Czech company pioneers process for environmental re-use of rocket and missile fuel

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A Czech company has come up with an innovative process for re-using old rocket and missile fuel. After launching on the European market, Eruca Technologies is now seeking to turn its know-how into dollars in the US.

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Not quite turning swords into ploughshares, but an innovative Czech company is seeking to profit from its patented technology for re-using the fuel used to power missiles and rockets by branching out into the US market. Eruca Technologies has signed a contract with US consulting company Ridge Global, which specializes in opening the door for small companies to place their innovative technology and profit from it with some of the world’s biggest firms.

Eruca, is a daughter company of the Czech chemical group Bochemie, which is better known for its cleaning, disinfectant, and wood treatment and preservation products.

The contract covers Eruca’s know-how for breaking down and transforming missile and rocket fuel which has, so to speak passed its sell by date, into Ammonium Perchlorate Composite (APC). In this way, the main raw material to power solid fuel rockets can be re-used again in new weapons or in civil applications such as the production of air bags for cars.

The process includes milling, macerating, filtration, purification, cystrallization, drying and packaging. The whole process has the advantage of being low energy intensive. Rubber and aluminium are also recovered during processing and can be commercially re-used.

“This breakthrough allows the production of basic materials for both military and civil use and without any negative effects on the environment,” the general director of Bochemie, Miloslav Vodička told the Czech business daily, E15. Previously, the standard procedure for dealing with old fuel was simply to burn it with all the environmental pollution associated with such a step.

An industrial production plant using the innovative Eruca process is already up and running at Bohumín in the Moravia-Silesia region for over a year after complicated procedures to win all the required certification and approvals. The overwhelming majority of the APC produced is sold on the European market.

“There are around 200,000 missiles and rockets in NATO European stockpiles and reserves, so the market is very large,” Eruca’s managing director Marek Beneš told Radio Prague. The US market is even bigger, he added, saying that the main aim of the Czech company is to sell the licenses and know-how for the fuel recovery process to an American company.

Beneš says the innovative processing was the fruit of putting together a team of just over a dozen in company and outside experts with in-depth knowledge of the

Given the fact that fairly sensitive military companies and equipment as well as regulatory procedures will need to be dealt with, the right contacts within the US corporate and military spheres are regarded as essential for entering the American market.

Ridge Global was founded by former US Republican politician and governor of Pennsylvania, Tom Ridge. He served as an advisor on homeland security to former US president George W. Bush in the immediate aftermath of the September 11, 2001 attacks. He later went on to become the first Secretary for the newly created Department for Homeland Security, a post which he held for just over two years. Ridge Global specializes in security issues and boasts that it has all the contacts needed to cut through a complex policy landscape so that it can get results.