Hydrogen Reduction of Lunar Soil and Simulants

by Robert O. Ness, Jr., Univ of North Dakota Energy and, Environmental Research Cent, Grand Forks, United States,
Laura L. Sharp, Univ of North Dakota Energy and, Environmental Research Cent, Grand Forks, United States,
David W. Brekke, Univ of North Dakota Energy and, Environmental Research Cent, Grand Forks, United States,
Christian W. Knudsen, Univ of North Dakota Energy and, Environmental Research Cent, Grand Forks, United States,
Michael A. Gibson, Univ of North Dakota Energy and, Environmental Research Cent, Grand Forks, United States,



Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Engineering, Construction, and Operations in Space III

Abstract: Carbotek, Inc., and the Energy and Environmental Research Center (EERC) are cooperating on further development of the Carbotek process to produce oxygen from lunar ilmenite by hydrogen reduction. The process uses a minimum of earth-imported process materials and will support the settlements of the twenty-first century by providing a long-term cost-effective method of providing life support and fuel for transportation systems. Work has progressed in three areas: reactivity tests of lunar ilmenite and comparison with earth-derived simulant material (reported in a companion paper in this conference), development of analytical methods for ilmenite reduction samples (reported in this and the companion paper), and process development on a 1- to 4-lb/hr continuous flow fluid-bed reactor (CFBR) (reported in this paper). Analytical techniques are being developed in order by using automated scanning electron microscope techniques (SEM). These techniques involve statistically determining the amount of ilmenite in the lunar simulant and the amount of ilmenite and reduced product materials in the bed overflow material. Process development in the CFBR included installation of a more robust feed system, necessary for longer operation using the very abrasive Minnesota Lunar Simulant (MLS-1) material.

Subject Headings: Lunar materials | Hydrogen | Materials processing | Bed materials | Fluid flow | Chemical processes | Oxygen | North America | Minnesota | United States

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