Steady State Composition with Low Fe²+ Concentrations for Efficient O2 Production by Magma Electrolysis of Lunar Soils

by Larry A. Haskin, Washington Univ, St. Louis, United States,
Russell O. Colson, Washington Univ, St. Louis, United States,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

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


Parameters are estimated for a hypothetical, well stirred, continuous-feed electrolytic cell that converts 20% of a lunar soil feedstock to O2 gas, 26% to Fe-Si metal, 13% to spinel, and 41% to slag. Advantages of a molten Fe-Si cathode for trapping metal on reduction, a relatively conductive steady-state composition in equilibrium with spinel (a proposed container material), and close electrodes (<1 cm cathode-anode distance) are discussed. To produce 1 tonne of O2, -6 MHW of energy are required for the electrolysis and IR heating within the melt, and another -6 MHW may be introduced as waste heat through internal resistance of the electrodes. Thus, to produce 1 tonne of O2 per 24 hours, -0.5 MW of power delivered to the cell would be required.

Subject Headings: Lunar materials | Steady states | Wells (oil and gas) | Metals (chemical) | Soil gas | Parameters (statistics) | Slag | Equilibrium

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