In posts at his Journal of Nuclear Physics blog Andrea Rossi the inventor of the ecat cold fusion device has revealed how much it will cost to operate a one megawatt (1 megawatt of heat) thermal ecat unit for a year. He has also stated that he is still working on generating electricity with his hot ecat.

In a response to frequent correspondent Steven N. Karels Rossi stated that the 1MW industrial ecat units will cost €10,000 Euros or $12,957 US dollars a year to operate. This figure would include recharging and maintenance. Rossi doesn’t think there would be a difference between the costs of operating a hot ecat which would generate temperatures of over 1,000 degrees Celsius and the regular ecats which would be used for heating and water heating.

It should be noted that this is simply an estimate on the costs of running the ecat low energy nuclear reaction (LENR) device. Since Rossi is still refusing to review who the customers for it are and apparently has not delivered any of the devices there’s no way to determine what the real operating costs would be.

So it will not be possible to tell if the ecat will be cheaper than competing energy sources such as Natural gas which costs around $3.21 per million British thermal unit according to the US Energy Information Agency. Although it looks like the €10,000 is a flat rate figure which would make it easier to budget for energy costs.

This would reduce heating and other costs for big business because currently businesses have to hedge. That is they buy fuel for heating ahead of time or buy fuel futures in order to have a sufficient supply of fuel available for a specific period of time such as the winter. So even if the cost of ecat operations is higher than the cost of fuel it might save businesses money.

Part of the reason why the cost for ecat operation is high is that it will have to be maintained and recharged by certified personnel that are employees of Rossi’s Leonardo Corporation. Interestingly Rossi also revealed that it will be possible to generate both heat and electricity with the hot ecat. The device could be used to make steam to run a turbine to make electricity and generate excess heat that could be used for heating or water heating purposes.

Rossi also stated that it is possible for an ecat to overheat but when it does the nickel in it will simply melt which will stop the reaction. He believes that this will not lead to problems such as radiation or explosions. Instead he noted that no radiation is released and that the hot ecat is intrinsically safe.

In a related story Rossi has released a copy of the safety certificate for ecat issued by the certification company SGS. The certificate which was issued on May 9 looks authentic but it is in Italian. If you want to see the certificate you can take a look at it here. Although some English text states that the inspection visit was carried out with a satisfactory outcome.

So it looks like Rossi is making progress with his ecat. Unfortunately he still isn’t revealing enough details about it to tell whether it is viable energy source or not.