Electrochemical Solutions for Advanced Life Support



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49th International Conference on Environmental Systems


The Oxygen Generating Assembly (OGA) on-board the International Space Station (ISS) employs a polymer electrolyte membrane (PEM) water electrolysis cell stack to electrochemically dissociate water into its two components – oxygen and hydrogen. Oxygen is provided to the cabin atmosphere for crew respiration while the hydrogen is delivered to a carbon dioxide reduction system to recover oxygen as water. The design of the OGA evolved over a number of years to arrive at the system solution that is currently operational on ISS.

Future manned missions to space will require advanced technologies that eliminate the need for resupply from earth and feature in-situ resource utilization to sustain crew life and to provide useful materials to the crew. The architects planning such missions should consider all potential solutions at their disposal to arrive at an optimal vehicle solution that minimizes crew maintenance time, launch weight, installed volume and energy consumption demands. Skyre is developing new technologies through funding from NASA, the Department of Energy, and internal investment based on PEM technology that could become an integral part of these new vehicle solutions. At varying stages of Technology Readiness Level (TRL) are: an oxygen concentrator and compressor that can separate oxygen from an air stream and provide an enriched oxygen resource for crew medical use and space suit recharge without any moving parts in the pure oxygen stream; a regenerative carbon dioxide removal system featuring a PEM-based sorbent regenerator; a carbon dioxide reduction system that electrochemically produces organic compounds that could serve as fuels or as a useful intermediary to more beneficial compounds; and an electrochemical hydrogen separator and compressor for hydrogen recycle. The technical maturity of these projects is presented along with pertinent performance test data that could be beneficial in future study efforts.


Robert Roy, Skyre Inc., USA
Christopher Ellithorpe, Skyre Inc., USA
Karen Murdoch, Skyre Inc., USA
Timothy Myles, Skyre Inc., USA
Ashley Wilson, Skyre Inc., USA
John Graf, National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), USA
ICES302: Physio-chemical Life Support- Air Revitalization Systems -Technology and Process Development
The 49th International Conference on Environmental Systems was held in Boston, Massachusetts, USA on 07 July 2019 through 11 July 2019.


electrochemical oxygen separation, electrochemical oxygen compression, electrochemical carbon dioxide removal, electrochemical carbon dioxide reduction, electrochemical hydrogen separation, electrochemical hydrogen compression