Ambient Temperature Oxidation Catalyst for Ethylene Control in Fresh Produce Containers

Period of Performance: 01/01/2012 - 12/31/2012


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

TDA Research, Inc.
12345 W. 52nd Ave. Array
Wheat Ridge, CO 80033
Firm POC
Principal Investigator


The respiration of fresh fruits and vegetables (FF & V) converts oxygen from the surrounding atmosphere into carbon dioxide, moisture and ethylene. While ethylene is used under controlled conditions as a ripening agent, the presence of even small amounts of ethylene gas in shipping and storage containers causes most fresh produce to deteriorate faster, potentially spoiling it before it reaches the store or consumer. Current ethylene control technology is based on potassium permanganate filters. While they are effective, they pose logistics problems because they must be frequently replaced. In addition, the used filters are considered hazardous waste and require special disposal procedures. TDA Research, Inc. (TDA) proposes an ambient temperature oxidation catalyst that could be integrated into current shipping containers and storage facilities to eliminate ethylene. The catalytic oxidizer does not require any replacement and disposal of the used media. The high activity of the catalyst at low temperatures eliminates the need to heat the air that flows through it and reduces operating costs. In Phase I, we will prepare and evaluate various catalyst formulations under representative conditions to prove the technical feasibility of the concept and carry out an economic analysis to evaluate its commercial viability.