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General Information:

Description

Ionic liquids are composed almost exclusively of oppositely charged ions and are generally composed of an organic salt or eutectic mixture of an organic and inorganic salt. Some of the notable chemical properties of Ionic Liquids are:

  • Low melting temperature (at 100 degrees C or lower)
  • Exhibit negligible vapor pressure
  • Low flammabilities
  • Regenerable

 

Extraction Process

Barrios, Elizabeth A. et al (2011), Oxygen Extraction from Regolith Using Ionic Liquids. NASA Marshall Space Flight Center, 01 Jan 2011, Huntsville, AL, USA

  1. Lunar regolith is ground to desired consistency
  2. Ionic liquid is added to ground lunar regolith at about 200 degrees C
  3. Regolith solubilized for approximately 24 hours
  4. Hydrogen atom from the ionic liquid bonds to the oxygen atoms of the metal oxides to form water vapor 

  5. Water vapor is condensed to form liquid water

Liquid water can then be separated further into hydrogen and oxygen through electrolysis. Hydrogen can then be recycled back to regenerate the spent ionic liquid.

 

Advantages

  1. Lower operating temperature. Molten Oxide Electrolysis* requires a maintained operating temperature of around 1,600 degrees C, whereas ionic liquid method only requires 200 degrees C.
  2. Low toxicity
  3. Ability to be regenerated and reused

 

* MOE is a process in which lunar regolith is heated at 1,600 degrees C to form a molten electrolyte, and separated into gaseous oxygen, metals through electrolysis.

Info About Org/Individual

 

Progress Status

Research: Ongoing

Est Investment Cost

 

 

Est Time to Maturity

Citations:

  1. Barrios, Elizabeth A. et al (2011), Oxygen Extraction from Regolith Using Ionic Liquids. NASA Marshall Space Flight Center, 01 Jan 2011, Huntsville, AL, USA
    1. Oxygen Extraction from Regolith Using Ionic Liquids
  2. M Marone; MS Paley; DN Donovan; LJ Karr (2009). Lunar Oxygen Production and Metals Extraction Using Ionic Liquids. LEAG Meeting, 18 Nov 2009, Houston, Texas, USA. 
    1. Lunar Oxygen Production and Metals Extraction Using Ionic Liquids
 

 

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