Carbon Dioxide Collection and Pressurization Technology



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46th International Conference on Environmental Systems


The Martian atmosphere is composed of about 95% carbon dioxide which can be processed to produce useful consumables such as oxygen and methane. Leading technologies for processing CO2 are solid oxide electrolysis (SOE), reverse water gas shift (RWGS) and the Sabatier reaction. Typically, these processes require high purity, pressurized carbon dioxide to obtain a significant feed rate.

Reactive Innovations has developed an electrochemically-driven technology platform which can be customized to fulfill the many individual separation requirements of ISRU technology processing streams. In recent NASA-funded programs, this technology was shown to be highly adaptable in performing selective separation of species from gas and liquid streams. Recent work has utilized this general approach to not only separate but pressurize carbon dioxide. In addition we applied this reactive chemistry to a tubular reactor platform for further advantages in reducing weight and volume for space-based applications.

Our separation technology relies on a facilitated transport mechanism. The concept proceeds through the redox binding affinity of a carrier molecule. In the reduced state this molecule binds CO2. By changing the potential, the carrier is oxidized and CO2 is released. The redox carrier is carefully selected to maximize the “swing” in the redox potential to increase the effective binding and release of CO2. With this approach, no regeneration step is required for this membrane allowing a continuous process to occur to separate and pressurize CO2.

This paper presents our recent work in further development and optimization of this technology. Specifically our results have shown that selective customization of the individual components of the supported ionic liquid membrane can maximize CO2 separation from varying gas mixtures and demonstrate pressurization to greater than 15 psia. These results are discussed with respect to ISRU applications.


United States
Reactive Innovations, LLC
ICES308: Advanced Technologies for In-Situ Resource Utilization
Vienna, Austria
Karen D. Jayne, Reactive Innovations, LLC, USA
Daniel R. Carr, Reactive Innovations, LLC, USA
Michael C. Kimble, Reactive Innovations, LLC, USA
The 46th International Conference on Environmental Systems was held in Vienna, Austria, USA on 10 July 2016 through 14 July 2016.


carbon, dioxide, separation, ISRU, ionic, liquid, redox, membrane, electrochemical