Andrea Rossi started the test of his 1 megawatt e-cat cold fusion device in Bologna today. The purpose of the test is to see if the low energy nuclear reaction device can generate a sustained reaction that can continuously make large amounts of heat. If it can it could theoretically be able to generate enough heat to run a steam engine to power a vehicle or an electric generator.

Rossi's 1 megwatt e-cat generator is being tested today

The test is apparently being monitored by Rossi’s US customer whose identity is still secret. This will be the first time an e-cat test is monitored by somebody other than Rossi which is important to verify his claims.

Rossi promised to release a non-secret report from this customer on his website sometime tonight. He did not say what this report would contain or whether it would finally identify his mysterious American partner. Internet speculation has named everything from Google to the US Navy as this partner.

The e-cat is also attracting quite a bit of online attention including another commentary at Forbes magazine’s website. In an intelligent piece Mark P. Mills, a physicist and venture capitalist cautioned people not to expect an overnight revolution from Rossi’s device. He also notes some fallacies that cloud individual’s thinking so it’s a good read. In particular he notes the length of time it takes to develop new technologies from ideas.

Mark P. Mills courteosy Forbes

Mills is smart enough not to discount Rossi only to counsel people not to expect too much from him. That’s an intelligent position that we should all take.

My take by the way is that Rossi is certainly onto something but it is going to take awhile to commercialize it and get a working practical energy source we can all use. The steam engine was invented in the early 1700s but it was not widely used for industrial purposes until the early 19th century 100 years later.

There is another excellent little piece in the British version of Wired magazine that provides a good one over view of Rossi annd his work.

The domestic policy blog of the famous US conservative journal the National Review has also noted Mark Gibbs’ earlier piece on Rossi and e-cat. Reviewer Reihan Salam reflected the ignorance of the mainstream media with a simple quote “this can’t be serious.” It sounds like the media reaction to the Wright Brothers airplane tests which was similarly dismissive.

History has proven that journalists make poor forecasters. Interestingly enough Salam’s rant got a large number reactions that indicate a lot of average people out there are following Rossi’s work and ignoring the wise men in the media and scientific establishments. Who are often the last to notice when things change.

Either way it’s an exciting time to be alive and I feel history is being made.