Rocket Fuel Startup Nears Finish Line in Army Competition

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Adranos co-founder Chris Stoker (left) and Bruce Jette, assistant secretary of the Army for acquisition, logistics, and technology. (photo courtesy of Purdue) Adranos co-founder Chris Stoker (left) and Bruce Jette, assistant secretary of the Army for acquisition, logistics, and technology. (photo courtesy of Purdue)

West Lafayette-based Adranos Inc. has been named a finalist in the U.S. Army’s xTechSearch competition. The company, which is developing rocket fuel it says is more powerful and environmentally-friendly, has received $125,000 and the opportunity to demonstrate its product for senior Pentagon leaders.

The company's propellant, known as ALITEC, is more efficient and cleaner than traditional propellants and can help the Army achieve Long Range Precision Fire and Air and Missile Defense modernization priorities, according to Adranos co-founder Chris Stoker. He says ALITEC could be used by all branches of the military, as well as NASA, other Department of Defense agencies, and U.S.-allied nations.

"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 Stoker. "This will be a monumental step in achieving adoption of our rocket propellant into actual applications. 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. Recognition as a top-12 technology out of nearly 400 applicants is a huge milestone for us."

The 12 finalists will compete for a $200,000 grand prize. 

Earlier this month, Adranos announced it had secured $800,000 in additional funding to continue testing the propellant. The majority of the funding came from Archibald Cox Jr., chairman of private investment firm Sextant Group Inc., with the remainder coming from Utah's USTAR TAP program, which supports private-sector technology development.

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