In Phase I, OxEon investigated several cathode compositions for redox tolerance. The modified nickel cermet based cathode compositions were subjected multiple oxidation reduction cycles to evaluate electrolysis performance in button cell configuration. Several of the cathode compositions showed capability of electrolysis operation after oxidation reduction cycle including exposure to oxidizing environment for as long as 48 hours. The performance dropped slightly after each cycle but the cells were still functional. Cells were subjected to 20 thermal cycles and one rapid heat up of 15 °C/min. The cell performance completely recovered after each cycle.
In Phase further optimization of the cathode composition and fabrication process is planned. After evaluation in button cells, stacks using the selected cathode composition will be assembled and tested. Tests include electrolysis of CO2, H2O separately and together. Stacks will be subjected to multiple redox cycles and thermal cycles including rapid heat up to evaluate their capability to continue to produce oxygen and fuel with minimal change in performance.
The intended target application is Mars ISRU. Specifically, the electrolysis stacks will generate oxygen and fuel on Mars using in-situ resource such as carbon dioxide from Martian atmosphere and subsurface water.
The stacks will be used to produce hydrogen an oxygen by steam electrolysis. The intended application for the produced hydrogen is for transportation. Co-electrolysis of CO2 and H2O to produce synthesis gas which can be either converted to synthetic methane or liquid hydrocarbon fuels. The primary target application is the storage of intermittent renewable energy.