Enhanced Fuel Combustion with Solvated Metals

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Researchers at Purdue University have developed a combustion system consisting of solvated metal additives. To satisfy the world's increasing energy demands as well as to reduce the carbon footprint, the quest for energy efficient fuels continues. Purdue researchers developed a fuel with metal additives solvated by outer-sphere electron transferring solvents that do not contain carbon, like ammonia. Compared to other non-carbonaceous fuels like liquid hydrogen, liquid ammonia is easier to store, transport, and handle. Additionally, ammonia is already industrially significant, and methods of manufacturing, handling, and transportation are well-known. This technology theoretically outperforms hydrazine, a non-carbonaceous fuel, at higher oxidizer-to-fuel mass flow ratios as a propellant fuel and can be hypergolic. The fuel is easier to ignite than ammonia and is expected to sustain combustion more stably due to the high reactivity of the metal additive and, thus, could militate against flame-out conditions. The fuel is also less toxic than hydrazine.

Technology Validation: The fuel demonstrated a higher specific impulse than neat liquid ammonia at oxidizer to fuel ratios of 0.5-4.5.

- Easy to store, transport, and handle
- Established methods of manufacturing
- High-performance
- Non-carbonaceous
- Less toxic than hydrazine

- Energy-dense fuel for combustion
- Rocket propulsion
May 30, 2023
Utility-Gov. Funding
United States

May 31, 2022
Provisional-Gov. Funding
United States
Purdue Office of Technology Commercialization
The Convergence Center
101 Foundry Drive, Suite 2500
West Lafayette, IN 47906

Phone: (765) 588-3475
Fax: (765) 463-3486
Email: otcip@prf.org