Hypergolic Green Rocket Fuel Synthesis with Enhanced Performance

Hypergolic Green Rocket Fuel Synthesis with Enhanced Performance

Docket: UAH-P-09008, 07013


Hydrazine is a highly toxic and corrosive rocket fuel that has been used for many years. Researchers have long sought a more stable, non-toxic Hydrazine alternative that would be easier to handle and would translate into lowered costs by reducing handling time and simplifying processing. One such “green” rocket fuel alternative is Hydroxyethylhydrazinium Nitrate (HEHN). HEHN is currently synthesized in a time-consuming, multi-step process. This process requires the dilution of White Fuming Nitric Acid (WFNA) with water to control the nitration rate of Hydroxyethylhydrazine (HEH) into HEHN, all at high temperatures.

Researchers at UAH have developed a unique one-step synthesis preparation of HEHN-Acetone rocket fuel from 2-HEH. This fuel does not require water dilution to control nitration, thus making it lower-temperature and safer. Also, Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy (FTIR) measurements indicate that the one-step synthesis method produces a superior product over existing products from multi-step procedures.

The novel fuel and synthesis method could have commercial applications in both military and civilian propulsion applications. This technology offers a green alternative to existing toxic fuels including hydrazine and monomethyl hydrazine, and it is faster and safer than current multi-step synthesis procedures.


  • Military and civilian propulsion
  • Rocketry
  • Satellites


  • Fuel ignites consistently and quicker at elevated temperatures
  • Single-step synthesis is a less time consuming process
  • Permits low temperature processing, increasing safety


  • State of Development: Developed
  • Licensing Status: Available for licensing
  • Patent Status: Patented