Special Power Sources embraced small anode tubular technology in 2001 and has since pioneered the development and deployment of several commercial solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) products in the 100W-10kW range. The Special Power Sources facility in Walpole, Massachusetts has over 30,000 square feet and houses all company operations – research and development, engineering, manufacturing, and administration.
Special Power Sources has built a state of the art manufacturing capability with the capacity to produce thousands of fuel cell power generation systems annually. The production process is vertically integrated from the raw materials to the finished units. All fuel cell fabrication is completed in house from the ceramic powders to the fully fabricated cells, stack and integrated systems to control quality and our proprietary processes.
Research and Development Capabilities
Development and advancement of our technology is supported by a highly capable team of 21 engineers with backgrounds in Ceramics, Electrical, Manufacturing, Mechanical and Systems Engineering. Special Power Sources’s R&D facility consists of electronics, cell and stack testing, system design, build and test – all complemented with rapid prototyping using our in-house fabrication and machine shop.
Development and Products for the Government and Military
No organization considers fuel to be more precious than the military. The high expense of transporting fuel to forward positions and the essential role it serves in successful missions makes fuel a valuable commodity to the military. Developing a power generator that is twice as efficient, quieter and more reliable than a combustion engine, is a significant focus for Special Power Sources.
Our tubular (SOFC) technology operates on hydrogen-rich gas streams that can be derived from JP-8 and can directly generate electricity and heat at an efficiency that will dramatically reduce fuel costs and the risks associated with the military’s supply chain. Furthermore, these systems operate in a water neutral mode that eliminates the need for diversion of the military’s highly precious water supply.
Special Power Sources is partnering with the military to deliver SOFC generators up to 10kW that will provide the critical solution to mobile power for the military. These generators will provide the following benefits:
Integration of a fuel reformer into each of the cells boosts the system efficiency and reduces system cost and size. An integral reformer is intimately connected to each tubular fuel cell unit in such a way that waste heat generated in the cell can be readily used by the reformer. With an SBIR award (Office of Naval Research) Special Power Sources has successfully demonstrated this concept with bio-fuels (methanol, ethanol, biogas, biodiesel etc.) and commercial/logistic fuels (e.g. natural gas, LPG, and JP-8 jet fuel).
Marine Auxiliary Power
This work is focused on a 10kW SOFC generator for the Navy and Maritime shipboard deployment for auxiliary power. The fuel will be No.2-DS15 diesel, compatible with shipboard use. It also includes the construction of an enclosure compatible with the specifications of the Coast Guard, Maritime DOT and Navy for shipboard deployment. The system will be installed and personnel trained for operational demonstration on the TS Kennedy of the Massachusetts Maritime Academy.
The objective of this program will be to develop the control system and operational algorithms necessary to realize autonomous operation, fuel savings, and silent watch operation. This technology will use the high efficiency (>95%) DC/DC conversion, and stackable N+1 DC/AC inverter technologies and controls developed in the past two decades by Special Power Sources’s sister corporation, Acumentrics.
Special Power Sources will use its DC bus control experience as well as AC islanding and grid-tie experience to provide the necessary capabilities for operations.
Renewable Sustainable Expeditionary Power (RSEP) is focused on the advancement of a 3kW hybrid mobile power system using Special Power Sources’s tubular SOFC generator and a flat panel silicon, optimum-tilt photovoltaic array. The key development for Special Power Sources is directly utilizing JP-8 fuel with internal desulfurization to produce up to 3kW and fully interface with a solar array of similar capacity while on a mobile unit.
Fuel Cell Durability and Efficiency
Special Power Sources has several durability and performance improvement programs that focus on improving the longevity and efficiency of our fuel cell stack. These programs work at the cell and material levels to understand how to advance the performance and durability of the fuel cell with a goal of routinely achieving 40,000 hours and continually improving the current density of our fuel cell system.
Special Power Sources R&D Partners
Special Power Sources is supported by the following R&D partners: