Earlier this year, General-Propulsion Inc. (GP) initiated discussions with the City of Ogdensburg to investigate means for cooperation that would result in mutual benefits. John Hensler, GP’s Vice President of Engineering, is working closely with Ogdensburg City Manager/CEO, Mr. Arthur Sciorra, to create the right conditions for successful capitalization of the firm. GP expects to hire some 20 new manufacturing and administrative personnel over the next few months for the commercialization of its “SCEG” wheel vehicle Power Take Off technology and then branch out into the Electricity Storage market with its “ALEX” Fuel Cell technology over the next 15 month period, resulting in an additional 200 shop floor labor positions.
Ogdensburg was identified as the most suitable location for GP in the United States for a number of reasons, which include its rail connectivity, deep water port, an airport that is capable to handle commuter size traffic, highway infrastructure, existing and available manufacturing facilities which are owned by the City of Ogdensburg and are made available for use by GP (such as the 14,000 square-feet warehouse on Ford Street), close proximity to the Fort Drum Army Base which fits into GP’s Business Plan as a means to expand its military markets, and the bridge to Canada which provides a convenient link to GP’s parent organization in Ottawa. Mr. Sciorra said, “I have been working closely with G.P.s vice president, John Hensler, I want to see his projects succeed and begin manufacturing products here in Ogdensburg.”
GP is a private, Naval Engineering company that operated as a working group within HENSMAND Ltd. – Integral Dynamics Division (HMID) for over 20 years, serving the Canadian Navy, the US Navy and commercial clients, including Rolls-Royce, Siemens, Westinghouse among many others. The diminishing resources available for the conduct of naval R&D in Canada affected GP. After several rounds of downscaling the company investigated alternatives for the commercialization of its Peace Dividend technologies, including a failed attempt for an Initial Public Offering that was aimed to raise capital by selling shares on the stock market, and a corporate merger to get access to the Toronto Stock Exchange. The present effort is designed to raise funds for commercialization of the Peace Dividend technologies via diversion of money from operating cash flow. Cash flow is going to be built up by moving GP’s core strengths, and with that its international reputation in Naval Engineering, to Ogdensburg from where new contracts with the US military will be sought.
GP’s plans coincide with those by the City of Ogdensburg for regional development, ranging from the provision of employment opportunities to revitalization of its waterfront. GP is gearing up to function as the hub for other companies that will form a cluster of like-minded organizations around it. These clustered industries are targeted to come from Clarkson University’s start up incubator program and will be the types, which support and build on each other’s strengths, anchored by GP’s Peace Dividend technologies.
Both the SCEG and the ALEX are Peace Dividend technologies that were originally developed for naval use on board destroyers and submarines. During the 1990s, GP won a succession of contracts from the Canadian Navy to develop Electric Propulsion technologies, which meet the ever more demanding and increasingly more stringent requirements that come with the Canadian Navy’s traditional role in NATO for Anti Submarine Warfare. These contracts resulted in the development of several high technology military products some of which are now available for commercialization.
Electric Propulsion is associated with many beneficial characteristics for naval ships, most particularly its low underwater acoustic signature. Electric Propulsion also keeps the Navy “affordable” as it offers a fuel economy that is superior to that of its traditional geared mechanical counterpart. After much R&D effort, an electric motor has evolved that packs twice as much power as a regular machine does while in the same time it costs just about the same. The principle of this naval electric propulsion motor was applied to create the SCEG. The SCEG (Self Contained Electric Generator) is an electric machine that is integrated into the rim of car wheels.
As evidenced by large catastrophic events in the near past, such as the 1998 Ice Storm, which destroyed much of the Power Grid infrastructure in the Eastern United States, and the 2003 blackout, the cause of which is still shrouded in mystery, and which left some 50 million people without power, our society utterly depends on electricity, however, availability of power from the utility provider is anything but certain. People living in areas that are frequented by blackouts, such as Florida during each Hurricane Season, can get some comfort by having standby bower generators. However, such devices are too small to maintain all amenities of the homes they serve, are noisy and hence require special features to locate them, maintenance intensive and lack portability. As a net result, backup generator installations are not wide spread throughout the country. On the other hand, virtually everybody has access to a car. The engine in the car represents a power capacity that far exceeds the needs of a home, and in fact can run a dairy farm, a small business and keep the corner gas station pumping during a blackout. The SCEG provides the means for a Power Take Off (PTO) and thus facilitates tapping on the power capacity that is inherently resident in the engine of anyone’s car. The SCEG is a wheel, that functions just like any other car wheel, except that the SCEG can be turned into an electric power generator by the flip of its internal clutching mechanism.
The other high technology Peace Dividend product that GP plans to commercialize and produce in Ogdensburg following successful commercialization of the SCEG technology, is a derivative from a power source that was designed to facilitate long submerged endurance periods for the submarine fleet of the Canadian Navy under the Arctic ice cap. The ALEX (Aluminum Electron Extractor) is a Fuel Cell, which consumes metallic Aluminum as its fuel. Metallic Aluminum is reacted with Oxygen at room temperature, to release large quantities of electricity. The by-product of this reaction is Aluminum-oxide, which is a benign substance used as the base compound in some toothpaste, and also is fully recyclable.
During the reaction, the ALEX produces over 6 times more energy from Aluminum than what is produced by an engine from the same volume of diesel fuel. Energy produced from Aluminum also cost less than half of that produced from oil based energy carrier substances. When produced at the point of generation, ALEX yields electricity at about 11 cents for 1 kilowatt-hour, which is as much as some 4 to 8 times cheaper than wind and solar energy is sold to customers. Market viability of wind and solar power is highly negatively affected by the unpredictability of when production can occur, how much production can occur, and also the high cost of building new infrastructure to take this form of energy to the market.
On the other hand, aluminum can be produced at the point of electric power generation without the need for infrastructure, and is not affected by the time when it gets produced. In other words, the wind and solar energy is deposited into Aluminum, which then can be shipped to the point of energy consumption and/or can be stockpiled for use during emergencies and power shortages.
GP’s future plans include an after-market conversion package for vehicles that allow conversion of any regular production car on the market to operate as an Electric Vehicle by flipping a switch from running the car’s regular internal combustion engine to running on Aluminum. This design combines the SCEG wheels with and onboard ALEX and results in a range that allows driving a Cadillac size luxury sedan from New York to Florida without having to make a pit stop for refuelling. In essence, oil based fuels get replaced by clean, renewable sources of energy such as wind and solar to power regular type cars that are on the road today.
GP’s Business Plan includes several other projects, which are lined up for development, commercialization and production in Ogdensburg during the period of the next five years.