PRODUCTION OF OXYGEN BY ELECTROLYSIS OF LUNAR SOIL IN MOLTEN SALT

Award Information
Agency:
National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Amount:
$488,000.00
Program:
SBIR
Contract:
N/A
Solitcitation Year:
N/A
Solicitation Number:
N/A
Branch:
N/A
Award Year:
1991
Phase:
Phase II
Agency Tracking Number:
11965
Solicitation Topic Code:
N/A
Small Business Information
Emec Consultants
R.d. 3, Roundtop Road, Export, PA, 15632
Hubzone Owned:
N
Woman Owned:
N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged:
N
Duns:
N/A
Principal Investigator
 Rudolf Keller
 Doctor
 (412) 325-3260
Business Contact
 RUDOLF KELLER
Title: SOLE PROPRIETOR
Phone: (412) 325-3260
Research Institution
N/A
Abstract
COSTS FOR MISSIONS IN SPACE CAN BE REDUCED SIGNIFICANTLY BY UTILIZING LUNAR RESOURCES. CONSIDERING THE GREAT INTEREST IN THE AVAILABILITY OF OXYGEN, WE PROPOSE TO INVESTIGATE ITS ELECTROLYTIC PRODUCTION FROM MOLTEN SALT. THIS PROCESS USES LUNAR SOIL WITH MINIMUM OR NO BENEFICIATION AND DOES NOT PRODUCE ANY WASTE. A METAL ALLOYIS OBTAINED AS A USEFUL BYPRODUCT. THIS APPROACH HAS BEEN SUGGESTED BY EMEC CONSULTANTS AT A RECENT NASA WORK SHOP AND HAS BEEN FOUND TO BE PARTICULARLY ATTRACTIVE. TROUBLEFREE CATHODIC DEPOSITION AND RECOVERY OF THE METAL COMPONENTS, MINIMAL ELECTROLYTE LOSSES, AND SUFFICIENT STABILITY OF ANODES EMPLOYED ARE MAJOR PREREQUISITES FOR THEENVISIONED PROCESS TO BE VIABLE. IN PHASE I, THE CATHODIC DEPOSITION OF THE METAL COMPONENTS OF LUNAR SOIL WILL BE STUDIED. EXPERIMENTATION WILL BE CONDUCTED WITH CARLTON PEAK ANORTHOSITE AND UNIVERSITY OF MINNESOTA MLS-1 AS THE MAJOR LUNAR SOIL SIMULANTS. WHILE MAINLY CARBON ANODES WILL BE EMPLOYED IN PHASE I, ELECTROLYSIS WITH OXYGEN-EVOLVING ANODES WILL BE STUDIED IN PHASE II, INTRODUCING A WIDE RANGE OF FEED MATERIAL COMPOSITIONS. PHASE II WILL ALSO INCLUDE WORK ON THE RECOVERY OF LITHIUM FROM THE CATHODE PRODUCT. THE DEVELOPED TECHNOLOGY MAY ALSO LEAD TO UNCONVENTIONAL SOLUTIONS IN TERRESTRIAL ORE PROCESSING.

* information listed above is at the time of submission.

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