1 kW Man-portable Hybrid-Electric Power System using Catalytic Fuel Ignition Technology

Period of Performance: 02/07/2002 - 12/31/2002


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Edtek, Inc.
7082 S 220th street
Kent, WA 98032
Principal Investigator


EDTEK proposes a program to develop and validate a conceptual design for a prototype, man-portable, 1 kW multi-fuel thermophotovoltaic (TPV) generator suitable for battlefield use. This program addresses both the problems of weight reduction to allow the generator to be man-portable and low thermal and RFI/EFI signatures reducing the possibility of field detection. The proposed TPV technology uses low-bandgap photovoltaic cells to convert radiant energy from relatively low temperatures heat sources to electricity. The EDTEK TPV approach uses a unique infrared bandpass filter to conserve energy in he system and allows fuel-to-electric effieiencies of >15% to be attained. The TPV generator weight can also be substantially lower than conventional generators. In 2000 EDTEK demonstated to the DARPA and U.S. Army CECOM a testbed diesel fueled TPV generator designed to produce 500W of electricity. The unoptimized testbed unit weighed 27 lbs before packaging. Based on the testbed results it appears that a 1 kW unit weighing less than 50 lbs can easily be achieved. With the successful implementation of the proposed improvements, a highly portable, ultra-lightweight 1 kW generator weighing about 20 lbs is feasible at a cost low enough to compete in commercial markets. The result of the proposed effort will be the conceptual design for a man-portable, lightweight, low detection, 1 kW generator whose cost will be competitive in commercial markets. This generator will have applications in military field operations, commercial and institutional power requirements, home and remote power needs, and power for recreational vehicles (land and marine).