Robust Multi-Mode Sterilizer for Austere Environments

Period of Performance: 08/23/2006 - 05/23/2007


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Luna Innovations, Inc.
301 1st St Suite 200
Roanoke, VA 24011
Principal Investigator


Steam sterilization, or autoclaving, is the preferred method for eliminating the risk of cross infection through contaminated instruments and the only one recommended throughout the world by healthcare professionals including the W.H.O. (World Healthcare Organization) and C.D.C. (Center of Disease Control). At a pressure of 2 atmospheres, recommended temperatures for steam autoclave specifications is 121 aC in the US and 134 aC in Europe. Unfortunately, the ability to generate these levels of pressure and temperature are currently dependent on the availability of electrical power, which can be problematic for military hospitals in austere environments. Luna Innovations proposes to develop a system capable of effectively sterilizing medical instruments with or without electrical power. The focus of the Phase I program will be to demonstrate effective generation of pressure and temperature to sterilize contaminated material without electrical power. During the Phase II of the program, Luna will develop a full-scale integrated solid-state steam autoclave system for operation with or without electrical power. Luna has assembled the highly qualified, multidisciplinary team required for a successful program and has a history of bringing novel research from the laboratory to commercial markets. BENEFITS: Decontamination and sterilization of medical equipment in austere environments is vitally important in military hospitals. Luna¡¦s proposed system addresses this need with a multi-mode steam sterilizater that is not dependent on electrical power. This system is effective as a non-destructive, non-toxic method for sterilization in commercial applications such as pharmaceutical, medical, dental, food, and military activities of concern to civilian lives and national security. This system will be able to fulfill the sterilization needs during threats of biological warfare during power outages that might occur during such emergencies. It is possible that the developed system can be independent from solid-state sterilization systems and be portable for individual use and included in current first aid kits.