It is now a long time I’m following progresses of the energy catalyzer proposed from Andrea Rossi and Sergio Focardi; the audience is wondering if we are facing with a real scientific discovery or something else.
Just to explain to who is not inside the topic I say the energy catalyzer, also known as E-CAT, is a cold fusion Nickel-Hydrogen reactor which invention is based on the past experience in the field of the emeritus professor Sergio Focardi of the University of Bologna and on the catalyzer found from the entrepreneur-engineer Andrea Rossi. He is the inventor of the “Method and Apparatus for Carrying Out Nickel and Hydrogen Exothermal Reactions” with production of copper. International patent demand no. WO2009/125444 is pending and Italian Patent Office has already been issued on April 6th, 2011 the final patent no. 0001387256.
The process of the energy production is like the following, as described by the same Focardi: “the hydrogen is heated at a given temperature with a simple resistor. When the ignition temperature is reached, the energy production process starts: the hydrogen atoms penetrate into the nickel and transform it into copper.”
How the energy catalyzer works is explained by Andrea Rossi himself in the following youtube video.
It is easy from the given data to calculate that the reactor produces five times the input energy (the change of weight of the water reservoir allows to measure the energy produced). The energy is mainly released in the form of heat. It is said the reactor in the full regime is able to produce until twenty times the input energy, although the stability at high regimes is questioned.
A public demonstration and discussion of the energy catalyzer has been done at the University of Bologna few months ago (the first part of the youtube video is here). Unfortunately constraints have been imposed to the investigators because of patent protection issues, so that the measurements have been limited; for example the spectrum of the gamma radiation from the chamber has not been measured. However, Francesco Celani from INFN of Frascati observed two distinct gamma peaks at the switch-on and switch-off of the apparatus and a local 50% increase of unstable gamma radiation was measured albeit almost negligible presence of couples beta+/beta- was found. Also, the nature of the catalyzer has not been revealed because patent request is pending. The important fact is that in order to reject possible fraud accusations, the independent researchers at the University of Bologna demonstration have excluded that some other energy source is hidden inside the reactor. Other independent swedish researchers have found large quantity of Copper (atomic number=29) in the pristine pure Nickel (atomic number=28) powder to support the fact that the cold fusion process really happens.
However, until now more than one is skeptical to the results of the experiments. Next time, I will say what are the most important criticisms to which the E-CAT has been exposed.