Can rocket fuel be formulated to be both more powerful and more environmentally friendly? A team from Indiana says they can do just that. Adranos Energetics LLC’s formulation uses what is described as micro-explosive tendencies, which are designed to create higher thrust while emitting less hydrochloric acid than traditional solid fuels. Aeronautical and Astronautical Engineer Brandon Terry, a Purdue University graduate, and Lafayette attorney Chris Stoker, an Indiana University graduate, are co-founders of the startup. During the INnovators with Dr. K, Terry said the fuel "solves a problem that had been plaguing the rocket industry for more than 50 years."
He says the company came together within a year of Terry running initial simulations and applying for patents. Adranos’ primary markets are in aerospace and defense, which Stoker says includes "pretty much anybody who’s trying to get to space" and U.S. and Allied governments who spend some $3 billion per year on solid rocket propellant.
In February, the team won the Gold Division of Purdue’s Burton D. Morgan Business Plan Competition, earning a $30,000 payout, space at the Purdue Technology Center and consulting services from Indianapolis-based Ice Miller LLP. Adranos is seeking up to $1 million in private investment to help fund research and scale up. In all, Stoker says competition winnings have amounted to around $100,000 for the company’s current, small-scale stage of operation. He says an additional $200,000 in government funding is on the way.
The Adranos team also includes Purdue MBA graduate Shane McGuire and Purdue aeronautical and astronautical engineering undergraduate Luciano Mozzone.
Dr. K offered his "Three C’s" for growing the company:
Credence – Must convince investors that this can move from the academic laboratory to actual users
Capital – Needed investment to support phase three research
Collaboration – Partner with public or private organizations in aerospace industry