Knowledge of Reflex Furnaces came into the hands of Humans following the Macross Incident when the SDF-1 crash-landed on the planet Earth. This encounter led to the cessation of hostilities in the Global War and the alien craft was studied leading to the development of Robotechnology. Among the products of this study were Reflex Furnaces with one such device being developed on Mars where it was used to power the base at Mars Base Sara. This furnace was located deep underground and was responsible for powering the United Earth Government research outpost.
During the First Robotech War, Captain Henry Gloval had Lisa Hayes overload the Reflex Furnace in order to destroy the Zentraedi underground Gravity Mines that was holding the SDF-1 to Mars surface. After causing a chain reaction, the Furnace exploded and its location allowed it to knock out the Gravity Mines thus allowing the SDF-1 to escape the trap set by Khyron.
Through their alliance with the Haydonites, the Robotech Expeditionary Force discovered Shadow Technology which allowed them to shield their Reflex Furnaces from detection by the Invid. This system meant that these power systems were completely invisible to the Regess's Protoculture Sensors and made them highly effective against this foe during the course of the Third Robotech War.
In the Fourth Robotech War, the Haydonites turned against the REF following the departure of the Invid and the cybernetic race intended to eliminate all races that used Protoculture. This saw a battle being waged at Space Station Liberty where the REF fleet was devastated. Learning that the Shadow Technology was booby trapped by the Haydonites, Captain Vince Grant asked Louie Nichols search for a non-Shadow tech equipped ship. He discovered a colony ship in the Ark Angel but its Reflex Furnace was down and required an hour to power up. Once restarted, the ship was used to evacuate the station and allowed the United Earth Forces to escape the detonation of the Neutron-S missiles used to seemingly destroy the Haydonite fleet.