Thursday 1 December 2011

Is E-Cat a Con?

E-Cat? Finally a source of clean renewable energy - or a giant con?

I heard about this via a techy bulletin board I use at work for my IT support. Some of the US members were discussing it and while I couldn't go hunting at work, I made a note to go and look when I got home.

E- Cat is "energy catalyzer", a supposedly clean way of combining nickel and hydrogen in a "low energy nuclear reaction". It looks like fusion (most of our nuclear energy comes from fission - splitting - rather than fusion - combining), has no radioactive waste products and is apparently practically self-sustaining.

Sounds too good to be true? In most real-life situations, there really is no such thing as a free lunch - and I'm sure if this really was the future of the planet's energy, I'd have heard a bit more about it in the news by now. The web site has lots of stuff on from October, but apparently there's been a sale of an energy plant to an anonymous US customer in the last couple of days.

The company is called the "Leonardo Corporation" - an Italian company (and no, the name isn't lost on me - Da Vinci was famous for a lot more than his artwork and he is still rumoured to have invented the concept of the helicopter) and the E-Cat's somewhat secretive inventor Andrea Rossi is keeping quiet about the "secret ingredient" of the nuclear process.

If it's true, he's going to be a very rich man. If not, there will be a lot of red faces and he'll probably still be a very rich man. Either way, Mr Rossi wins.

I think I'll sit on the fence a while longer and think about those little pecking birds you used to get in the 1970s - the ones that slowly slipped coloured water and were about the nearest things to perpetual motion in existence.

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