The first LENR power plant is now online in an undisclosed location. The E-Cat, developed by Andrea Rossi, is said to be working in the form of a 1 MW plant for a military group. The units were manufactured, according to Rossi, in the U.S.
Some people express concern over any military group using LENR technology, since it is a form of nuclear energy. However, nuclear fission and nuclear fusion are two entirely different reactions. Nuclear fission can go out of control causing an explosion and releasing radioactive waste. The nuclear fission also produces radioactive waste that must be disposed of very carefully. Nuclear fusion, on the other hand, is a reaction that stops when the catalyst is removed. It produces no waste, and the only radiation involved is from low-energy gamma rays that are contained behind a lead shield. In addition, when the reaction stops, even the nominal radiation from the gamma rays is stopped, as well. This makes cold fusion and Low Energy Nuclear Reaction a great alternative to nuclear fission.
There are other benefits to be gained from LENR technology, as well. LENR and the E-Cat use electron volts to start a nuclear reaction that generates millions of other electron volts, as explained by David Nagel in his paper Potential Advantages and Impacts of LENR Generators of Thermal and Electrical Power and Energy. It is just this sort of reaction that occurs in the E-Cat, producing thermal energy. Using the D-Pd system, energy gains of over 25 have been gained with LENR, with some reports of gains of over 400. By contrast, the hot fusion reactor currently under construction in France hopes to have a thermal gain of 10.
Sustained reactions have been an Achilles Heel for some LENR experiments. The original catalyst is necessary in some experiments, to continue the produced gains in energy. However, Rossi has developed his E-Cat so that it continues the reaction even when the catalyst is removed. The catalyst starts the reaction between the hydrogen and nickel, which “catches fire”, so to speak, continuing the magnification of energy. With sustained reactions such as this, the energy gain will really begin to provide exponential benefits for the user. Rossi has remained mum on the subject of the catalyst, leading some to criticize his work and even say that he has not obtained sustained reactions. However, this is not taking into account the need for Rossi to protect his intellectual property. Patents must be obtained in each country, or his work will be stolen.
This sustained reaction and the resulting energy gains will produce heat. This heat, when sufficient, will heat water or gas. Once this fluid or gas is heated, it can be circulated, delivering the thermal energy to the desired machine. In some cases, this may be the radiators that heat many homes. It could be the air passing over heating coils that warms a building. This use for heating of domestic and commercial building is one of the primary appeals of LENR technology, but it doesn’t stop there.
The ultimate goal is to use LENR technology, and the E-Cat in particular, to generate electricity. If the units produce in sufficient quantities, and at a sustained rate, then it is simply a matter of using pre-existing technology to put steam power to use. A turbine is, according to some reports, being developed by Siemens, although there has been no news on that front in a while. Some power is lost in the conversion process, but estimates are that the conversion will still be well worth the process. In addition, there is research and development under way right now to develop thermoelectric materials that will not require the conversion process. These materials, in conjunction with the E-Cat units may make a significant impact on the production of power, from homes to businesses, to governments.