Lunar Resources proposes to develop, test and validate a full-scale prototype molten regolith electrolysis (MRE) oxygen capturing, filtering and storage system (OxPS) designed during the Phase I effort. The OxPS is being developed to capture vaporized gasses extracted from lunar regolith by an MRE (or other types of high temperature electrolytic processes). Then the OxPS will filter out the containments to yield 99.5% high-purity oxygen which is stored for human consumption or utilized as an oxidizer for launch vehicles. In addition, the OxPS has been designed to filter any vaporized metals (Mg, Ca, etc.). The prototype OxPS being developed as part of this Phase II effort will be built at full scale and tested with a protoflight MRE system. The success of the Phase II effort will raise the maturity of the OxPS to a TRL 5 and demonstrate the ability to capture, purify, and store oxygen extracted from an MRE technology at an industrial scale (3,650kg oxygen per year).
The OxPS will provide NASA with 99.5% purity oxygen extracted from regolith from an MRE process. The oxygen can be used for human consumption on a Lunar Base, the Gateway, ISS, or other future human space assets. In addition, the oxygen can be used as an oxidizer to refuel lunar landers and spacecraft. Other direct uses are lunar or in-space farming, utilization for science experiments, gas to clear regolith from surface infrastructure. And the technology can be used on Mars for future Martian missions.
Non-NASA applications of the OxPS involves utilizing the system to capture, filter and store vaporized gasses for high-temperature resource extraction processes such as steel and aluminum production. By capturing the emissions, the OxPS will be may be able to significantly cut greenhouse gas emissions produced during resource processing activities.