Proving the viability of an electrochemical process for the simultaneous extraction of oxygen and production of metal alloys from lunar regolith

Lomax, B. A., Conti, M., Khan, N., Bennett, N. S., Ganin, A. Y. and Symes, M. D. (2020) Proving the viability of an electrochemical process for the simultaneous extraction of oxygen and production of metal alloys from lunar regolith. Planetary and Space Science, 180, 104748. (doi: 10.1016/j.pss.2019.104748)

[img] Text
196778.pdf - Accepted Version
Restricted to Repository staff only until 19 September 2020.

2MB

Abstract

The development of an efficient process to simultaneously extract oxygen and metals from lunar regolith by way of in-situ resource utilisation (ISRU) has the potential to enable sustainable activities beyond Earth. The Metalysis-FFC (Fray, Farthing, Chen) process has recently been proven for the industrial-scale production of metals and alloys, leading to the present investigation into the potential application of this process to regolith-like materials. This paper provides a proof-of-concept for the electro-deoxidation of powdered solid-state lunar regolith simulant using an oxygen-evolving SnO2 anode, and constitutes the first in-depth study of regolith reduction by this process that fully characterises and quantifies both the anodic and cathodic products. Analysis of the resulting metallic powder shows that 96% of the total oxygen was successfully extracted to give a mixed metal alloy product. Approximately a third of the total oxygen in the sample was detected in the off-gas, with the remaining oxygen being lost to corrosion of the reactor vessel. We anticipate, with appropriate adjustments to the experimental set-up and operating parameters, to be able to isolate essentially all of the oxygen from lunar regolith simulants using this process, leading to the exciting possibility of concomitant oxygen generation and metal alloy production on the lunar surface.

Item Type:Articles
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Lomax, Bethany and Ganin, Dr Alexey and Symes, Dr Mark
Authors: Lomax, B. A., Conti, M., Khan, N., Bennett, N. S., Ganin, A. Y., and Symes, M. D.
College/School:College of Science and Engineering > School of Chemistry
Journal Name:Planetary and Space Science
Publisher:Elsevier
ISSN:0032-0633
ISSN (Online):1873-5088
Published Online:19 September 2019
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2019 Elsevier Ltd.
First Published:First published in Planetary and Space Science 180:104748
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher

University Staff: Request a correction | Enlighten Editors: Update this record