AlumiFuel Power Corporation’s wholly-owned subsidiary, AlumiFuel Power, Inc. (API), is a Philadelphia, Pennsylvania-based alternative energy company targeting commercial and defense sectors. The Company announced today the initiation of work on a new hydrogen generator for use in Navy Unmanned Underwater Vehicles (UUVs) and other submersible craft.
The hydrogen generator will power a fuel cell, and is being designed in conjunction with a superheated steam generator prototype API is currently working on for similar applications with major defense prime contractors that is based on the Company’s proven PBIS-1000 generator.
Designed in a similar fashion to the prototype steam generator, the hydrogen generator will use the same form factor and start/stop functions, and will be based on a process involving a proprietary additive, but in this case the generator will power a 100W fuel cell for up to several days at a time.
The system energy density (overall efficiency) of the hydrogen generator system, often in excess of 50%, rivals that of a superheated steam-driven turbine and is largely due to vastly more sophisticated fuel cell technology.
The Company’s ultimate goal is to integrate the steam generator (5-10x efficiency of the Navy’s current standard lithium-ion batteries) and hydrogen generator into one hybrid power source with dual, role-specific functionality, which can be used alternately depending on the specific mission parameters.
Director of Engineering for API Sean McIntosh spoke of the breakthrough systems engineering behind the hydrogen generator-powered fuel cell system for UUV applications, and how it dovetailed perfectly with the superheated steam generator work, emphasizing how the similar designs of the two reactors mirrored one another in reverse.
McIntosh noted that the outcome was “two very similar looking reactors, where, in one case, the “power source comes from superheated steam and generates hydrogen as a byproduct, and in the other case, it is the exact opposite.” McIntosh also noted how this ultimately doubles the effective return on R&D investment into these two systems based on very clean and safe fuel sources.
This sort of technology is perfect for highly localized on-demand power applications like underwater propulsion, where portability and ruggedness are required, and it makes an excellent replacement for such things as the difficult to handle, high-pressure K-Cylinders, which serve as the standard power source for most weather balloons.