The development of undulator technologies capable of generating sub-cm undulator periods is assuming an increasing importance in X-ray free electron laser (FEL) applications. Indeed, such devices jointly with the high brightness electron beams already demonstrated at operating facilities would allow for lower energy, more compact electron linacs with a beneficial impact on the size and cost of X-ray FEL facilities. A novel design super-conducting undulator is being developed at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) with the potential of sub-cm periods with reasonably large undulator parameter and gap. The potential and capability of such undulator technology need to be experimentally demonstrated. In this paper, the possibility of constructing an infrared FEL by combining the new undulator with the high brightness beam from the APEX injector facility at LBNL is investigated. Calculations show that the resulting FEL, when operated in self-amplified-spontaneous-emission mode, is expected to deliver a saturated power of almost a MW within a ∼4m undulator length, in a single-spike of coherent radiation at ∼2μm wavelength. It will be also shown that the small-period of the undulator associated with the relatively low energy of the APEX beam, forces the FEL to operate in a regime with unusual and interesting characteristics. The alternative option of laser seeding the FEL is also briefly examined, showing the potential to reduce the saturation length even further. © 2011 Elsevier B.V.