Oklahoma State University, 2012 - $20,000

Shipments of vaccines are often temperature-sensitive and require special care while in transit from manufacturer to end user. This presents a problem in emerging markets; about 50% of the vaccines shipped by the World Health Organization are damaged in transit. Even in the US, the vaccines for a children’s program faces a $20 million loss in vaccine wastage due to poor temperature regulation.

The MaxQ E-Team is developing MaxTemp, a series of multi-use, lightweight, insulated shipping containers made of a novel composite material called NeoTherm. NeoTherm consists of a vacuum core sandwiched between two face sheet materials. The core contains a combination of space-grade, silica-based porous insulation material and structurally rigid honeycomb material, which are vacuum-sealed inside an aluminum-coated thin sheet. MaxTemp containers have three major advantages over existing insulated storage containers: they have much larger maximum usable volume (up to 80%), a higher insulation rating and high impact resistance. Their initial target market is in the US with the American Red Cross for blood transport and storage; they are also exploring the food transport and cattle reproduction markets.