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Enzymatic Degradation of Rocket Propellant Waste

Award Information

Department of Defense
Air Force
Award ID:
Program Year/Program:
2009 / SBIR
Agency Tracking Number:
Solicitation Year:
Solicitation Topic Code:
Solicitation Number:
Small Business Information
Agave BioSystems, Inc.
401 E. State Street Suite 200 Ithaca, AK 14850-
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Woman-Owned: No
Minority-Owned: No
HUBZone-Owned: No
Phase 1
Fiscal Year: 2009
Title: Enzymatic Degradation of Rocket Propellant Waste
Agency / Branch: DOD / USAF
Contract: FA9302-09-M-0004
Award Amount: $100,000.00


During the normal course of research, development, and testing by the DOD small quantities of environmentally hazardous waste propellants, explosives, and pyrotechnics (PEP) are produced. The compliance costs and burden associated with open burn/open detonation operations are considerable, including permit fees, ground water, soil and air sampling, analysis and monitoring of environmental impacts, regulatory tracking and reporting, and compliance inspections. Research and development into alternative methods of small scale degradation is therefore needed. Agave BioSystems proposes to utilize a novel enzymatic process for the biological degradation of hazardous waste propellants, explosives and pyrotechnics. In this Phase I an enzymatic degradation system will be developed and demonstrated using the energetic material RDX. The enzymes required for the complete degradation of RDX will be recruited from various organisms through genetic engineering and biochemical methods. BENEFITS: Successful implementations of the Phase I and Phase II programs will lead to the design and installation of disposal systems at military rocket propellant development lab facilities that lack permitted OBOD facilities. This technology will also provide for the portable disposal of unexploded ordinance. A secondary commercial application is for manufacturers of low-order energetic pyrotechnics (fireworks, road and boating flares). One of the largest potential markets will be the ammonium perchlorate (AP) which is the oxidizer and primary ingredient in solid propellant for most large rocket motors. In addition there is a potential international market provided that the appropriate export controls can be maintained.

Principal Investigator:

Mehran Pazirandeh
Staff Scientist

Business Contact:

Noe Salazar
Small Business Information at Submission:

P.O. Box 100 Ithaca, NY 14850

EIN/Tax ID: 161551819
Number of Employees:
Woman-Owned: No
Minority-Owned: No
HUBZone-Owned: No