The news in mid-December that Andrea Rossi had (potentially) revealed his intellectual property secrets concerning the E-Cat to a new US partner shocked and, admittedly frightened, many who have been following his work. After all of the suspense and secrecy surrounding certain aspects of his invention, such as the specifics of the catalyst, the revelation that now an anonymous company or entity in the U.S. is privy to that very information makes the entire project seem at risk. Perhaps everyone felt like the project was safe as long as Rossi himself was the only holder of the secret.
Koen Vandewalle, a frequent poster on Rossi’s Journal of Nuclear Physics, expressed just such thoughts recently. He stated to Rossi that:
“Sometimes I try to imagine how an inventor could feel after this important transfer of knowledge. I think it sometimes feels as falling into a black hole. They have the power to improve the catalyst, the powder, the shapes, the controls…everything. This can be done without your direct and full control.”
This is exactly what most people are worried about. This, and the possibility that the new owner will bury the technology so that we will have to remain dependent on fossil fuels, or drive the cost up so that, as with electric cars, you have to be rich to afford the technology.
Vandewalle then asked Rossi specifically about his role in further developments:
“What will be your primary occupation, for the coming weeks and months? Are you doing mostly PR, or is the heart still in R&D. (or…do you think about retirement (joke!)) Maybe your partner can help with the development of the home-cats too. My experience is that ‘certification’ sometimes depends on a ‘reputation’ too. (It shouldn’t but it does).”
Rossi replied that:
“I remain in the position of Chief Scientist.”
This helps a little bit to ease worries. As Chief Scientist, he will still have say over the activities surrounding the development of the devices. It will, also, still be his instinct that guides development of this young technology. Rossi “flies by the seat of his pants” quite a bit, thus bringing about the Hot Cat, a technology which many had never imagined to be remotely possible. His excitement over this partnership seems unabated. As Vandewalle reminded Rossi, he could be a juggler if he had more tasks.
Now, Vandewalle says,
“Probably, there is more rest now. If so, I hope you enjoy it.”
To which Rossi responded:
“Of course with the Partner we will increase the spin.”
I take this to mean that he is busier than ever, with the added support of the new partner. At least Rossi is still in charge of his own device. We can hope that this will continue, and that 2013 will be the year of the E-cat.