Rossi Cautioned About Dangers of 1MW Plant

Jed Rothwell of the Vortex-l mailing list and administrator of the cold fusion library  at has cautioned Andrea Rossi about the potential dangers and other problems concerning his 1MW plant, which is scheduled to begin testing on October 28.  I think his comments reflect concerns echoed by many across numerous forums over the last couple of weeks.  We would all like to see undeniable proof of the cold fusion and its embodiment in the e-Cat but I share the reservations expressed by Mr. Rothwell and others.

“I think Rossi is saying that the demonstration will be the first time he turns on all units in the big reactor. In my opinion, the chances of it working the first time are between zero and none, in my opinion. That is not to say it cannot work, but only that an untested machine of such complexity is bound to have problems. This is not the Chicago Pile-1. That was much simpler and it was well understood theoretically.

I told Rossi that I think the machine may be very dangerous, that I do not think he has permission from the government to turn it on, and that it would take a team of expert engineers months to turn this on, gradually working their way up from running 1 reactor to 2, 3 and so on. I urged him not to do this test, because it is dangerous, foolhardy, and has no scientific significance at all. It proves nothing that a kilowatt-scale test does not prove.

He did not respond to me, but I suspect he had me in mind on some of his remarks here about “lecturers of calorimetry and engineering.” For the record, in my opinion telling someone they should insert an SD card into a SD-capable meter does not rise to the level of “lecturing” about calorimetry or engineering. It is more like what you would tell a 7th grade student in a science class. The fact that he did not do this is a strong indication that he is not qualified to test a novel, untried, 1 MW nuclear reactor. He says some other unnamed “customer’s consultant” will do the test. There is not enough time between now and the end of the month for a consultant to design a reasonable test that meets minimum requirements for safety and calorimetry. Unless this consultant has been working on the project for months, and has spend hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars preparing, this consultant is not qualified to do this, and in my opinion the authorities should not allow it.

Steam production at 1 MW is terribly dangerous. A steam explosion from that could easily flatten a building and kill dozens of people.”

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9 Responses to Rossi Cautioned About Dangers of 1MW Plant

  1. Peter Roe says:

    Some speculation just to fill in the current news void. (just flying a kite!). I floated the bones of this suggestion piecemeal on ecatnews but that has now drifted downstream as new posts were added soon after. Below are three QAs from Rossi.

    ‘Have you a water tank to supply the Plant? Or the water will be get from the city water pipe?’
    “The steam will be condensed in dissipaters and recycled to the plant”

    ‘I noticed the large pump you have on the exterior of the cargo container. Can it supply water flow to only a few ECATS at a time?’
    “We have divided the plant in 2 sections, each of 500 kW, each with its own dissipator.”

    ‘Have you finalized the exact temperature range(s) you will use in the E-Cat commercially?’
    “very wide, we will use diathermic oil in the primary, to allow a wide range of choices”

    It is obvious that the 1 MW container unit will have to ‘feed’ something on the 28th – a plant item that will be able to accept the output from the container, and either use the energy in some way or dissipate it to atmosphere or to a water flow. This implies a second, possibly containerised, unit placed adjacent to the output end of the 1 MW unit. Such a unit could be ‘wheeled in’ at the last minute if its content would give too much away.

    Like many here I have watched Rossi’s answers to questions over some time, and even given his imperfect English I think that he is something of a master at ‘politicians answers’ – appearing to answer a question, but in fact referring to something else in a way that leaves the reader to infer exactly what he wants inferred. So I’m wondering if some of his recent replies are of this ilk – to be specific, whether his references to water/steam recycling, the ‘dissipators’ etc. may actually refer to a second unit which, because it will be delivered with the part we have seen, could therefore be considered to be a part of the plant. We are left with the inference that the reactor unit will produce steam, apparently confirmed by the recent test of a ‘module’ taken from it being used to generate steam. But perhaps this is not the case.

    The main problem with the idea that the 1 MW unit will be run as a huge boiler is the size of the two ‘output’ pipes, which seem too small to handle the steam that a megawatt of power would produce. I understand that calculations show that steam speed in the pipes would be supersonic, and apart from anything else this would produce a back pressure on the e-cat modules which could run to several atmospheres – something they are clearly not designed to handle. Many people have raised concerns about the safety of such an arrangement.

    On I suggested that in fact the 1MW unit might instead use oil cooling (which may or may not be confirmed by Rossi’s 3rd reply above) and Tom Anderson worked out that if the oil reached 400C then an oil flow rate of just 1.5 litres/s or so would be sufficient to carry away 1 MW of thermal output. That works out at just a couple of litres/min per module or so, meaning that even a 10mm ID insulated pipe could carry the necessary flow. The various oil cooling pipes, filters, valves etc required could quite easily reside behind the ranks of modules, and in fact some small bore pipework is visible at the front of the modules in photos and videos.

    If the ‘fat cat’ module is designed for use with high temperature oil cooling (the inside layout is certainly compatible with his idea) then running it as a steam generator as in the demo on the 6th, would have severely compromised its operation, especially if no level control system was available to keep the water under the cooling fin level. This could explain the apparent difficulty with kicking the exothermic reaction off, the slight instability and especially the relatively low output throughout the test.

    So how about this:

    The 1 MW unit will operate with diathermic oil cooling on the 28th, the two 60mm pipes being the commoned flow and return connections for the oil. These will connect via short insulated pipes to a second container housing a diathermic oil boiler. Use of an oil boiler would allow production of pressurised steam which could be used to drive turbines for power generation etc, but for the test it will be connected to a couple of 500 kW air or water cooled ‘dissipators’ to dump the heat and recycle the water, these also being housed in the second container. All calorimetry can be carried out by instrumenting the hot oil flow, so no measurement of the water flow in the oil boiler or of steam production etc. would be necessary (oil boilers are standard commercial units with known specifications).

    This arrangement would obviate the safety concerns about producing steam in the 1 MW unit, would seem to be technically feasible, and is more or less consistent with Rossi’s statements, if we assume a little puposeful misdirection.

    Any takers?

  2. georgehants says:

    It is a shame that the test on the 28th. is private, but hopefully some news will creep out.
    Will be a lot of interested people waiting.

  3. georgehants says:

    Rossi is wonderfully eccentric but I feel sure (I hope) that he has it all under control.
    Is it confirmed that the unit we saw is the only one he has.
    So far all seems o.k.

    Andrea Rossi
    October 16th, 2011 at 4:10 PM
    Dear Enzo Amato:
    I confirm: on the 28th so far there are no obstacles to run the test. Of course, if in the preliminar tests we are running something will go wrong, we will have to delay. But so far, so good.
    Warm Regards,

  4. From Rossi’s JONP blog:

    Jessica Fulton
    October 16th, 2011 at 2:13 PM

    Dear Mr Rossi,

    I understand that you have not tested the 1 MW power plant yet and are waiting to do so for the customer, however, I was wondering if you have tested all of the individual units that make up the power plant?
    Andrea Rossi
    October 16th, 2011 at 2:14 PM

    Dear Jessica Fulton:
    Yes, and not only the single modules, but we tested all the safety systems, to be sure in any case of the intrinsic safety of the plant. Safety first, obviously.
    Warm Regards,

    • Ben says:

      Thank you for the timely post. But I am still concerned. I feel that simply testing something that complex for the first time in that environment is neither prudent or safe. As Jed stated in his post, I don’t really see how the government is going to allow it. When I saw it sitting in the lot at the last demo I became concerned and that concern remains.

      • Ben: I, too, understand the concerns. Let’s hope Rossi, in concert with the customer, conducts the start-up of the 1 MW reactor in a safe and protected area where, should something go wrong, nobody gets hurt in a steam explosion. That would be a major setback.

      • Jaylene says:

        Most help articles on the web are inaccurate or incoherent. Not this!

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