I would want to see, as a potential customer, is a working pilot plant similar to the one to be working close to my facilities, and an expert of my choosing who would get to see the inside workings of that pilot plant. Knowing Rossi’s history, I doubt Rossi will allow that.
The concern would be safety. To address that, Rossi would need to set up demonstration plants with expert review, and, yes, experts like UL would want to know everything about the interior of the plant. But Rossi will need to eventually face this problem. He cannot keep it secret from everyone and still sell it.
Talking to Rossi’s experts would get some info depending on how much Rossi allows. In that case, the customer will have to go by second hand evidence or by touch and feel. So in the end take a calculated risk. The customer may just look at the character of the supplier. If they like that, then they make a deal based on just that. Looking at Rossi’s facilities may give the impression of a well organized research and development organization.
Hilarious. But it will make no difference. Some customers may not care about regulatory issues (permits). Rossi may scale the plants down so that they are less than the maximum for permit waiver. And then install multiples. I don’t see any sign that Rossi is close to any of this.
Industrial Heat had been promised another $150 million (from Woodford Fund) if needed for commercialisation, and there would have been more money like that, accessible to them. With actual products, available demonstration models for independent study (as happened with Boeing with the Rossi design), and if they actually worked, they could have raised billions, easily.
Mats really should read those case records. If he were to ask me to guide him through them, I would, they are voluminous.
And that is still a calculated risk. What else is there to look at? What other’s, such as Brillouin, are doing may be a more solid company to consider for that heat. The first customers may already be getting energy from someone else
I don’t see anyone close. The grandest idea at this time in the LENR community is the hybrid fusion-fission reactor concept, which I don’t see as being much more than a wild idea at this time. Interesting, in fact.
But also a quite dangerous possible product, appropriate for space flight, and it is that which is interesting NASA. I have no clue that this has been demonstrated.
Brillouin is showing some modest results. It was interesting to see Rossi, in the interview, claim that the rest of the field had nothing to do with his ideas. In the trial, he made noises that he suspected his secrets had been stolen and were being revealed to his competitors by IH. Especially Brillouin, since Darden had a small investment there.
Yet he does think that the renaissance in the field was a result of his work. It’s just as possible that his work was retarding the field, which was already due for a renaissance. He was, in this line of thinking, suppressing investment and support for researchers working with a few watts.
But that’s unverifiable suspicion.