Tech Exchange

Insect Processing Technologies for Chicken Feed

The growing scarcity of resources to produce increasingly demanded ingredients, such as soybean meal and animal protein meals, has doubled feed costs in the recent years. Thus, alternative protein sources, including insects, are urgently needed. Insects must be introduced in the feed chain, and multiple quality parameters need to be taken into account: quality, availability, and cost. Expectations for new technologies include a processing method for the insect, nutritional evaluation, identification of microbiological problems, and financial evaluation to understand the viability of the business.

Posted in: Tech Needs, NASA Tech Needs

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New Synthetic Nematicides

Nematodes are among the most damaging crop pests. Very few available chemical nematicides can affect control, and some options are restricted by the Environmental Protection Agency and similar bodies. Nematodes damage plant roots, and reduce the plant’s ability to take up water and nutrients. The need is great to discover less toxic, and more environmentally acceptable, chemical substitutes for the current suite of commercial nematicides. Successful technologies must demonstrate efficacy against nematodes or nematode damage to plants, provide at least benchtop data to support efficacy claims, and display new and/or multiple modes of action.

Posted in: NASA Tech Needs

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Preventing Adhesion of Cellulose to Steel

A client’s application joins cellulose and a resin binder. A combination of the binding agent and fibers sticks to the surface of the steel. The organization therefore seeks novel foams, coatings, and gels to act as a physical buffer between the fibers and the steel. The physical buffer must function up to temperatures of 400 °F. The solution may also provide a blanketing function to keep all particles together during transport of the loose fibers.

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Personal Cleansing Innovations

Personal cleansing after using the bathroom is a worldwide necessity, and various cultures solve that need differently. New devices must facilitate this type of cleaning and deliver soothing formulations onto the skin. The technology will serve as an alternative to Western dry toilet paper, European bidets, and moistened wipes. Proposed formulations must also reduce pain or irritation. Solutions may also contain common ingredients, including aloe, lanolin, or various vitamins.

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Bacteria Elimination from Hard Surfaces

Long-term care facilities are subject to outbreaks of Clostridium difficile (C. diff) bacteria that form a hard shell, enter a vegetative spore state, and are thus able to withstand conventional cleaning. An active ingredient or mechanical/ electronic means must minimize the threat of C. diff and its spores. The bacteria proliferate when a person touches a hard surface where C. diff spores exist. A client seeks a way to break the transmission of bacteria and viruses from surfaces to hands and eyes. Speed of disinfection must be part of the solution.

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Insulating Coating for a Ceramic Substrate

A client seeks an insulating coating for a ceramic substrate and a method of applying it. Electrical leakage from one side of the substrate to the other causes damage. A thin coating is preferred for the application, but the critical specification is the relative permittivity of the coating, which should be smaller than 20 micrometers. A proposed solution must cover 100% of an area approximately 0.5 × 0.5 m, with an average surface roughness (Ra) ~500nm, and peak-to-valley measurements of ~5 micrometers. Operating conditions for the coating after application are at near-room-temperature.

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Industrial-Scale Gas Separation

A company has a process stream made up of a variety of gases and molecules. They seek effective industrial-scale technologies that separate methane from other hydrocarbons in the stream, as well as from lighter and heavier molecules. The large-scale gas streams must be separated into their constituent molecules at purity rates above 90%. Proposed solutions should address boundary conditions, required or expected pressures, operating temperatures, and compatibility with various molecules and gas stream contaminants. The technologies must also be feasible for process streams that run in the 100,000 tons per annum or greater.

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