Swedish physicists run the site Ecat.com
UPDATED. Four Swedish entrepreneurs, two of them particle physicists, run the site Ecat.com which since a couple of days takes pre-orders for Andrea Rossi’s E-cat. Ny Teknik got an interview.
(Swedish version here).
Ny Teknik can now confirm that a British company, Hydrofusion, is behind the website Ecat.com which launched with full content on November 16, 2011.
The site was anonymous at launch, but Andrea Rossi, the inventor of the E-cat, stated that the website represented his North Europe commercial branch.
Hydrofusion is run by four Swedish entrepreneurs – CEO Magnus Holm, Niclas Sandström who is operations manager in the UK, sales manager Peter La Terra and Stefan Helgesson who is a web strategist.
Magnus Holm has a D.Tech and Niclas Sandström a PhD in elementary particle physics at Chalmers University of Technology in Gothenburg.
NyT: Magnus Holm, what is the purpose of the site Ecat.com?
Holm: “The aim is to be a portal to all stakeholders regarding the E-cat. In particular, we want to be as officially linked to Rossi as possible in order to capture as much commercial interest as possible through Ecat.com.”
NyT: What is your contract with Andrea Rossi?
Holm: “I can’t go into details yet”.
NyT: Why did you start this venture?
Holm: “I had noticed the discussion on Rossi at the end of 2010. I usually laugh at most of what is called “free energy”, but the difference with cold fusion is that it definitely is an exothermic reaction (it releases energy if it happens). So we followed the test in Bologna in January 2011 on the web. And when Ny Teknik started to report, we began to look seriously at it. Then when Kullander and Essén wrote their report from Bologna in March, it had become so likely that it was real that we decided to start a venture. There was too much supporting it – all researchers who actually looked at the technology thought that it worked.”
NyT: What did you do then?
Holm: “We started by developing a web strategy in order to sell these products online.”
NyT: How did you get in touch with Rossi?
Holm: “We met him at the Defkalion press conference in Athens, Greece, in June 2011 and then booked a meeting with him later on. We had already tried to contact Defkalion which at that time had a contract with Rossi, but never received a response. Then we met with Rossi in Uppsala in July and told him about our plans and he thought it sounded interesting. Eventually we got a verbal agreement and later a letter of intent. In the meantime, we built a structure on the web.”
NyT: There is great skepticism about Rossi’s technology. How do comment on that?
Holm: “Until he makes an independent test, there is obviously a small chance that it does not work. We are willing to take that risk because it’s such an amazing technology if it works. Further support that it’s real comes from the fact that all independent physicists who have observed the tests are positive, and have expressed belief in the mechanism. I do not have much sympathy for the crowd of skeptics who insist in spending substantial time and energy, just to be able to boast a ‘what did I say’ if it should turn out to be wrong.”
NyT: How is this different from other things you are skeptical to?
Holm: “There are so many quacks in all subjects but often it shines through. Quacks know nothing, they learn a few words but they are not even mathematically consistent. But if a person comes with a theory, sets up his axioms, does the math correctly, then it is proper research and have the right to come forward.”
NyT: You have already been accused of contributing to fraud. What is your comment?
Holm: “We are not engaged in any deception, and I do not think Rossi is engaged in any fraud either. If it would turn out that it does not work, in spite of everything, I would think it is about self-deception. I believe it works. It seems strange that Focardi who has done research in this area for over 15 years and helped Rossi for four years, might have measured wrong during the entire period. It seems unlikely. However, this does of course not mean that you’ll obtain a final product that works. But fraud requires intent and I think that can be excluded. Rossi does not talk about advance of money, which could lead to suspicions of fraud. Perhaps he could deliver a product that does not work and then you can end up in schism on that, but this does not mean fraud. From our side there is in any case no attempt of fraud.”
NyT: How will you ensure that the products work before you sell them?
Holm: “This is a difficult question as it’s Rossi’s responsibility that the product works. We only act as agents. But because there are powerful forces who want to argue that it’s all about fraud, we will make one or more of the following to prove our honesty.
1. Explain the risk with such a premature product to the customer and ensure that customers are forced only to take a minimal financial risk.
2. Try to arrange a complete product testing before any payment is made.
3. Ensure that all payments are done through an escrow account with a full refund if the products do not meet the specifications.
4. Through potential funding move the financial risk from the customer to Hydrofusion.
5. Arrange an independent reactor test as a reference that in all cases the core process works.
The real risk is only with the first product sales. Rossi will have to correct until the first product is operating and it will then be a reference. When the first product works, the risk with the next one is greatly reduced.”
NyT: You are now taking pre-orders. When do you think you can offer commercial products?
Holm: “It's hard to say, but if the core technology works it should be possible to start mass production within one to two years. Test products can be delivered very soon, though.”
NyT: When do you think rival products will arrive?
Holm: “I think it will explode sooner or later. In a best case for Rossi, I think it takes three years from when he has serial products on the market. In a worst case it takes two to three years from now. Then he will compete against the others now. And in that case, if he doesn't have commercial products on the market within two to three years, the one with the best product and the best marketing resources will win the market, especially for consumer products. For industrial products a good network is also important to quickly gain market.”
NyT: Which do you expect to be the first applications?
Holm: “Energy in district heating systems and desalination of water. After that electricity generation on a large scale. For consumer products, security requirements are completely different and also requirements for reliability to avoid that service costs go out of control, so they will arrive further ahead.”
NyT: Whathas the response been so far?
Holm: “Far better than expected”.
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UPDATE: Members of the Hydrofusion team were present at the October 6 test of the Ecat and the October 28 test of the heat plant. They also met with Rossi for a private demonstration of the Ecat at the end of July.
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READ MORE: Our complete coverage on Rossi's E-cat can be found here.
Fakta The E-cat
The 'energy catalyzer' is loaded with nickel powder and a number of secret catalysts and is pressurized with hydrogen gas. Excess heat is possibly produced via an unknown nuclear reaction, involving nickel and hydrogen.
Several semipublic tests have been made to demonstrate the release of net energy but no independent tests have yet been done.
On October 28, 2011, a heat plant composed by 107 Ecat modules was tested by an anonymous customer. In a report the customer claimed a released net power of 479 kW in self sustained mode.