November 28, 2018
Out-of-this-world food: Technology goes from the moon to grocery aisle, improving food production and quality, taste
Purdue-affiliated startup Induction Food Systems creates on-demand heating first developed for lunar space exploration
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Technology originally developed in work with NASA to help lunar colonies may soon be heating the food found on many holiday dinner tables.
George Sadler, a Purdue College of Agriculture alumnus who co-founded IFS, originally began working on the technology through a Small Business Innovation Research grant from NASA. He partnered with entrepreneur Francesco Aimone from Columbia University, and they soon realized there was a broad market for their technology.
“We saw that manufacturers and consumers both want a better way to improve an industry that impacts the lives of pretty much everyone around the world,” Aimone said. “After all, we’ve been using the same basic food production processes such as pasteurization for more than 100 years.”
Aimone said their technology increases the speed and efficiency for producing food, and helps manufacturers grow.
“When foods like orange juice are heated up during manufacturing, you lose some of the fresh, authentic taste,” he said. “Our on-demand heating systems give small and large manufacturers a better option to expand production of high-quality products by using plug-and-play heating equipment that is much quicker and about six times more precise than traditional methods.”
IFS’ technology uses a coil and core design in its heating systems. It uses solid-state electronics to generate electromagnetic energy instead of the traditional combustion that creates steam in boilers. A video of the technology is available on the IFS website.
Aimone said their technology is part of a $20 billion market for heating equipment in the food and beverage segment.
The work aligns with Purdue's Giant Leaps celebration, acknowledging the university’s global advancements made in sustainability as part of Purdue’s 150th anniversary. This is one of the four themes of the yearlong celebration’s Ideas Festival, designed to showcase Purdue as an intellectual center solving real-world issues.
The startup is continuing to develop its technology as they launch their next round of pilot testing later this year.
About Purdue Research Foundation
The Purdue Research Foundation is a private, nonprofit foundation created to advance the mission of Purdue University. Established in 1930, the foundation accepts gifts; administers trusts; funds scholarships and grants; acquires property; protects Purdue's intellectual property; and promotes entrepreneurial activities on behalf of Purdue. The foundation manages the Purdue Foundry, Purdue Office of Technology Commercialization, Purdue Research Park and Purdue Technology Centers. The foundation received the 2016 Innovation and Economic Prosperity Universities Award for Innovation from the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities. For more information about funding and investment opportunities in startups based on a Purdue innovation, contact the Purdue Foundry at firstname.lastname@example.org.