Research Foundation News

October 25, 2018

Rocket fuel startup a finalist in Army tech competition, gets $125,000, chance to showcase technology for Pentagon brass

Andranos test A test fire by Adranos Inc. of a high-performance, solid propellant for long-range missile and space launch systems. The Army has selected Adranos Inc. as a finalist in its xTech search competition. Download image

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. –The U.S. Army has selected Purdue University-affiliated  Adranos Inc. as a finalist in its xTech search competition, awarding the company $125,000 and the opportunity to demonstrate its high-performance rocket propellant for senior Pentagon leaders.

“The financial reward for being selected as a finalist is great, but the most important benefit is the exposure we will receive performing a live launch using our propellant in front of  senior Army officers,” said Chris Stoker, an Adranos co-founder. “This will be a monumental step in achieving adoption of our rocket propellant into actual applications.”

The xTech search was launched in an effort to identify companies and technologies that can help the Army achieve its six major modernization priorities. Adranos is among 12 finalists selected from nearly 400 entrants in the competition and will compete for a grand prize of $200,000. The finalists were announced earlier this month by Thomas P. Russell, deputy assistant Army secretary for research and technology, and Bruce D. Jette, assistant secretary of the Army for acquisition, logistics, and technology.

Stoker said ALITEC, the name of the innovative propellant discovered by Brandon Terry, also a founder of Adranos, while working on his Ph.D. at Purdue, is more efficient and cleaner than traditional propellants and can help the Army achieve its Long Range Precision Fire and Air and Missile Defense modernization priorities. ALITEC uses an aluminum, lithium alloy that has more thrust and is less corrosive than traditional solid propellants.

Andranos Jette Chris Stoker, a co-founder of Adranos Inc., is congratulated by Bruce D. Jette, assistant secretary of the Army for acquisition, logistics, and technology, on being awarded $125,000 and selected as a finalist for the xTech search competition. The xTech search was launched in an effort to identify companies and technologies that can help the Army achieve its six major modernization priorities. Adranos has created a high-performance rocket propellant using technology licensed from Purdue. (Photo provided) Download image

The technology aligns with Purdue's "Giant Leaps" celebrating the university’s global advancements made in health, space, artificial intelligence and sustainability highlights as part of Purdue’s 150th anniversary. Those are the four themes of the yearlong celebration’s Ideas Festival, designed to showcase Purdue as an intellectual center solving real-world issues.

The propellant could be used by the Army, Navy, Air Force, NASA, and other Department of Defense agencies as well as U.S.-allied nations.

“Traction with customers is a critical step for any new business, but it is especially important in the aerospace and defense industry where the number of customers is limited,” Stoker said. “Recognition as a top-12 technology out of nearly 400 applicants is a huge milestone for us.”

Adranos had recently announced it had raised $800,000 to further advance its technology.

Technology used by Adranos is licensed through the Purdue Office of Technology Commercialization, which patented the technology.  

About Purdue Office of Technology Commercialization

The Purdue Office of Technology Commercialization operates one of the most comprehensive technology transfer programs among leading research universities in the U.S. Services provided by this office support the economic development initiatives of Purdue University and benefit the university's academic activities. The office is managed by the Purdue Research Foundation, which 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 foundry@prf.org. For more information on licensing a Purdue innovation, contact the Office of Technology Commercialization at otcip@prf.org.

Writer: Zeina Kayyali, zmkayyali@prf.org

Purdue Research Foundation contact: Tom Coyne, 765-588-1044, tjcoyne@prf.org

Source: Chris Stoker, chris@adranos.com

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