Bologna, Italia — Here is a quick status report of my visit to Andrea Rossi’s showroom on Tuesday afternoon and Wednesday to look at his invention which he calls the Energy Catalyzer.
In addition to Rossi, I also came to speak with Sergio Focardi, professor emeritus from the University of Bologna, and Giuseppe Levi, a current member of the University of Bologna department of physics. All three have been actively involved in the experiments and promotion of the E-Cat.
I arrived at the address Dell’Elettricista 6-C, Zona Industriale Roveri on Tuesday at noon. 6-C is one of the suites in a single story building that houses a variety of light industrial companies. The name shown for suite 6-C is Filli Rossi Pneumatica, which translates to Rossi Brothers Tires.
In March, Swedish professors Hanno Essen and Sven Kullander, who came to see the E-Cat, wrote in their travel report that this was a “Leonardo Corporation” building, but there was nothing visible to indicate that.
The large bay door of suite 6-C was open and I saw lots of equipment and a few men inside working. I asked a man for Andrea Rossi and he brought me back outside and around to the back of the building.
I entered a large room, approximately 7,500 square feet in size. Nothing was installed in it and electrical power came into the room from an extension cable. Except for a few dozen folding chairs, a few tables, and a small portable coffee machine (essential in Italy,) the room was barren.
Adjacent to this large room were two smaller rooms. One was a bathroom and next to that, in a room about 80 square feet in size, Rossi’s E-Cat sat on a small table. Two large tanks of hydrogen stood next to it.
I observed and filmed the E-Cat in operation though there was not that much to see. I also recorded several hours of videotaped interviews of Rossi, Focardi and Levi. Details of my investigation, travel report and production of my videos will take a few weeks to complete.
The primary validity of the E-Cat trio’s dramatic energy claim is highly contingent on and derived from the heat output which they calculate indirectly from a claimed full or near-full vaporization of 100-degree water to steam. Complete vaporization of 100-degree water into steam requires the complete absence of suspended water droplets in steam.
The water droplets suspended in the steam may be measured on a volumetric, or possibly, on a mass basis. The difference is crucial, because a measurement by mass has a linear effect on the output enthalpy, and a measurement by volume has more of an exponential effect.
Volumetrically, a mere five percent of water in steam reduces the vaporization enthalpy to a trivial level. Even one percent of water in the steam will make a major reduction in the Rossi-Focardi-Levi claims.
My full report will include a detailed assessment of their methodology, and, as much as they will provide, their data.
The steam and/or water that comes immediately out of the E-Cat is hidden from sight because the outlet from the E-Cat goes directly to a three-meter black rubber hose, which then feeds into a drain in the plumbing system.
On my request Tuesday, Rossi removed the hose from the drain. Before doing so, he carefully lifted the last meter of the hose above the height of the drain, allowed any water in it to flow down the drain for a few seconds, and then removed the hose from the drain, keeping the open end pointed up. I could see some white steam slowly exiting from the hose. He said he had to put it back in the drain quickly, after a few seconds, otherwise it could be dangerous.
Thus far, the scientific details provided by the E-Cat trio have been highly deficient and have not enabled the public to make an objective evaluation. The Essen-Kullander report, while written with confident-sounding language, has significant weakness in its presentation of data and calculations and is highly constrained by the methodology dictated and instrumentation provided by the E-Cat trio.
I discussed the crucial difference in steam enthalpy calculations by mass versus by volume with Levi on Wednesday afternoon. Based on his initial response, I could not be sure if he had previously understood the potential impact.
By the end of our conversation, after I showed him my calculations which displayed one to two orders of magnitude less enthalpy if the measurements had been made volumetrically, he assured me that the measurements had been measured by mass.
I requested and strongly encouraged him to be absolutely sure, and if necessary, get back to me in a week with a correction to his Jan. 21 report. I also asked him if he would be willing to provide me with a copy of Galantini’s steam humidity report from the Jan. 14 experiment by next Wednesday. Levi agreed to my request.
On Wednesday afternoon, I also spoke with Simona Storchi, an officer in the University of Bologna press office and informed her of the general nature of my question about the group’s claim. Storchi also helped arrange a meeting for me Wednesday afternoon with a professor at the university who is an expert on steam.
Levi’s Jan. 21 report stated that Galantini used a device to check that the steam was “completely dry,” however, Levi did not say if, in fact, that Galantini measured completely dry steam. Levi also did not provide clear details about Galantini’s method.
The Essen/Kullander April 3 report of the March 29 E-Cat experiment does provide some details about how the steam was measured for its liquid content. I am in the process of evaluating this information to assess if it reflects a mass or volumetric basis for the measurements. If any readers believe that the given information provides clarity on the method used during the Essen/Kullander experiment, please send me an e-mail right away.
The entire uncertainty about vaporization enthalpy would be moot if the experiments were run with a higher flow rate to keep the output temperature below boiling. Levi apparently did this on Feb. 10-11 and he provided information about his final results to reporter Mats Lewan of Ny Teknik.
Levi has not however, provided Lewan, or anybody for that matter, any information about his data. On Wednesday, I asked Levi for this data, for the second time. This time, he agreed. Levi promised to send me either raw or formatted data from the Feb. 10-11 experiment by next Wednesday.
After I completed my interviews, Rossi left and I packed up my gear and waited outside for my ride. Before I left, two men came over from suite 6-C and took the coffee machine away.