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CO2 and Steam Co-Electrolysis for Resource Utilization in Space

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CO2 and Steam Co-Electrolysis for Resource Utilization in Space ( co2-and-steam-co-electrolysis-resource-utilization-space )

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The Concept and Analytical Investigation of CO2 and Steam Co-Electrolysis for Resource Utilization in Space Exploration Michael G. McKellar*, Carl M. Stoots†, Manohar S. Sohal‡ Idaho National Laboratory, Idaho Falls, ID, 83415-3710 Lila M. Mulloth§, Bernadette Luna¶ NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, California 94035-1000 and Morgan B. Abney** NASA Marshall Space Flight Center, Huntsville, Alabama, 35812 CO2 acquisition and utilization technologies will have a vital role in designing sustainable and affordable life support and in situ fuel production architectures for human and robotic exploration of Moon and Mars. For long-term human exploration to be practical, reliable technologies have to be implemented to capture the metabolic CO2 from the cabin air and chemically reduce it to recover oxygen. Technologies that enable the in situ capture and conversion of atmospheric CO2 to fuel are essential for a viable human mission to Mars. This paper describes the concept and mathematical analysis of a closed-loop life support system based on combined electrolysis of CO2 and steam (co-electrolysis). Products of the co- electrolysis process include oxygen and syngas (CO and H2) that are suitable for life support and synthetic fuel production, respectively. The model was developed based on the performance of a co-electrolysis system developed at Idaho National Laboratory (INL). Individual and combined process models of the co-electrolysis and Sabatier, Bosch, Boudouard, and hydrogenation reactions are discussed and their performance analyses in terms of oxygen production and CO2 utilization are presented. ARC = C = CH4 = CO = CO2 = H2 = H2O = ISS = LPCOR = Ames Research Center Carbon Methane Carbon monoxide Carbon dioxide Hydrogen water International Space Station Low-power CO2 removal Nomenclature * Research and Development Engineer, Advanced Process and Decision Systems, P.O Box 1625 † Senior Research Engineer, Thermal Fluids and Heat Transfer Department ‡ Senior Research Engineer, Energy Efficiency and Industrial Technology § Senior Engineer, Science Applications International Corporation ¶ Research Scientist, NASA Ames Research Center ** Aerospace Engineer, Environmental Control and Life Support Systems 1 American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics

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