MOXIE Development Driven Prospects For ISRU and Atmosphere Revitalization
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The founders of OxEon Energy led the solid oxide electrolysis (SOXE) stack development for the Mars 2020 MOXIE experiment. MOXIE, the Mars Oxygen ISRU Experiment was developed to demonstrate oxygen production by direct electrolysis of CO2 from the Mars atmosphere using solid oxide electrolysis (SOXE). The OxEon team, together with JPL and MIT completed flight qualification and flight hardware delivery in mid 2017 from Ceramatec, before OxEon became an independent company. Challenges encountered and solutions achieved in the SOXE development and flight qualification will be presented. The OxEon path forward scaling this technology for manned Mars missions will be outlined. Beyond ISRU, SOXE applicability to long duration atmosphere revitalization will be illustrated using an analysis of solid oxide co-electrolysis of water vapor with CO2, coupled to catalytic production of liquid hydrocarbons and paraffin wax. The combined co-electrolysis+Fischer-Tropsch synthesis route will be compared with the conventional water electrolysis driven Sabatier reaction for energy efficiency and sustainable stoichiometry.