NASA SBIR 2004 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 04 B3.04-7609
SUBTOPIC TITLE: Food and Galley
PROPOSAL TITLE: Development of a multipurpose extruder/press food processing system

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Triple "F", inc.
10104 Douglas Avenue
Des Moines, IA 50322-3600

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Wilmot Wijeratne
10104 Douglas Avenue
Des Moines, IA 50322-3600

Insta-Pro International, proposes the design and development of a versatile, compact, lightweight, energy efficient, and easy maintained seed processing equipment that can be operated in low gravity environments. The proposed equipment, a scale down refinement based on successful current large scale Insta-Pro processing systems, can be used for cooking, shaping, texturizating, dehydration, phase separation, and stabilization of crops such as rice, beans, peanuts and soybeans to support human planetary explorations. The equipment will be designed to use internally generated heat for processing food to reduce or eliminate the need for inherently inefficient heating from an external source. In addition, the equipment will be optimized to minimize the Equivalent System Mass (ESM) while maximizing the quality of the final product. Anticipated results for Phase I will be detailed plans for the design of the optimized food processing equipment attained by computational simulation of various concept designs . This optimum design will provide the basis for hardware development and testing in Phase II and the manufacture and marketing (in Phase III) to a wide array of users.


The primary NASA application will be for cooking, forming and shelf life extension of food crops in long duration space missions such as Lunar or Martian mission. Additional applications include liquid extraction in a low gravity environment to produce vegetable oil from peanuts or soybeans as well as potential use for dehydration and volume reduction of wet solid foods, and heat treatment for microbial or enzyme inactivation to reduce biological hazards associated with wastes.

Potential non-NASA commercial markets for the proposed multipurpose food processor include: federal agencies such as the Department of Defense food services; private sector markets such as commercial airline, rail, and maritime food preparation systems and the fast food industry, as well as institutions of higher education such as food engineering research and educational programs. Customized versions of the proposed processor has the potential to be commercialized as low capacity equipment to process seed materials available only in small quantities for organizations involved in biotechnological innovations, for small agribusiness in developing countries and for home use.