New Mars Forums

Official discussion forum of The Mars Society and MarsNews.com

You are not logged in.

Announcement

Announcement: We've recently made changes to our user database and have removed inactive and spam users. If you can not login, please re-register.

#1 2016-09-28 14:30:32

Dook
Banned
From: USA
Registered: 2004-01-09
Posts: 1,409

Solar Mirror CO2 to Oxygen Converter

Solar Mirror CO2 to Oxygen Converter

Multiple mirrors on the surface direct sunlight onto a single point to super heat a 1" wide by 2' long glass tube, then a laser is activated to increase the temperature to 1,200 degrees celsius and no more. 

A 1'x1' steel box with an internal fan pulls Mars carbon dioxide atmosphere through a filter and pushes the carbon dioxide gas through the box to the glass tube.  The carbon dioxide then goes into a second, much larger, box that has three panels.  This box somewhat resembles the panels in a bee hive.  The panels are full of zirconia ceramic tubes that the heated carbon dioxide has to pass through. 

Once the super hot carbon dioxide passes through the zirconia ceramic tubes it disassociates into a carbon monoxide molecule and one oxygen atom.  The oxygen is lighter so it tends to float upward while the carbon monoxide sinks.  There is an outlet at the bottom of this second box, the "bee hive" box, to vent the carbon monoxide.  The oxygen atoms float upward into a large collection and cooling tank that has a tiny built in pump that compresses the oxygen into another, removable, oxygen cylinder.

Offline

#2 2016-09-28 15:23:37

Dook
Banned
From: USA
Registered: 2004-01-09
Posts: 1,409

Re: Solar Mirror CO2 to Oxygen Converter

I'm sure this could be miniaturized.  Use a tiny laser that by itself heats a much smaller glass tube to disassociatte the carbon dioxide into carbon monoxide and oxygen. 

If we could do this we could constantly make oxygen and with a 100% water recycling system the only supplies delivered to Mars would need to be food until a sizeable greenhouse could be established.

Offline

#3 2016-09-28 18:18:17

Dook
Banned
From: USA
Registered: 2004-01-09
Posts: 1,409

Re: Solar Mirror CO2 to Oxygen Converter

Guess I'm a bit behind the times, seems NASA is already working on this idea, the Moxie.

Offline

#4 2016-09-29 03:38:21

louis
Member
From: UK
Registered: 2008-03-24
Posts: 5,851

Re: Solar Mirror CO2 to Oxygen Converter

Sounds like a great technology. 

Solar mirrors can of course also be used to heat water to power steam engines. 

The great thing about mirrors plus steam engines is that these are doable for a starter Mars community.  Of course they will need the right equipment with them - scaled down furnace equipment (though much be made on Mars using in situ resources).

This is fun confirmation that you can do a lot scaled down:


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VTzKIs19eZE


Let's Go to Mars...Google on: Fast Track to Mars blogspot.com

Offline

#5 2016-09-29 10:23:21

Antius
Member
From: Cumbria, UK
Registered: 2007-05-22
Posts: 1,003

Re: Solar Mirror CO2 to Oxygen Converter

Basically a solar pre-heated CO2 dissociation device.  I would suggest replacing the laser with a straightforward heating element, which is 100% efficient when producing heat.  This is much easier to make than a laser and actually has an efficiency advantage in this situation.

If the base/colony does have an ample supply of water, then thermochemical water splitting using the sulphur-iodine cycle will likely be more efficient at lower temperatures.  The hydrogen released can then be used to manufacture storable hydrocarbons or reheated and pushed through a hot haematite bed to produce iron.

Offline

#6 2016-10-01 11:48:46

JoshNH4H
Member
From: Pullman, WA
Registered: 2007-07-15
Posts: 2,526
Website

Re: Solar Mirror CO2 to Oxygen Converter

There isn't really such a thing as free oxygen atoms outside the ionosphere.  The oxygen produced is going to be in the form of O2 (Molecular weight 32 u; negligibly different from CO at 30 u).  Furthermore, even if the molecular weights were substantially different there is no reason to expect that the gases will be anything other than perfectly intermixed. 

There are ways to produce CO and O2 with sunlight, but this is not one of them.  A better method is to use the reverse water gas shift reaction, combined with photodissociation of water.  The reactions are as follows:

CO2 + H2 ⇌ CO + H2O (Reverse Water Gas Shift)
2 H2O + UV → 2 H2 + O2 (Photodissociation)


-Josh

Offline

#7 2016-10-01 19:06:55

SpaceNut
Administrator
From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 18,951

Re: Solar Mirror CO2 to Oxygen Converter

Welcome back Dook, its been quite along time since you were here and its good to see that you are back.

Anything that only requires the power of the sun to make it possible for man to survive is a plus....

Offline

#8 2016-10-02 09:56:21

Dook
Banned
From: USA
Registered: 2004-01-09
Posts: 1,409

Re: Solar Mirror CO2 to Oxygen Converter

SpaceNut wrote:

Welcome back Dook, its been quite along time since you were here and its good to see that you are back.

Anything that only requires the power of the sun to make it possible for man to survive is a plus....

Years ago when I was here everyone was talking about Zubrin's ideas.  I had a few ideas, the Manned Mars Vehicle and Mars Needs Nitrogen, but once we'd gone over them I didn't really have anything else to contribute.   

I came back because I simplified (improved) the Manned Mars Vehicle and made it the Long Range Rover and wanted to post it for peer review.  It seems that now everyone here has gone from science to science fiction.  Zubrin said "Go to Mars on the cheap and use it's resources" but people took that too far, now you want to go to Mars and take nothing but people and make everything from scratch.  What sense does that make? 

This unnecessary sense of urgency that Elon Musk has is going to get a lot of people killed. 

You build a base slowly with minimum people at first.  People on Mars is a burden, not an asset. 

Mars isn't going anywhere.

Offline

#9 2016-10-02 11:04:36

Terraformer
Member
From: Lancashire
Registered: 2007-08-27
Posts: 3,287
Website

Re: Solar Mirror CO2 to Oxygen Converter

Zubrin said "Go to Mars on the cheap and use it's resources" but people took that too far, now you want to go to Mars and take nothing but people and make everything from scratch.  What sense does that make?

It makes plenty of sense when you reach the colony stage. The first missions are for ISRU experiments, they shouldn't *rely* on ISRU.


"I guarantee you that at some point, everything's going to go south on you, and you're going to say, 'This is it, this is how I end.' Now you can either accept that, or you can get to work." - Mark Watney

Offline

#10 2016-10-02 14:38:51

Dook
Banned
From: USA
Registered: 2004-01-09
Posts: 1,409

Re: Solar Mirror CO2 to Oxygen Converter

Terraformer wrote:

Zubrin said "Go to Mars on the cheap and use it's resources" but people took that too far, now you want to go to Mars and take nothing but people and make everything from scratch.  What sense does that make?

It makes plenty of sense when you reach the colony stage. The first missions are for ISRU experiments, they shouldn't *rely* on ISRU.

It makes no sense to send 100 people to Mars with no equipment.  It makes no sense to send 100 people to Mars even with equipment.  You start with 4 people and keep it that way for a long time so you don't have to send food shipments twice a year.   

I don't know what you mean by ISRU.  Are you talking about making rocket fuel to return home from Mars?  We're going to be using Mars carbon dioxide to make oxygen for a very, very, very long time.   

The first manned mission to Mars will be 2035.  Then we'll land humans on other parts of Mars for the next 10-15 years.  The first "colonists" will be a group of 4 and that might happen around 2050.

Offline

Board footer

Powered by FluxBB