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Non-Carcinogenic, Reduced-Toxicity Fuel/Catalyst Replacement for the F-16 EPU

Award Information
Agency: Department of Defense
Branch: Air Force
Contract: FA8649-21-P-0434
Agency Tracking Number: FX203-CSO1-1480
Amount: $50,000.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: SBIR
Solicitation Topic Code: AF203-CSO1
Solicitation Number: X20.3
Solicitation Year: 2020
Award Year: 2021
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): 2021-02-05
Award End Date (Contract End Date): 2021-05-03
Small Business Information
12173 Montague Street
Pacoima, CA 91331-2210
United States
DUNS: 052405867
HUBZone Owned: No
Woman Owned: No
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: No
Principal Investigator
 Arthur J. Fortini
 (818) 899-0236
Business Contact
 Craig N. Ward
Phone: (818) 899-0236
Research Institution

The emergency power units (EPU) on the F-16 and U-2 aircraft use a hydrazine-water mixture known as H70 to generate hydraulic and electrical power. Hydrazine is flammable, corrosive, poisonous, and carcinogenic, so the Air Force would like to replace it. The use of alternative safer fuels will enable the Air Force to realize a significant cost savings by eliminating the need for high-cost support equipment and training for maintainers. In this project, using patented catalyst technology, Ultramet will develop a drop-in replacement gas generator for the F-16 EPU. Instead of hydrazine-based propellant, the new gas generator will use a non-toxic propellant such as DMAZ (2-dimethylaminoethyl azide). In previous work, reactivity of DMAZ with Ultramet’s patented catalyst was demonstrated down to -32°C (the lowest temperature tested). One of the goals of the current effort will be to determine the minimum reaction temperature. In addition to low temperature catalysts, low temperature hypergolic solids will also be investigated for other non-toxic propellants such as AF-M315E and LMP-103S. The goal is to identify a combination of propellant and catalyst/hypergolic solid that can reliably function at or below -54°C. The Air Force stakeholder has been identified (the 419th Supply Chain Management Squadron, Engineering (419 SCMS/GUEA, Hill AFB, UT), as well as the manufacturer of the current EPU (Honeywell). Once the preferred propellant-catalyst/hypergolic solid combination has been downselected, Ultramet will develop a top-level design for the gas generator portion of the EPU and work with Honeywell to determine the best path forward for implementation.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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