By: Francie Diep of POPSCI
A well-known promoter of cold fusion technology—who's been demonstrating his latest invention here and there over the past two years—has announced that an independent third party has verified his machine works. That is, it creates a large amount of energy in the form of heat, far more than it consumes. If Andrea Rossi's cold fusion reactor, called the E-Cat, really worked, it could power the world cheaply and without pollutants. Rossi has previously backed out of third-party testing with NASA and the University of Bologna in Italy, as Popular Science reported in November, but now he's saying that a team has tested the E-Cat.
His new third party verification says the E-Cat creates at least tenfold more power than energy sources at work today. A paper about the tests is available on arXiv, a database for publishing physics papers, often before they're peer reviewed. The paper, which is not peer-reviewed, leaves out crucial details, for example referring to "unknown additives" instead of specifying what chemicals actually go into the reaction. There's plenty of reason to be skeptical. Rossi has a history of blocking even simple tests of the E-Cat. Many established experts are skeptical of his invention and with the idea that cold fusion is even possible. Even among those who work on cold fusion—often tinkerers not associated with major research institutions—Rossi doesn't necessarily inspire confidence. He has previously passed off spurious inventions, including a machine that was supposed to turn waste into oil.