Third party E-Cat test, Lugano, Switzerland (2014)

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In February-March 2014 a group of scientists were involved in testing of Rossi’s E-Cat reactors in a laboratory in Lugano, Switzerland.

The testing team released a report of their findings which was published in October 2014.[1]

Authors

The listed authors of the report are:

Giuseppe Levi, Assistant Professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy, Bologna University

Evelyn Foschi, Product Development Department for medical devices, University of Bologna, Italy.

Bo Höistad, Professor, Department of Physics and Astronomy, Nuclear Physics, Uppsala University, Sweden.

Roland Pettersson, Senior Lecturer, Department of Chemistry, Uppsala University, Sweden.

Lars Tegnér, Professor Emeritus, Department of Engineering Sciences, Division of Electricity, Uppsala University, Sweden.

Hanno Essen, Docent and Lecturer, Department of Mechanics of the KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm, Sweden.


Radiation Measurements:

Dott. Bianchini David, Bologna, Italy

Alumina Sample Analysis:

Ennio Bonetti, Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of Bologna.

Fuel and Ash Analysis:

Ulf Bexell and Josefin Hall, Materialvetenskap, Högskolan Dalarna

Jean Pettersson, Inst. of Chemistry-BMC, Analytical Chemistry, Uppsala University

Reviewers:

Prof. Ennio Bonetti (University of Bologna) and Prof. Alessandro Passi (University of Bologna [ret.])

Sponsors:

This paper was partially sponsored by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, and Elforsk AB.

Testing

The E-Cat reactor tested was an alumina cylinder, 2 cm in diameter and 20 cm in length, ending on both sides with two cylindrical alumina blocks (4 cm in diameter, 4 cm in length).

After an initial dummy run in which the reactor was heated up to 500 degrees C (no excess heat being demonstrated), a fuel powder consisting of mainly nickel, plus lithium, iron and other elements was inserted inside the reactor which was then sealed. The reactor was then heated via resistor wires which were wound around the fuel chamber. 0ver a 32-day period the measured energy balance between input and output heat yielded a COP factor of about 3.2 and 3.6 for the 1260ºC and 1400ºC runs, respectively. The total net energy obtained during the 32 days run was about 1.5MWh.

In addition to the heat measurements, the testers also analyzed a sample fuel used in the reactor, before and after testing using a variety of standard measurement methods (XPS, EDS, SIMS, ICP-MS and ICP-AES). From these combined analysis methods, significant quantities of Li, Al, Fe and H in addition to Ni were found in the fuel. The isotope composition in lithium and nickel matched a natural composition before the test began, but a while after the run was found to have been changed substantially.

Conclusions

The authors of the report wrote:

"In summary, the performance of the E-Cat reactor is remarkable. We have a device giving heat energy compatible with nuclear transformations, but it operates at low energy and gives neither nuclear radioactive waste nor emits radiation. From basic general knowledge in nuclear physics this should not be possible. Nevertheless we have to relate to the fact that the experimental results from our test show heat production beyond chemical burning, and that the E-Cat fuel undergoes nuclear transformations. It is certainly most unsatisfying that these results so far have no convincing theoretical explanation, but the experimental results cannot be dismissed or ignored just because of lack of theoretical understanding" (p. 30)

The detection of isotopic shifts in the nickel and lithium established the nuclear nature of the reactions. The amount of heat generated by this reactor far exceeded heat outputs of any known chemical reactions and placed the E-Cat at a unique superior position on the Ragone Plot. The amount of radiation emitted by this reactor was also measured and was found to be non-existent.

Criticism and Reviews

In February 2015, the MFMP group tried an experiment to verify the findings of the Lugano report using a dummy reactor of the same size, shape and materials as in the original test. They found that the actual emissivity of Alumina should be approx 0.95 at temperatures nearing 1400 degree C, which is higher than the values used by the Lugano test team, leading to an error in measurement of the temperature. MFMP experiment was terminated prematurely due to equipment failure because of a power surge.[2]

In March 2015 an independent group Gruppo Scientifico per la Valutazione released a paper showing an error in estimation of emissivity of Alumina which lead to overestimation of reactor temperature in the Lugano test report. [3]

The conclusion of GSV paper states - This kind of error can lead to a significant overestimation of the surface temperature and to an overestimation of thermal Power by a factor 2 or more.

MFMP team member Bob Higgins wrote another paper on the emissivity issue and concluded that - The radiant power is estimated to be approximately 47% lower than the value calculated by the Lugano experimenters for A. Rossi’s reactor. [4]

MFMP in their Facebook post commented - the Lugano report likely over-estimates any potential excess.. They estimate the correct COP of the Lugano Hot-Cat reactor in the range 1.73 - 2.74.[5]

The above criticisms do not conclude that the Hot-Cat did not produce more power than it consumed, only that it is likely that the COP values were calculated higher than actual. There were some more criticisms and allegations about the report, for example, the presence of Andrea Rossi on the location raised some objections, however they were unfounded. [6] There were criticisms of the method used for measuring currents in the 3 phase power supply, however these were speculations and no evidence indicating an actual error were shown.

Another major objection was that the team did not carry out the control experiment (with a dummy reactor) in the operating range of The E-Cat (1000-1400C approx). This makes the comparison with the control test unreliable. Yet another criticism was that the team should have used a suitable kind of calorimetry for measurements and the method involving the thermal camera was not a proper method because of the various difficulties and unknowns involved.

Answers to main objections and reviews are still awaited from the testing team.

Further Work

In March 2015 Mats Lewan reported that the testing team is working on the update, doing additional calibration measurements. [7]

References

  1. "Observation of abundant heat production from a reactor device and of isotopic changes in the fuel"
  2. DogBone Week, Live Now, 03 February 2015
  3. TPR2 – Calorimetry of Hot-Cat performed by means of IR camera, March 2, 2015
  4. Making Sense of Alumina Spectral Emissivity, Bob Higgins
  5. A good analysis with a potentially positive outcome, MFMP Facebook comment
  6. Transcript of Radio Interview With Bo Hoistad on the Lugano E-Cat Test, December 13, 2014, E-Cat World
  7. Lugano Testers Continue Work: Mats Lewan, E-Cat World, March 4, 2015 by Frank Acland