The fuel canister for the E-Cat has to be changed every 6 months. However, Andrea Rossi has said that this is not due to depletion of the fuel, but simply as a safety measure. The consumption of nickel has been discussed recently on the Journal of Nuclear Physics.
Steven Karels asked Rossi:
“If eCat technology is successful and becomes in widespread usage, do you think Nickel will be as highly sought after as oil is now, even to the extent of armed conflict?”
This is a very good question, because now would be the time to start buying nickel as an investment. The idea of armed conflict over nickel reserves is sobering, but Andrea Rossi quelled the idea:
“The amount of Ni used by the E-Cat, even in a widespread situation, would not affect the world production of Ni. 1g of mass yields 23,000,000 kWh and the used Ni is anyway recyclable for all the other uses.”
Herb Gillis, another frequent commenter on the JONP, said:
“When you say the nickel that has been used in the Ecat is ‘anyway recyclable for all the other uses’, that implies the nickel is indeed acting as a fuel and not a catalyst for some other (unknown) reaction? Have you established that implication to be correct (that nickel is in some sense ‘burned up’ and therefore not a catalyst)?”
“I just mean that when the Ni is no more useful for us can be recycled as scrap nickel, therefore the mass that is lost is only the mass converted into energy, which is really small, due to the equation 1g = 23,000 kWh.
“This was to answer to the Reader that was worried about the eventual lack of nickel in case of widespread diffusion of the E-Cat. As a matter of fact, the global loss of Ni should be irrelevant.”
This statement by Mr. Rossi triggered some questions, in that there seemed to be an error in the statement. Giuliano Bettini commented:
“a debate has happened with the regard to the sentence ‘1g of mass yields 23,000 kWh.’ Did you mean to refer to Einstein’s equation on the equivalence mass>energy? (possibly with a typo kW>MW?).”
Rossi corrected his statement:
“The equation 1g=23 000 000 kWh (1 gram of mass is equivalent to 23 000 000 kWh of energy) comes from the Einstein’s equation E = mc^2
“There was a typo, sorry: 23 x 10^6 = 12 000 000 kWh, as I had written many times in this blog. I have corrected the typo, I wrote kWh instead of MWh. My mistake.
“Obviously, only a minimal part of mass is turned into energy, but the part of Ni that is not turned into energy is not lost, because can be recycled as nickel scrap from any nickel producing facility. This is why the impact of a widespread diffusion of the technology will not affect substantially the reserves and the production of nickel.”
There are also some questions about the 6 month replacement of the charge. Italo R. asked:
“I wonder why it is necessary change the charge after 6 months. What has happened to the charge after that time? After all, almost all the Nickel is yet there.”
“6 months is a period we have chosen conservatively. We are making more tests also upon this issue.”
That’s good news, because it means that Andrea Rossi and his team may be able to remove perhaps the only maintenance issue with the E-Cat, or at least, cut the maintenance by a significant amount. If the charge can be changed every 8 months or year, it means less maintenance. This could actually make the domestic models safer.
This issue was clarified in an exchange between the Italian inventor and Eric Ashworth. Mr. Ashworth:
“Andrea, Italo R stated ‘I wonder why it is necessary to change the charge after 6 months’ etc, etc. Your reply ‘we are making more tests’. I am guessing, of course, but could it be that half the charge has to be replaced because of a systemic system with regards to the evolution of nickel. I say half because of four potentials between the octahedral cavity and the hydrogen gas which constitutes upon completion a neutral cube of six comprised of two powers and four potentials. This I realize is not from an academic level of understanding so it may make no sense to you but I am curious.”
“We have to find the equation that gives us the number telling how much time a charge can work properly. This is an empirical work that takes time to get reliable statistics. The 6 months timeframe has been assumed just because we have experienced that in that time the efficiency does not change. I do not think this issue can be resolved with theoretical assumptions, but only with try and error series.”
Herb Gillis then asked:
“Do you have any clear evidence that something is being depleted from the nickel after 6 months continuous operation (or any other period of operation)?”
The answer from Mr. Rossi is: “Yes.”
So, depletion of nickel does occur, but not by much. The only way to find out how much, based on real-time experience, is through experimentation, rather than prediction. This, apparently, is what some of the ongoing development of the E-Cat is focusing on.