Criticism, praise and comments on the Swedish-Italian E-Cat report
An earlier critic of energy measurements on the E-Cat so far, Swedish nuclear physicist Peter Ekström, has published his comments on the recent Swedish-Italian report on indications of anomalous heat production in the E-Cat.
Ekström’s comments, which can be found here, focus on a number of issues, ranging from calibration of the input power measurements and the method of thermal output power measurement, to implementation of the null test (running the reactor without fuel) and also an alleged non independence of the authors of the report.
“If the E‐Cat does indeed function as Rossi claims, this would require radical changes in nuclear physics as we know it today (Coulomb barrier, primary gammas, decay of radioactive isotopes). The evidence provided in the report falls far short of indicating that this is the case.”
I obtained a brief answer from Professor Bo Höistad, representative of the authors of the report:
“I would recommend a thorough reading of our paper in which several of Ekström’s questions are answered. Also to be noted is that this is the first test that produced sufficiently interesting results to motivate continued work with further experiments to verify or challenge the results achieved so far. This is the normal procedure in physics when unexpected results occur. There is still much work to be done before we can definitively determine if Rossi’s E-Cat works. We intend to continue this work in the next step.”
I would also like to note some other comments to the report.
Several fierce critics hide behind anonymous pseudonyms, which I believe is unfortunate. An example is this lengthy post by the pseudonym Joshua Cude, arguing that the report is ‘yet another unrefereed, sub-par cold fusion claim to add to the pile of unrefereed sub-par cold fusion claims.’
A few methods for scam have been suggested, among them power input through hidden wires inside the power supply cables thus fooling the clamp ampere meter, hidden power supply with frequencies above the limit of the power measurement analyzer, and hidden power supply through direct current, DC, possibly not detected by the clamp ampere meter.
As for the DC hypothesis, Torbjörn Hartman, co-author of the report has stated:
Remember that there were not only three clamps to measure the current
on three phases but also four connectors to measure the voltage on the
three phases and the zero/ground line. The protective ground line was not
used and laid curled up on the bench. The only possibility to fool the power-
meter then is to raise the DC voltage on all the four lines but that also means
that the current must have an other way to leave the system and I tried to find
such hidden connections when we were there. The controll box had no con-
nections through the wood on the table. All cables in and out were accounted
for. The E-cat was just lying on the metal frame that was only free-standing on
the floor with no cables going to it. The little socket, where the mains cables
from the wall connector where connected with the cables to the box and
where we had the clamps, was screwed to the wood of the bench but there
was no screws going through the metal sheet under the bench. The sheet
showed no marks on it under the interesting parts (or elsewhere as I
remember it). Of course, if the white little socket was rigged inside and the
metal scews was long enough to go just through the wood, touching the
metal sheet underneath, then the bench itself could lead current. I do not
remember if I actually checked the bench frame for cables connected to it
but I probably did. However, I have a close-up picture of the socket and
it looks normal and the screws appear to be of normal size. I also have
pictures of all the connectors going to the powermeter and of the frame
on the floor. I took a picture every day of the connectors and cables to
the powermeter in case anyone would tamper with them when we were
I lifted the controll box to check what was under it and when doing so I
tried to measure the weight and it is muck lighter than a car battery. The
box itself has a weight, of course, and what is in it can not be much.
All these observations take away a number of ways to tamper with our
measurements but there can still be things that we “didn’t think of” and
that is the reason why we only can claim “indications of ” and not “proof
of” anomalous heat production. We must have more control over the
whole situation before we can talk about proof.
My understanding is that a DC current through a load inevitably results in a DC tension over this load which should be detected by the measurement described by Hartman.
By the way, it has been noted that Hartman has a PhD in medical science. I have been told that the reason is that Hartman’s subject, Radiobiology, was given at the faculty of medicine at the time of his research studies. However, he has basically no studies in medicine but graduated in engineering.
It should also be noted that the degree “civilingenjör” in Swedish is a generic term for Master of Science degrees in engineering, and does not correspond to civil engineering.
Among the authors of the report, everyone except Evelyn Foschi has a PhD.
Some comments on the measurements from another of the co-authors, theoretic physicist Hanno Essén from the Swedish Royal Institute of Technology, can be found on Pureenergyblog.com.
An interesting analysis is made by engineering consultant David Roberson who has had a look at the temperature curve over time compared to input electric power. Roberson draws the conclusion the E-Cat must be operated close to a point where run away could occur and that a Coefficient of Performance, COP, of about six, more or less follows from a model he has built from the data.
Earlier analyses by Roberson of measurement data on the E-Cat can be found in my article in Ny Teknik here.
Another comment by Prof Bo Höistad has been published in a comment to a post by Mark Gibbs in the Forbes, and is referred to here. For anyone who would like the original wording in Swedish I have obtained it from Höistad:
1) All input effekt var under full kontroll .
2) Ingen dold energi källa i stativet
3) Den här frågan är bra att du ställer.
I fysiken så kan vi inte ha tro eller magkänska för om ett fenomen uppträder eller inte. Vi måste ta reda på vad som faktiskt föreligger genom noggranna mätningar. Som kärnfysiker kan jag dock direkt säga att, baserat på välkänd kunskap om kärnprocesser är sannolikheten för nukleära omvandlingar som orsak till värmeproduktionen i E-cat försvinnande små. Dessutom om sådana av okänd anledning ändå skulle äga rum skulle de lämna spår efter sig, vilka inte har observerats än så länge.
Vi har velat undersöka om Rossi’s påstådda värmeproduktion kan verifieras i en oberoende mätning. Det första resultatet är att vi fått en indikation på att en värmeproduktion faktiskt inträffar som inte kan förklaras med någon kemisk process. Hur värmeproduktionen går till är höljt i dunkel. Resultatet är givetvis mycket dramatiskt och måste absolut verifieras ytterligare innan några definitiva utsagor kan göras. Vi avser att göra det i ett nästa steg.
Det återstår mycket arbete kvar innan det går att avgöra om Rossi’s E-cat fungerar. Resultaten hittills är tillräckligt intressanta för att fortsätta det arbetet.