SBIR Phase I: Novel Optical Materials for Cooking Fast Foods without Fryer Oils
National Science Foundation
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Small Business Information
C12 Advanced Technologies, LLC
3101 111th Street SW, Suite R, Everett, WA, 98204-3590
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged:
AbstractThis Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase I project will develop innovative optical materials with the potential to revolutionize fried food production and numerous other industries. A new technology is needed to solve health and safety risk problems that are associated with oil immersion cooking. Oil immersion cooking results in unacceptably large increases in absorbed oil and fat content in fried foods. The research objective is to develop an oil-less frying technique based on spectrally selective infrared light. Conventional infrared heating elements are poorly suited to these frying applications because they are not spectrally selective and emit large portions of their energy at longer wavelengths that quickly scorch and damage food products. This research will develop a series of advanced ceramic materials, which when heated only emit light at selective shorter infrared wavelengths that are useful in frying fast foods. If successful, this research will result in array of materials which can rapidly and efficiently fry foods that are tasty, without the need for oil, while using less energy and costing less than traditional oil immersion cooking. The broader impact/commercial potential of this project will be in the food industry. The commercial focus will initially be on cooking fast foods without fryer oils. French fries, for example, can absorb 30% by weight of the cooking oil used in deep frying. This new infrared cooking technology has the potential to significantly reduce society?s consumption of deep fryer oils and fats which are a major contributor to the obesity epidemic. Cooking using wavelength-selective infrared light energy has the potential to achieve superior or comparable taste quality without the absorbed oil. This technology will also enhance scientific and technological understanding in the areas of food processing, bulk drying, and sterilization. Many other important applications exist for true wavelength selective infrared emitting materials that do not radiate energy at wavelengths which overheat, burn, or destroy valuable food characteristics during processing.
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