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SBIR Phase II:Protoflight Design and Validation of Molten Regolith Electrolysis Facility For Lunar In-Situ Resource Utilization

Award Information
Agency: National Science Foundation
Branch: N/A
Contract: 2112076
Agency Tracking Number: 2112076
Amount: $1,000,000.00
Phase: Phase II
Program: SBIR
Solicitation Topic Code: SP
Solicitation Number: NSF 20-545
Solicitation Year: 2020
Award Year: 2022
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): 2022-01-01
Award End Date (Contract End Date): 2023-12-31
Small Business Information
United States
DUNS: 081060079
HUBZone Owned: No
Woman Owned: No
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: No
Principal Investigator
 Donald Sadoway
 (617) 253-3487
Business Contact
 Donald Sadoway
Phone: (617) 253-3487
Research Institution

The broader impact/commercial potential of this Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase II project seeks to open the path for resource extraction on the Moon, creating an in-space manufacturing industry, allowing for a permanent presence on the Moon, and expanding the ability to explore the inner planets of the solar system. The technology may result in the ability of humans to operate and live in space: building state-of-the-art research infrastructure, exploring the solar system, creating a space economy independent of Earth, and moving terrestrial manufacturing and power generation into space.This Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase II project may provide new insights into electrorefining metal oxide feedstocks, specifically lunar regolith simulants, through high-temperature electrolysis to yield oxygen and metals. Additionally, the proposed technology will address anode stability and advance studies in novel platinum group metal anodes. The team will use multi-physics modeling for high-temperature electrolysis and for modeling low gravity and lunar vacuum environments. The project may result in the ability to extract oxygen and raw metals from lunar regoliths advancing research in space resource extraction efforts. This advancement in knowledge may aide in the research and development efforts in the fields of materials science, inorganic chemistry, and metallurgy which could result in the carbon-free production of steel and other metals on Earth, new anode materials for high-temperature electrolysis, new electrochemical processes for electrorefining raw feedstocks, and the ability to source oxygen and metals from the Moon and other planetary bodies.This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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