In December, Rossi approached Dick Smith, an Australian entrepreneur, and asked him to invest $200,000 in the development of the E-Cat. Intrigued but skeptical, Smith asked Ian Bryce, an aeronautics engineer and member of the group Australian Skeptics (a group of which Smith is a patron) to help him investigate.
According to a report issued by the Australian Skeptics, Bryce found that in all six published tests of the E-Cat up to July — every test in which excess power production was directly measured — the setup was such that a misconnected earth lead (the wire that is usually grounded in an electric circuit ) could have been funneling up to 3 kilowatts of power into the machine’s steam generator long after the other wires were turned off. Because there were no power meters measuring the flow of energy in the earth lead, all this energy would seem to be surplus, and would appear as if it were being generated by reactions within the E-Cat itself.
The scientists note that the miswiring could be inadvertent. “If one of the wires in the three-core power lead” — a lead with active, neutral and ground/earth wires, all of which flow to a different prong of a three-pin plug — “was accidentally misconnected, the actual measurements of current witnessed by two Swedish scientists would not be the total power going into the reactor, and there would be an apparent power gain. One of the scientists who observed an earlier test has now agreed this could be so,” Smith said.
If an independent test were conducted of the E-Cat and the current in all the wires (including the earth lead) were measured, “There is little doubt that this will show that it was a misconnection of the wires that resulted in the seemingly unbelievable power gain which Mr. Rossi attributes to cold fusion,” Smith said. “Hopefully this finding will prevent millions of dollars being wasted by Mr. Rossi.”
Aside from the wiring, another reason for suspicion, Thieberger noted, is the fact that the E-Cat’s copper byproduct, which Rossi claims is fused nickel and hydrogen, has been analyzed by Sven Kullander, a professor at Sweden’s Uppsala University and the chairman of the Swedish Academy of Science’s Energy Committee, and the copper appears to be in its naturally occurring form, like what you would find in a copper mine. If the sample were actually the product of fusion, it would be composed of a very different ratio of copper isotopes (varieties).
Rossi said the E-Cat will be on the market soon, and “the skeptics will be free to buy them and make all the tests they want.”
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.
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