Early production stage hydrogen generation company AlumiFuel Power, Inc. ("API"), the Philadelphia, Pennsylvania-based wholly owned operating subsidiary of AlumiFuel Power Corporation (OTCBB: AFPW) (the "Company"), announced today that it has made significant progress towards fulfilling the Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC) contract to develop and deliver a Portable Balloon Inflation System (PBIS-2000) by the end of February, 2012. API has built and tested a number of prototypes validating the system's design parameters, and has lined up the various vendors and manufacturers necessary to complete the system construction.
The contract also calls for delivery of 360 cartridges as well as a spare parts kit, a tool kit and two days of training by API engineers at the customer's site. The PBIS-2000 makes significant advances in API's lift gas generation technology. The latest prototyping and testing prove that the system is capable of generating the necessary amount of hydrogen to launch a 200g weather balloon and special instrumentation payload within 20 minutes, using up to 6 AlumiFuel cartridges contained in a single reactor vessel. The final design is now being fine-tuned, and construction is slated to begin shortly, with an expected completion date on or before the target deadline.
The PBIS-2000 expands the capability of API's current family of hydrogen generators, which includes the PBIS-1000 (developed for a military customer to launch 100g weather balloons), and the PBIS-lite (designed for 30g pilot balloons). While the footprint, weight and safety features of the new PBIS-2000 are similar to the PBIS-1000, the configuration has been modified such that the system operates at ambient pressure (below 10 psig) so that users never have to deal with the high pressures of the industry standard K-Cylinders (2265 psig).
The current weather balloon lift gas market is pegged at $150-$200 million per year, and encompasses military as well as civil government meteorological users worldwide. Traditionally, helium has been used as the primary lift gas for weather balloons, but with the increasing scarcity and cost of helium, users are rapidly switching to hydrogen and API's PBIS family is far more mobile, safe, and cost effective than other on-site hydrogen generation systems. Based on customer feedback, API believes the PBIS family can become field standard and lift gas product of choice for NATO military users and meteorological customers worldwide. After purchasing any unit of the PBIS family, typical customers continue to purchase replacement cartridges to launch up to 700 balloons per unit each year (up to 4,200 cartridges). API believes that this initial purchase will lead to additional units for operations throughout the world. In addition, API has been approached by other military and meteorological users from the US, NATO, and around the world interested in the Portable Balloon Inflation System technology and products.
API's Director of Engineering, Mr. Sean McIntosh, said, "We are very pleased with the testing to date and the current state of the design. We believe we are on track to deliver this new system to the Air Force on time and on spec, and have it become a standard piece of equipment."
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