PCI Awarded Army Phase II SBIR Contract for Flameless Cook-Top System

NORTH HAVEN, CT  (September 18, 2009) -- Precision Combustion, Inc. (PCI) announced today that its flameless catalytic combustion cook-top system has been selected for a Phase II SBIR (Small Business Innovation Research) award by the Army. This award will build upon the Phase I work to enable high efficiency heating of a surface using a JP-8 fueled catalytic burner. The use of catalytic combustion enables unusually low NOx and other combustion emissions. Phase II goals will include  refining the technology and fabricating a fully functional griddle, as well as finding low cost manufacturing alternatives to reduce production costs. The resulting unit will be suitable for operation in military environments as well as having the potential to be integrated into the design of other kitchen applications.

Presently used military cook-top units use open flames and operate with low thermal efficiency.  This not only increases fuel consumption, but also makes for uncomfortable working conditions in hot climates and build up of toxic emissions in poorly-ventilated spaces. Open flames are a potential fire hazard and increase the thermal profile of the cooking area, making the units more susceptible to detection in sensitive installations. They can be noisy, typical of a high-intensity diffusion flame burner. The Phase II burner will use a flameless catalytic combustion process within a fully-enclosed module to supply heat to a cooking appliance. This burner will improve operational safety, be relatively quiet, keep fuel exhaust separate from the food and will allow for ducting of exhaust outside of the cooking area.  Benefits to the design include high heating efficiency; reduced contaminant emissions by cleaner combustion, lower noise due to the flameless approach and closer match of combustion and griddle temperatures, and robustness with long maintenance intervals. The focus on liquid fuel offers the potential for compact, lightweight heaters for mobile applications such as mobile burner units and other indoor and vehicular heating applications.  Additionally, the enhanced heat transfer and complete combustion design has potential applications for more effective heating using gaseous fuels in residential and industrial settings.

Rich Mastanduno, the Project’s Principal Investigator, commented,

"We are excited about this opportunity to further develop the technology into a functioning prototype.  In addition to this Army application, there is the potential for similar applications for the Marine Corps, Air Force, Coast Guard and Navy for applications such as water heating and tent or cabin heating. Commercial spin-offs include diesel stoves and heaters for marine applications and diesel burners for residential and industrial heating applications. This is a nice further expansion of PCI's compact burner technologies, which already include  Stirling engine and TEG-based power system manufacturers for meet military and other portable power needs."

Precision Combustion, Inc. (www.precision-combustion.com) is a clean energy technology company developing and manufacturing catalytic devices and systems for energy sector applications. Products include Microlithcompact, high efficiency catalytic reactors and systems for fuel processors, fuel cell systems, compact burners, IC engine emissions aftertreatment, chemical reactors, adsorption-based air cleaning and other applications as well as RCL® ultra-low NOx catalytic combustors for gas turbines and high heat rate downhole steam generators for oil and gas production. Primary customers include manufacturers of aerospace and defense systems, fuel cell systems, engines, gas turbines, chemicals, oil and gas producers and the US Government.  To learn more, visit www.precision-combustion.com.

The U.S. Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program seeks to stimulate technological innovation through competitive solicitations targeted to solve government agency objectives.   Approximately one in eight Phase I proposals are funded for proof-of-concept R&D, with 40%- 45% of those advancing to a Phase II for sustained development.   Winners keep the rights to technology developed and are encouraged to commercialize the technology.