Predicting the efficiency of oxygen-evolving electrolysis on the Moon and Mars

Lomax, B. A., Just, G. H., McHugh, P. J., Broadley, P. K., Hutchings, G. C., Burke, P. A., Roy, M. J., Smith, K. L. and Symes, M. D. (2022) Predicting the efficiency of oxygen-evolving electrolysis on the Moon and Mars. Nature Communications, 13, 583. (doi: 10.1038/s41467-022-28147-5)

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Abstract

Establishing a permanent human presence on the Moon or Mars requires a secure supply of oxygen for life support and refueling. The electrolysis of water has attracted significant attention in this regard as water-ice may exist on both the Moon and Mars. However, to date there has been no study examining how the lower gravitational fields on the Moon and Mars might affect gas-evolving electrolysis when compared to terrestrial conditions. Herein we provide experimental data on the effects of gravitational fields on water electrolysis from 0.166 g (lunar gravity) to 8 g (eight times the Earth’s gravity) and show that electrolytic oxygen production is reduced by around 11% under lunar gravity with our system compared to operation at 1 g. Moreover, our results indicate that electrolytic data collected using less resource-intensive ground-based experiments at elevated gravity (>1 g) may be extrapolated to gravitational levels below 1 g.

Item Type:Articles
Additional Information:B. A. Lomax thanks ESA, Metalysis Ltd, and the University of Glasgow for funding through the ESA Networking/Partnership Initiative (4000125409/18/NL/MH/mg), and also thanks the UK Space Agency for support. G. H. Just acknowledges the support of the University of Manchester’s EPSRC Doctoral Training Partnership (EP/L01680X/1), ESA’s Network & Partnership Initiative (4000130229/20/NL/MH/hm), the FAIR-SPACE Hub (RN0344) and the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (EAC/KDF/OFFER/20/033). P. J. McHugh thanks the Royal Society for a PhD studentship. P. K. Broadley acknowledges the funding support of the University of Manchester’s EPSRC doctoral training partnership (EP/L01680X/1). G. C. Hutchings acknowledges the University of Manchester for support through the SEI Internship programme. P. A. Burke extends thanks to the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory for its support. M. J. Roy acknowledges support from the EPSRC (EP/L01680X/1) through the Materials for Demanding Environments Centre for Doctoral Training. M. J. Roy and K. L. Smith acknowledge support from the FAIR-SPACE Hub (RN0344). M. D. Symes thanks the Royal Society for a University Research Fellowship (UF150104) and the EPSRC (EP/K031732/1).
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Lomax, Bethany and Symes, Dr Mark and McHugh, Mr Patrick
Authors: Lomax, B. A., Just, G. H., McHugh, P. J., Broadley, P. K., Hutchings, G. C., Burke, P. A., Roy, M. J., Smith, K. L., and Symes, M. D.
College/School:College of Science and Engineering > School of Chemistry
Journal Name:Nature Communications
Publisher:Nature Research
ISSN:2041-1723
ISSN (Online):2041-1723
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2022 The Authors
First Published:First published in Nature Communications 13: 583
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License
Related URLs:
Data DOI:10.5525/gla.researchdata.1210

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Project CodeAward NoProject NamePrincipal InvestigatorFunder's NameFunder RefLead Dept
173495Driving energetically uphill processes using metal-ligand coordination complexesMark SymesThe Royal Society (ROYSOC)UF150104Chemistry
190559Upgrading the small scale equipment base for early career researchers in the engineering and physical sciencesMiles PadgettEngineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC)EP/K031732/1P&S - Physics & Astronomy