[This article is Copyleft 2011 New Energy Times. Permission is granted to reproduce this article in English only so long as the article, this notice and the publication information are included in their entirety and no changes are made to this article.]
[This is the second in a series of reports based on my interviews with Andrea Rossi, creator of a device he calls the Energy Catalyzer, or E-Cat, Sergio Focardi, professor emeritus at the University of Bologna, and Giuseppe Levi, a professor in the university’s Department of Physics, and based on my investigation of their claims of a low-energy nuclear reaction device that produces commercially useful levels of excess heat. The complete list of New Energy Times reports on this topic is here.
This series of reports is about an Italian man and his associates who claim to have discovered and invented an incredible breakthrough in the field of low-energy nuclear reactions. A brief introduction to LENR is available in Chapter 41 of the Wiley Nuclear Energy Encyclopedia.
LENR is a new, evolving energy science that promises great hope for clean energy but has many remaining uncertainties. To the field’s credit, a broad collection of strong experimental evidence and a potentially viable theory have been reported in peer-reviewed journals and international conferences in the last 22 years.
A large percentage of LENR researchers use the materials palladium and deuterium. However, some researchers have found that these are not required (see article #12 here) and that LENR works with nickel and ordinary hydrogen, as well. The reasons for the two approaches appear to stem from differing ideological perspectives.
On Oct. 10, 2007, I visited and interviewed physicist Francesco Piantelli, retired from the University of Siena, in his private laboratory in Siena. I had received a tip that he and his colleagues had reported large excess-heat results with Ni-H gas LENR experiments. I investigated the story and reported my findings on July 10, 2008.
“Piantelli’s discovery [led] to perhaps some of the most astounding low-energy nuclear reaction excess-heat results in the CMNS field: one cell producing 900 MJ of excess heat for 278 days and another cell producing 600 MJ for 319 days,” I wrote.
In that report, I discussed the long history of the work Piantelli and his colleague and former friend Sergio Focardi, retired from the University of Bologna, had published. The list at the end of article #13 in New Energy Times #29 provides references for their publications, which include peer-reviewed papers in Il Nuovo Cimento, the journal of the Italian Physics Society. Among their accomplishments, Piantelli and Focardi successfully defended a critical response from skeptics at CERN, the European center for high-energy physics research.
According to an Italian patent document, serial number MI2008A 000629, Andrea Rossi filed, as a sole claimant, an Italian patent application on April 9, 2008, for a Ni-H gas LENR device.
On Aug. 4, 2008, Rossi filed an international patent application for the device, which he later called the Energy Catalyzer, or E-Cat.
As the drawings below show, Rossi’s imprecise E-Cat form-factor conceptually resembles the much more detailed drawing of Piantelli’s device that appears in Piantelli’s 1995 patent application. Both devices are designed to use nickel powders that interact with hydrogen gas, and both use a fluid, like water, to carry produced heat away from the device’s reaction chamber.
Rossi’s Patent Application Diagram
Piantelli’s Patent Application Diagram
In March 2010, Rossi, along with Focardi, distributed an unpublished, non-peer-reviewed paper, “An New Energy Source From Nuclear Fusion.” No refereed academic scientific journal has published any technical paper from Rossi and Focardi, although the pair has claimed that their paper has been rejected by “journals.” On June 14, New Energy Times asked Focardi in which journals he and Rossi had attempted to publish their paper. Focardi said that the only place they attempted to submit their paper was the arXiv pre-print server (not a refereed journal) and that arXiv had rejected their pre-print.
On Jan. 14, 2011, Rossi, Focardi and Levi organized, promoted, and held a press conference and commercial demonstration of Rossi’s alleged technology. On June 14, 2011, Levi told New Energy Times that, in his opinion, the test on Jan. 14 was “more of a demonstration” than a scientific test. Levi also told New Energy Times that he wrote the press release for Rossi’s demonstration. The press release listed the source of the release not as Rossi or Levi but as the University of Bologna Department of Physics. No press release for Rossi’s demonstration appears on the University of Bologna press Web page. According to a statement from Simona Storchi, a spokeswoman with the University of Bologna press office, there was no press release from the Department of Physics or from the university.
New Energy Times observed the developing story for several months until we visited with and interviewed Rossi, Focardi and Levi on June 14 and 15, 2011. The subsequent and forthcoming New Energy Times reports are and will be shown in this index.
Introduction to Report #2
There could well be something real about the Rossi-Focardi-Levi excess-heat results, but their claimed quantities of excess heat have been exaggerated, possibly by as much as two orders of magnitude. The scientific evidence presented by the group, as well as its diagnostic instruments and analytical processes, has been deficient. Each of these aspects individually as well as collectively raises serious concerns about the group’s claims of producing extraordinary amounts of excess heat. These important technical issues will be the focus of a follow-up report. However, I see no convincing support for the truth of the Rossi group’s claims.
According to his Web site, Rossi was born June 3, 1950. He wrote that he earned a bachelor’s degree in 1973 in the philosophy of science and engineering from the University of Milan’s School of Philosophy.
Andrea Rossi (Photo: S.B.Krivit)
In 1979, he obtained a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from the University of Kensington, in California. That university was determined to be a diploma mill and was shut down by officials in California and Hawaii, according to CBS News. Rossi claims to be an engineer; however, according to CBS, the school was not accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges. There is no evidence that Rossi became licensed anywhere. In some countries, it is a criminal offense to claim to be an engineer without proper certification.
In the 1990s, Rossi attempted to turn industrial waste into oil. For reasons still unclear, this start-up venture didn’t work out, and he ended up bankrupt and in jail. Part of the problem may have been that Rossi collected toxic waste from companies that were more than happy to give it to him rather than pay for its expensive removal. However, the waste accumulated on his property and leached into the groundwater, causing $36 million worth of damage, and he was arrested twice, according to the Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera. He also may have tried to incinerate waste containing heavy metals, which would have released the toxic metals into the atmosphere.
Angelo Saso, a journalist with RAI TV in Italy, wrote to New Energy Times that a civil trial against Rossi continues in Milan.
“The Lombardia region is trying to get back from the chemical companies that were former customers of Rossi at least part of the money (tens of millions of dollars) it has invested in the clean-up efforts,” Saso wrote. “The work to clean the land is still not over.”
Rossi has explained his version of the story on his personal Web site. His well-written story gave me the impression that he was well-intentioned, did nothing wrong, and was merely the subject of persecution from the Italian government and its alleged collusion with the local mafia.
In the early 1990s, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers expected Rossi to produce thermoelectric devices with breakthrough levels of performance, of 800 to 1,000 Watts each, according to the Army report.
The Army’s report states that Rossi had his prototypes tested at the University of New Hampshire, and they produced only 100 Watts of power each. However, before Rossi was able to produce and deliver any devices to the Army, an unexplained fire destroyed his Manchester, New Hampshire, facility. Rossi then attempted to manufacture the thermoelectric devices in Italy, but these modules produced only 1 Watt of power each, two orders of magnitude less than the expectations he gave to the Army.
In 1995, according to an article called “For the Second Time, Handcuffs for Andrea Rossi” in Corriere della Sera, Rossi went to prison after he was convicted of illegal gold trafficking. Rossi also explained this on his personal Web site.
In the last three years, Rossi has asserted that his Energy Catalyzer is a novel invention, that it produces clean carbon-free nuclear heat from a low-energy nuclear reaction process, and that it produces commercially useful amounts of excess heat.
My next report will explore, from a technical perspective, why his claims are flawed. Today’s report will focus on two reasons that his process is fundamentally flawed. The two matters are distinct but interrelated: science by proxy, and evasion of scientific debate.
Science by Proxy: Since January, Rossi, who is not a scientist, has used third-party scientists in Sweden and Italy to make his fundamental claims for him. He used their reports and news quotes to attract further attention and bolster the credibility of his claims.
Evasion of Scientific Debate: On the other hand, when people challenge Rossi to defend his claims in serious scientific discussions, he provides incomplete and unscientific answers and, as his closing arguments, typically responds with a promise of a future technological answer. His stock answer is that the questions from independent scientists are irrelevant and that he will soon deliver a fully operational commercial power plant that will effectively answer fundamental scientific questions to everyone’s satisfaction.
For example, Francesco Celani is a nuclear physicist with the Italian National Institute of Nuclear Physics in Frascati. He had been invited by Rossi to observe a demonstration of Rossi’s E-Cat on Jan. 14, 2011. Celani has worked in the LENR field for two decades and is a well-respected scientist. After he watched the demonstration, he had serious concerns, as he wrote to Rossi on Jan. 25.
“I would like to note the following in order to improve, deeply, [my] understanding of what really happened and obtain a more accurate measurement of energy balance,” Celani wrote.
Rossi replied with a list of vague, unscientific statements. Here is the second half of his brief response to Celani’s question:
“The amount of energy at the output should be obtained also if at 102 Celsius degrees we had just water (which is impossible), not steam. I mean: in the worst imaginable scenario we got our strong surplus respect electrochemical production. This is just a calculation by absurd, because the steam was dry, as calculated by Galantini. And: we will see it better in the plants that are going to be put in industrial operation,” Rossi wrote.
Rossi is not functioning as a professional scientist. Rather, he is operating as a commercial promoter of his business ventures and E-Cat concept and thus cannot be expected to hold to the customary standards and ethics of scientific communication. Academic scientists, however, are expected to adhere to rigorous ethics and must be vigilant to protect and nourish their reputations.
Rossi created a system using the credentials of well-established, respectable scientists to bolster his claims. Once he had accumulated enough endorsements, he developed a highly visible public presence on the Internet with his blog. Through his prolific comments and responses to fans on his blog, and his promises, which lack independent confirmation, he rapidly developed a following of people who have great hope for a radiation-free, waste-free, clean nuclear solution.
But when people on his blog challenged him to answer substantive technical questions, he did not refer them to the scientists who had endorsed his work. Instead, Rossi shielded those scientists and took the heat directly by attempting to answer such questions himself. Rossi moderated all comments on his blog and permitted people to post such questions. Most of the time, his response to serious scientific questions was to assert that his forthcoming 1 megawatt plant will be commercially available in October 2011.
I realized that, if I wanted in-depth, detailed technical answers, I had to ask the scientists who had endorsed Rossi’s claims directly, not Rossi. But the small group of scientists directly involved with Rossi did not answer my scientific questions.
For example, I sent Levi the following e-mail on June 11:
“As you know, I am very interested in your help to understand your 10-11 Feb. 2011 E-Cat experiment. I am also interested to learn more about the 16 Dec. 2010 experiment when you tested the E-Cat.
“I have, at this time, your 21 Jan. 2011 ‘Report on heat production during preliminary tests on the Rossi Ni-H reactor.’
“Can you please tell me if you have available at this time an update to your ‘preliminary’ report from 21 Jan.? If not, when do you expect to have such report available?”
I received no reply.
When I asked Gilberto Galantini for information about steam measurements he made for Rossi, he referred me to Rossi.
“In reference to your email, I cannot give you information with respect to the consulting I performed as a favor for the Leonardo Corporation. I am bound by a non-disclosure agreement. I ask you, therefore, to address your request directly to my customer,” Galantini wrote.
The result of this evasiveness (I will provide more examples when I report on my interviews with Rossi and Levi) on technical issues by Rossi and people around him is a vacuum. No substantive technical data is available that can help outsiders effectively assess the reality of Rossi’s claims of high excess-heat production in his E-Cats.
My Trip to Italy
As a science journalist and a specialist in LENR, I met with Rossi and asked him technical questions. I did the same with Levi and Focardi. In advance of my arrival, I also asked them for their best available experimental data. I told Rossi in advance that I would ask some tough questions about their results, and he said that I should do so, that he was ready for anything I wanted to ask.
I’ve gotten to know Rossi quite well since January; he and I have exchanged many e-mails and a few phone calls. I’ve seen the E-Cat first-hand and seen it, allegedly, working — that is, producing large amounts of excess heat.
The Room Which Rossi Calls His Factory (Photo: S.B. Krivit)
The Room Where Rossi Shows His E-Cat
(Photo: S.B. Krivit)
My news from Bologna, after conducting three hours of videotaped interviews and seeking in-depth answers to my most important technical questions and concerns, is discouraging. I will publish those interviews in the coming weeks. However, the day after I left Bologna, I went to Napoli and visited with three Italian researchers, one of them a brilliant 33-year-old scientist who showed me what appears to be a real working experiment (video forthcoming), real scientific data, and real scientific conference presentations and papers. Once I am finished with the Rossi-Focardi-Levi story, I will report on my new findings from this southern Italian laboratory.
Rossi’s Appeal to the Public and Use of Mass Media
I will devote more space, in this report and my follow-up reports, to explaining how researchers, as well as non-technical fans, have become supporters of Rossi’s excess-heat claims. A lot of this fervor derives from Rossi’s brilliance in capturing the hope and trust of people eager to believe in an energy savior, in a new Italian hero, and in a benevolent philanthropist who would gladly donate his future profits to childhood cancer victims.
Typical examples of the many comments from his fans on his Web site follow:
Keith Thomson, June 22, 2011, at 3:06 p.m.: “I thank you for the many years of work you have dedicated to bringing this technology forward. … You have developed a ‘cold fusion’ device to the point of introduction to the mass market. Congratulations.”
Manik Sahai, June 21, 2011, at 6:31 p.m.: “Congratulations on your fantastic invention and discovery! Best wishes from [India].”
C. Vissani, May 1, 2011, at 2:33 a.m.: “Congratulations for the game-changing discovery. Energy is life. The Energy Catalyzer will provide unlimited clean energy and will once again prove that human intellect is the most powerful force of the universe. This discovery opens the doors to innovations that we can’t even think about and will finally help clear the path to humanity’s conquest of true freedom including the eventual colonization of space. Let the reconstruction begin. Amen!”
Rossi’s promotional activities have been helped along for months by an Italian blogger named Daniele Passerini, who has been personal friends with Levi for 30 years, since they went to junior high school together in Perugia. Passerini blogged about the Rossi-Focardi-Levi Jan. 14 press conference and E-Cat demonstration as they took place. Rossi has also been assisted by technology journalist Mats Lewan, who, however, did not fact-check crucial statements made to him by Rossi and Levi.
For example, Lewan quoted Rossi March 10 in Ny Teknik: “The 500,000 Euros I am paying to the University of Bologna is my last money, but when I deliver the one-megawatt plant to Defkalion, I get cash back. From then on, 50% will be used for expansion and 50% to treat children with cancer. I will personally look for the children whose families cannot afford their care,” Rossi said.
However, the university had not signed a contract with Rossi at that time, and Rossi has yet to pay anything to the university, as Paolo Capiluppi, the head of the Department of Physics at the University of Bologna, told me in a phone call on June 24.
Back on Feb. 23, Lewan had quoted incredible claims made by Levi.
“Minimum power was 15 kilowatts, and that’s a conservative value. I calculated it several times. At night, we did a measurement, and the device then worked very stable and produced 20 kilowatts,” Levi said.
Lewan told me later that all he had were Levi’s words and final conclusions, with no written technical report and no experimental data.
Rossi has circumvented customary scientific communication protocols. He has influenced other members of his team and consultants to circumvent protocol, as well. They have risked their reputations and the reputation of the University of Bologna to support, explicitly or implicitly, Rossi’s claim that his E-Cats can produce extraordinarily large amounts of excess heat compared to measured input energy.
I would like readers to understand why such practices are useful for seeking truth. I also would like readers to appreciate the merits of independent critical scientific discourse and vigorous open debate about important technical issues.
Fundamental Concepts in Scientific Communication
I have read and responded to many New Energy Times readers’ comments in the last few days. I can see that a review of some fundamental principles of scientific communication protocol will be useful.
The study of pure science for its own sake and the business of promoting technology-oriented, for-profit commercial ventures are different pursuits. They have different rules and behavioral norms. Rossi has made strenuous efforts to convince the public of the truth of his claims based on scientific reports of varying, and at times, questionable quality, provided by Levi, David Bianchini and Mauro Villa (professors at the University of Bologna) and Hanno Essén and Sven Kullander (professors from Sweden). When independent third parties have asked Rossi valid, completely appropriate and skeptical but sincere scientific questions that have not been addressed in any reports provided to outsiders by Rossi, he often dismisses them summarily.
From Rossi’s Web site, thread 473, page 7:
Miles Mann, May 5, 2011, at 10:31 a.m.: “In your latest demos, we see unused E-cats adjacent to the operational unit. If your goal was to prove the anomalous generation of heat, why didn’t you prepare one of the spares as a control unit? You could prepare identically to the test unit but fill it with nitrogen instead of hydrogen. Ideally, you would prepare both devices in the exact same fashion, then let an impartial observer choose which one to fill with hydrogen. Then log results from the control and test unit for the duration of the demonstration. This would go a long way toward dispelling criticisms of the heat measurement methodology.”
Andrea Rossi, May 5, 2011, at 4:23 p.m.: “Mr. Miles Mann, what you propose is totally useless. Our target is not to play to make you see how brave we are; our target is to make R&D and to make plants that have to be sold to our customers. Why don’t you put square wheels to your car, to prove to us that round wheels are a better solution?
“We are working to produce E-Cats that have to be sold to customers who pay only if the E-Cats work, so we have no time to lose in useless things to get the approval of unproductive (for us) persons. Warm regards, A.R.”
These responses produce two results. First, people who ask legitimate questions are unlikely to continue asking more questions. Second, observers watching Rossi’s blog learn to tread gingerly if they want to communicate with him without getting attacked publicly on his blog.
On May 23, in anticipation of my visit to Rossi, I asked him a question similar to Mann’s, related to the concept of a scientific control experiment:
“When I am there, is it possible to also do a short run without the catalyst so I can have a clear view of the heating effect just from the applied power alone?” I asked.
“No, Steve, the reactors are in operation for stress test. I can’t stop them. But without catalyst, the effect is zero, as everybody who tried to make energy without catalysts knows. You can take my declaration, of which I assume the liability. Warmest regards,” Rossi wrote.
When I arrived, three reactors sat idle on the bench, and as readers can see from my videotape, the one active reactor had been started that morning.
Rossi’s practice of brushing off hard-hitting technical questions is scientifically irresponsible, disrespectful to the public and dishonest. If he claims technical credibility in his scientific communications, he is obliged, by customary protocol, to respond forthrightly to legitimate technical critiques in a scientific manner. When he chooses not to respond in kind but instead asserts that sometime in the future he will provide technical proof by way of successfully delivering a commercial technology to the marketplace, he violates a time-honored tradition as well as the trust of scientific colleagues and the general public.
Let’s examine his claim from a technological perspective.
There are some glaring inconsistencies in Rossi’s insistence that he will provide sufficient proof that his E-Cat technology is real and safe to operate. If Rossi had solid science to back up his excess-heat claims, he would benefit by demonstrating that conclusively. He could have done many things, the simplest of which is disconnecting the outlet hose from his E-Cat or holding open the valve on the chimney, and shown us the large volume and high velocity of steam produced in the device. The first few inches of the steam flow would be invisible, but he could have positioned a device there to measure its velocity.
If he is certain that he will deliver a 1 MW commercial reactor in October as effective proof of his claims, he wouldn’t need to seek and promote acceptance of his claims by the scientific community now. If he is confident that he will have a breakthrough commercial reactor ready for sale in October, as he has stated many times, he wouldn’t create attention now, because that would attract more competitors in the near future. According to comments he has made on his blog, Rossi thinks he will be able to protect his device from reverse-engineering by building in a mechanism that causes the device to self-destruct if it is opened. Which public safety authority in which country would allow unrestricted sales of such a potentially dangerous device?
John Coviello, a science writer who has also written for New Energy Times, wrote a brilliant comment on my blog that illustrated a key distinction between science and commercial technology.
“They have everything to gain by releasing the steam measurement data and nothing to lose (except credibility, if the data were obtained by volume measurements). No trade secrets would be revealed by the release of this data, so they can’t hide behind that excuse,” Coviello wrote.
Expected Behavior of Experimental Scientists
For lay readers who may not spend much time reading scientific papers, the following list can act as a guide for what is normally expected from experimental scientists. For examples of good scientific papers, please take a look here.
1. Show your data.
2. Data are not mathematically derived values that express conclusions. Data are specific measured values, typically a count, quantity, or signal. They are typically also shown over date and time, or by experiment number, or as a comparison to control data. And they usually are shown in tables or graphs or, better yet, both.
3. Seek the best analytical tools that you can afford to measure your data.
4. Seek the clearest, most direct methods available to measure your data.
5. Do your best to be transparent and open with everything.
6. When a questioner asks you a legitimate skeptical question, you have an ethical responsibility to help the questioner obtain the answer, subject to commercial restrictions about revealing too many sensitive details concerning valuable proprietary intellectual property.
7. When a questioner asks an illegitimate skeptical question, show clearly why the question is truly illegitimate and therefore reasonably out of bounds.
8. Proper scientific reports describe not only conclusions but also data measurements, descriptions of experimental configuration, procedures and analytical processes. Crucially, they also describe any known underlying assumptions.
9. Trust in the truth of a scientist’s results comes only after a scientist communicates claims in a scientific manner, not before, according to the longstanding etiquette of proper scientific communication.
10. Scientific communication allows the scientific community to work together to seek scientific truth, to understand as much as possible every important detail about an experiment. Without proper methods of scientific communication, this virtuous result cannot happen.
Science in the Public Interest
As readers will hear Levi explain in a forthcoming video, he, like many other scientists, conducts his pursuit of science in the public interest. When a scientist releases technical information publicly, that scientist is personally responsible for answering substantive serious questions about it. When a scientist holds a press conference, or writes and issues a press release, as Levi did for Rossi and Focardi, the scientist is inviting attention — and critical scrutiny — from the scientific press.
I went to Bologna to seek scientific answers to scientific questions that deserve forthright and detailed responses. Rossi does not claim to be a scientist, and he was under no ethical obligation to give me the scientific answers I sought. He is not bound to any scientific credo, and he answers to no institution. Levi, however, is a scientist and, to a certain extent, represents the University of Bologna. (Levi is, of course, entitled to academic freedom to conduct research as he chooses.)
Rossi began building his academic technical support network with Focardi, who had never seen the realization of his personal dream of “cold fusion.” Once Rossi had Focardi on board, his next opportunity arrived when he attracted and engaged Levi’s scientific interest and curiosity. The first day Levi saw the Energy Catalyzer, he said during our videotaped interview, it was like he had stars in his eyes — perhaps even personal visions playing a part in developing an exciting new energy technology that could change the world.
“I was feeling as somebody that has arrived on a new island,” Levi said. “Imagine you are traveling on a boat and you see an island that was not on the map. And you just traveled, and you are walking on a new island, and the island is almost completely not known, and you want to tell it to everybody. Then you go back and say, ‘At this coordinate, there is a new island.’ And, of course, you have people saying, ‘Look on the maps; there is not an island there. You are mistaken, you were in the wrong position, and so on.’ But I was quite sure of what I have seen.”
Levi then enlisted other members of the Physics Department to help participate in an informational show-and-tell about Rossi’s E-Cat device on Jan. 14 and write follow-up reports.
Once the reports became available, Rossi was able to use his Internet presence to promote and leverage an aura of scientific authority provided by technical reports prepared by the academic scientists Levi, Bianchini, and Villa. His next opportunity for widespread public promotion of his E-Cat concept arrived by way of technology reporter Mats Lewan, who had found two Swedish professors willing to comment publicly on Rossi’s claimed E-Cat results. Sven Kullander is a professor emeritus from Uppsala University and chairman of the Swedish National Academy of Sciences Energy Committee. Hanno Essén is an associate professor of theoretical physics, a lecturer at the Swedish Royal Institute of Technology and chairman of the Swedish Skeptics Society. Both men are respected scientists.
Lewan quoted Kullander on Feb. 23, before Kullander and Essén had gone to see the E-Cat.
”You just have to embrace a new technology that might solve the energy problems of mankind, at least until it can be rejected,” Kullander said.
Kullander trusted Rossi and Levi on assurances, reasonable expectations of collegial goodwill and technical truthfulness, as Lewan reported in Ny Teknik. Kullander was assuming that Rossi would behave like a fellow scientist and colleague.
“Well, I think they used a fairly scientific approach,” Kullander said, “but, above all, they have heated a building and have done so for one year (according to Rossi). [Also, they] have run [an] experiment for 10 hours without any electricity other than 80 watts to power the instruments (the most recent experiment in Bologna on Feb. 10-11).”
Kullander did not ask to see the data from the Feb. 10-11 experiment. I did. And Levi refused to show it to me. More on that in a future report.
Rossi’s patent application says that an E-Cat device was installed on Oct. 16, 2007, and is “at present perfectly operating 24 hours per day, and provides an amount of heat sufficient to heat the factory of the Company EON of via Carlo Ragazzi 18, at Bondeno in the province of Ferrara.”
I had thought about taking a side trip to Ferrara, to see this, but once I understood the lack of scientific data and noted the growing accumulation of substantial inconsistencies during my interviews, I decided not to go there. As I re-read the claims in the patent application, I noticed that Rossi does not state that the reactor is heating the factory. If you look carefully at the sentence from the patent, shown in the preceding paragraph, you can see that it implies that the device is heating the factory, but this not what the sentence says. The word “sufficient” changes the meaning entirely.
Kullander told me in a brief phone interview on June 20 that Rossi invited him and Essén to Italy, all travel expenses paid, to examine the Energy Catalyzer first-hand.
After returning to Sweden, Essén and Kullander wrote their report and pronounced, with some qualifications, that the Energy Catalyzer was doing what Rossi had claimed it was doing.
Within the very limited and restrictive boundaries of the apparatus, devices that Rossi provided them access to, and instrumentation Rossi made available to them, the Swedish academics did not make unsupported scientific statements.
Levi, on the other hand, had access to vastly more detailed technical information than Kullander and Essen, and thus I and anyone else interested uncovering the truth behind this complex story, needed to address serious scientific questions not to Rossi but to Levi, an academic scientist who was in a position to provide definitive answers.
However, in my initial attempts to discuss these questions by e-mail and phone with Levi, he gave me incomplete responses and, in the days before my arrival in Bologna, no responses. When I met him in person on June 14 and asked for his help to understand the best results he had, I came away empty-handed. I will provide more details of my conversation with Levi in a future report.
Crucial Technical Concerns About the Rossi, Focardi and Levi Claims
In a forthcoming report, I will explain a few crucial technical concerns about the claims made by Rossi, Focardi and Levi. I have identified possible procedural as well as analytical errors in their experiment and their reports that may affect their claims significantly.
Procedural errors are generally errors of experimental practice: making a wrong connection, failing to clean a specimen collection tray, using an instrument incorrectly. Analytical errors are generally made after an experiment is performed: A scientist may interpret data incorrectly or make a wrong calculation.
In simple terms, my technical concerns about the Rossi, Focardi and Levi claims are as follows:
1. Analytical error: possible mathematical error based on the assumptions of the energy capacity of the steam.
2. Procedural error: possible use of an incorrect measurement instrument.
3. Analytical error: possible failure to correctly interpret a signal from the experiment that is clearly visible using only the naked eye that was apparent during the experiments.
In that report, I will expand on these three key technical concerns. In another report, I will discuss more of my investigative process as well as other things I have learned, or failed to learn, in the course of my interviews with Rossi and company.
[Note: This version reflects a correction to the statements about requirements for engineering licenses.]
Brian Wang is a Futurist Thought Leader and a popular Science blogger with 1 million readers per month. His blog Nextbigfuture.com is ranked #1 Science News Blog. It covers many disruptive technology and trends including Space, Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, Medicine, Anti-aging Biotechnology, and Nanotechnology.
Known for identifying cutting edge technologies, he is currently a Co-Founder of a startup and fundraiser for high potential early-stage companies. He is the Head of Research for Allocations for deep technology investments and an Angel Investor at Space Angels.
A frequent speaker at corporations, he has been a TEDx speaker, a Singularity University speaker and guest at numerous interviews for radio and podcasts. He is open to public speaking and advising engagements.