Wired UK and Forbes coverage of the Rossi Energy Catalyzer

1. Wired UK – Cold Fusion: Future of physics or phoney? David Hambling reviews the Rossi energy catalyzer and past tests and the testing controversy.

The E-Cat is beginning to be noticed by the mainstream media, with articles in Forbes and the US National Reviewonline edition. While few appear to have much faith in the E-Cat, it’s might be compared to buying a lottery ticket: the chances of a success are low, but the prize is gigantic.

His target cost is 500 euros per kilowatt, so replacing a typical boiler with an E-Cat would cost about £6,000 — but you could then leave the heating on 24/7 and never see a fuel bill again. Rossi claims it could be on the market within months, though one suspects that there might be regulatory issues with people have nuclear reactors in the homes.

Rossi says that today the experimental results will be updated hour-by-hour, with a full report and video at midnight. Will it be a triumphant success, or an abject failure? Or will there be endless squabbling about measurements and standards, allegations of cheating or sabotage?

We’ll know by the weekend.

2. Forbes – The Relentless Pursuit of Magical Energy

Mark Mills –

I’m going to go out on a limb here with a prediction. The energy world will look exactly the same the day after October 28th, 2011, as it did yesterday. Why? On October 28th we’re expecting a public demonstration of a “revolutionary” new energy device in Bologna, Italy. The magic technology? Another too-cheap-to-meter construct called the “e-cat” machine invented and promoted by Italian Andrea Rossi. Cold fusion … again, but with an updated label; Low-Energy Nuclear Reaction. Will it change the world? No. Will it work? Doubt it.

Wished-for revolutions in energy technology are pervasive, and they all suffer from one or all of the following three fallacies:

1. The Magic Wand Fallacy.

You’ve heard this claim in many forms: invent a new energy source, a magically efficient or powerful machine, and it will change the world and do so overnight. Except that it won’t. Even if the new invention were real, the problem of inertia remains. It just takes a lot of time to overcome the imbedded inertia in enormous infrastructure systems, behaviors and operations.

2. the Helicopter Fallacy.

When practical helicopters were finally invented, a lot of people thought they would revolutionize both car and air travel. (For an excellent history of the long pursuit of the seemingly impossible feat of making a helicopter work, see The God Machine by James Chiles.)

3. Moon Shot Fallacy.

It is true that engineers are amazing creatures, and given a task to do something or build something, they can do almost anything at least once. But the global energy challenge is not the same as putting a man on the moon. It is the same as putting every man, woman and child on the moon. Maybe in the far future that is doable, but not with anything like an Apollo program.

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