Production of Oxygen by Electrolysis of Lunar Soil in Molten Salt
Production of Oxygen by Electrolysis of Lunar
Soil in Molten Salt
R.D. 3, Roundtop Road
Export, PA 15632
Costs for missions in space may be reduced significantly by utilizing lunar resources,
particularly oxygen. This project will investigate electrolytic production of oxygen
from molten salt. This process would use lunar soil with minimum or no beneficiation
and not produce any waste. A metal alloy would be obtained as a useful byproduct.
Trouble-free cathodic deposition, recovery of the metal components, minimal electrolyte
losses, and sufficient stability of anodes are major prerequisites for the 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 to simulate lunar soil. While mainly carbon anodes
will be employed in Phase I, electrolysis with oxygen-evolving anodes would 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.
Potential Commercial Application:
Potential Commercial Applications: Potential terrestrial spin-offs are the technology
for the processing of fly-ash and unconventional ores.