The 21st century catalyzer, capable of heating a house with hydrogen, is a low-cost catalyst developed by the Italians. LENR, Low Energy Nuclear Reactor, is a low-power nuclear reactor, as suggested by the name. It is also called Energy Catalyzer.
Andrea Rossi, an Italian engineer and inventor, co-worked with Sergio Focard to present this modern invention. E-cat is a cold fusion reactor which is a catalytic converter of energy capable of producing energy without any vicious environmental risks. Looks wise, E-Cat is small nearly as big as a large suitcase. E-Cat merges nickel catalyst in hydrogen in a sealed, pressurized chamber. When some amount of heat is applied to the chamber, it initiates a nuclear reaction, which as a result, produces nearly thirty times more heat than the initially applied heat.
This device is expected to alter the energy market dramatically. With a low consumption of 400 watts per hour, it supplies 15,000 watts per hour. It means that E-Cat is capable of generating energy equivalent to 142 gallons of oil just by consuming 400 watts. E-Cat was tested and its results were above expectations: it produced 1kWh for rates as low as 1cent. E-Cat has revolutionized the way of providing energies to the appliances. It is a diversify energy method in which it is not necessary to connect all the households in the same network; instead, every household can have their own network.
So what happens inside a low-energy nuclear reaction that makes all this energy?
Normally, nuclear power plants use fission reaction. It occurs when an atom of radio active element splits producing energy. On the contrary, in Fusion reaction two light atomic cores associated with one of the heavier merges giving rise to a third element, and this generates energy. Fusion reaction creates far more energy than a fission reaction. Cold fusion operates like solar energy giving birth to light, but only at low temperatures. The series of events happening in this low energy fusion reaction is called cold fusion. Ross and Focard built E-Cat to produce electrical energy of about 10 KW. E-Cat is not hand-held but it is fairly small. It fits medium-sized table with all of its components, and shell.
E-Cat uses nickel as fuel. After the consumption 100 grams of nickel its efficiency reduces to 90%. Reaction that occurs inside E-Cat transforms nickel into non-radioactive isotopes of copper. It also produces other non-hazardous, stable elements such as zinc. In spite of the fact that E-Cat uses nuclear reaction to produce electricity, it does not use radioactive materials and thus does not produce hazardous waste. Even after few hours after the device is closed, it can be opened without any harmful radiation causing damage. Water is used as the source of hydrogen.
In January, 2011, Rossi and Focard presented the prototype of E-Cat at the University of Bologna. The device is expected to fill commercial markets by November, 2011. Its price is estimated to be around 5000 euros.