SBIR-STTR Award

Non-Carcinogenic, Reduced-Toxicity Fuel/Catalyst Replacement for the F-16 EPU, Phase II
Profile last edited on: 9/3/2022

Program
SBIR
Agency
AF
Total Award Amount
$800,000
Award Phase
2
Principal Investigator
Arthur J Fortini
Activity Indicator

Company Information

Ultramet Inc

12173 Montague Street
Pacoima, CA 91331
   (818) 899-0236
   mail@ultramet.com
   www.ultramet.com
Multiple Locations:   
Congressional District:   29
County:   Los Angeles

Phase I

Phase I year
2021
Phase I Amount
$50,000
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.

Phase II

Phase II year
2022 (last award $$: 2022)
Phase II Amount
$750,000
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 Ultramet’s patented catalyst technology, a drop-in replacement gas generator for the F-16 EPU will be developed. Instead of hydrazine-based propellant, the new gas generator will use a non-toxic propellant such as DMAZ (2-dimethylaminoethyl azide). In Phase I, reactivity of DMAZ with Ultramet’s patented catalyst was demonstrated in 20 msec at temperatures down to -48°C (the lowest temperature tested). The Air Force stakeholders have been identified (the 419th Supply Chain Management Squadron, Engineering [419 SCMS/GUEA, Hill AFB, UT] and the F-16 System Program Office [AFLCMC/WWM]), as well as the manufacturer of the current EPU (Honeywell). In Phase II, the basic igniter design will be refined to accommodate the flow rate and throughput required by the Air Force, and full-scale testing of the gas generator will be performed.