Lunar Oxygen Production from Ilmenite

by Michael A. Gibson, Carbotek Inc, United States,
Christian W. Knudsen, Carbotek Inc, United States,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Engineering, Construction, and Operations in Space


Carbotek has developed a process for oxygen production from ilmenite-rich lunar deposits to support lunar base operations and large-volume propulsion needs. The reduction of iron oxide in ilmenite by hydrogen at elevated temperatures in a fluidized-bed reactor yields water vapor which is electrolyzed to produce oxygen and hydrogen which is returned to the reactor. Mining and process equipment are powered by nuclear or solar means. Reaction rate, thermodynamic equilibrium, and lunar-gravity fluidization behavior are key factors which have been considered in the development activity.

Subject Headings: Space colonies | Moon | Fluidized bed technology | Lunar materials | Hydrogen | Material properties | Iron compounds

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