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#1 2018-12-04 07:18:17

Registered: 2018-10-23
Posts: 10

Solar Panel Production?

So recently a new iron molecule was discovered for usage in solar panels. This could mean they can be on site or even become a industry. This is a very interesting and important development for renewable energy too! I forgot exactly what the science was but i will post a link below. … solar.html


#2 2018-12-04 10:53:01

Registered: 2011-12-29
Posts: 3,888

Re: Solar Panel Production?

Quote Big_AI:

So recently a new iron molecule was discovered for usage in solar panels. This could mean they can be on site or even become a industry. This is a very interesting and important development for renewable energy too! I forgot exactly what the science was but i will post a link below. … solar.html

This is in the family of things I like. 

Potentially a Chemosynthetic link to an artificial photo synthesis, as well as or in concert with the products the article mentions.

I will also clip a copy of it to "Atmospheric Separations" under "Life Support". 

It seems likely on Earth if it works economically it can process the discharge from CO2 producing power plants.  In that case though I see that there might be a problem if H2O vapors are involved.  That is it might generate gunk on the catalyst.  But I am not sure if that would always be bad.  As long is what is created such as Methanol would go to a vapor state it should be OK.

But if you wanted to control the chemistry, you might want to exclude Nitrogen and H20, or somehow include H2O and exclude the others.

I speculated on this sort of thing previously, but of course without the Iron based catalyst.

In that speculation I considered a "Glass House" it would not be for raising life forms, most likely.  Therefore you would want to allow as much of the solar spectrum of it into the "Glass House" as could be achieved economically on Mars.  Particularly wanting the harshest of the UV, all of it if you could do it.  (Of course the Catalyst has to be happy about UV.  We can't be sure of that but the Earths spectrum has some UV.  UV of course is the most energetic of the spectrum which might be used.

So, it would be kind of backwards from a "Greenhouse" on Mars, but still a link in a form of artificial photo synthesis.

Probably the "Glass House" would not be pressurized to any significant degree.   I am presuming that the catalyst will work on Martian atmosphere as is, or on CO2 only, and other mixes.  Again gunk on the catalysts would not be pleasing I would think.

Other potential benefits of the "Glass House" to the process would be to keep dust out, and if you wanted to stray from pure CO2, and an output of CO and Oxygen, then you could add other potentially reactive gasses such as H20 and Nitrogen.  Again, however, concerns about goop/gunk on the catalyst.  So, I will set those aside, and just look into the:
CO2>(CO & Oxygen) potential.
In "Atmospheric Separations" Posts #40 through #44, a speculation exists on the possible use of naturally occurring CO and Oxygen from the Martian atmosphere.
My inclusion of that material was based on this article: … es-of-air/

This one looks potentially good for Mars, because I reason that CO2 should be the "Largest" molecule of significant quantity in the atmosphere of Mars.  I could be disappointed because perhaps there are things I do not properly understand.  But in "Atmospheric Separations", I presumed you would pull that out first.  I was at a loss of what to do with the purified CO2, but your post suggests a "Glass House" filled with relatively pure CO2 being split into CO and Oxygen.

The balance of the other gasses would be processed by microbes at some point, to target the "Natural" CO and Oxygen in the Martian atmosphere.  There being approximately two times as much Oxygen, I anticipate Oxygen being left over.  This process might remain essential during Martian dust storms, maybe.

Your solar catalyst, used in a "Glass House" however might boost up the yields very large.
I prefer to try to adapt to what Mars wants to give us rather than to struggle to impose a "Green Earth" method.  It is perfectly to have solar greenhouse methods, but what I am looking for is a bulk production method which is in greater Harmony with the existing environment of Mars.


And of course you need containments for the microbes.  This does not exclude insulated water filled tanks, but I also feel that it may be practical to build reservoirs of water to do this process.  They will have to be ice covered.  To be ice covered the ice will need some type (Usually) opaque mechanical covering.  But these could be rather large.  The thickness of the ice will in many cases define the amount of gasses which can be dissolved in the water below.   So, a rather thick layer of say 33 feet would allow for about 1/3 the amount of gasses to be dissolved as would be on Earth for the same gas mixture.   33 feet is quite a lot however, at least for the early settlers.

So, a work around is to have a containment at the bottom of the reservoir, perhaps a thin plastic web/bag.  Then per
Within the bag, then the pressure would be the mechanical protection layer + the Ice layer + the liquid water column above the bag.  So more gasses could be dissolved into the water.

So, then the next tricks are to convey the useful gasses from the "Glass House" and hopefully the natural gasses desired into the water in the bag.  The bag may serve another purpose because the water within it may be at a more desirable temperature than ice water.  The microbes should add heat by their metabolism, and in fact other methods to heat that water should be available.

One problem to overcome is to not put so much CO2 into the water from the output of the "Glass House" that it is hostile to the Microbes.  Some should be OK.


At first glance, it might appear that if you put the Split CO2 (CO and Oxygen) into the water, that all the Oxygen would be consumed by the microbes.   However I think that would not be true.  If they consumed it all, then the microbes would have to digest their own bodies completely.  So, they would likely leave some of the Oxygen behind.

Then there are perchlorates.  Some microbes may include them in there diet, and in that case leave even more of the Oxygen behind.

I anticipate that perchlorates may be intentionally included, since they are available in significant quantities on Mars.  Harmony again.  What does Mars want to give us?

So then the game is to be able to collect the "Plankton" of microbes and use that for hydrocarbons, just possibly some type of food (Potentially poisonous).  And then to extract a portion of the Oxygen while not poisoning it with CO.  One method is to periodically stop adding output from the "Glass House", and to allow the CO in the bag to be fully consumed by the microbes.  Then you could "Harvest" the microbes and the Oxygen.

The Oxygen could then be stored in cryogenic tanks somewhere, or in put into diving bell air reservoirs within the reservoir.  The storage needed to cope with dust storms.

Where I mentioned CO2 dissolved in the reservoir, I have also previously mentioned the possibility of including dust dune materials into the water.  The hope there would be to rust the dust.  That should produce H2 for microbes to live on.  It may also be possible to generate clays from it which could be a useful material.  Further this process should also generate salts in the water, and those salts may include metals of use which could be extracted from the water.  Electroplating perhaps.

A further output from this process could be Argon in a purified form (By a needed means of invention).  That just possibly an export to the Earth/Moon system.  However, I am not sure that it would be competitive with Argon from the Earths atmosphere.  However it could certainly be useful to access the asteroid belt proper and perhaps the Trojans of Jupiter.  That possibly would a real payoff. 

Mars Argon>Asteroids/Trojans>Minerals>Earth/Moon>$$$???

So, after all, I am reasonably on topic " Martian Politics and Economy".



Now I apologize for not looking into the aspect of the new catalyst being used for electric producing solar panels, and of course you can discuss that, but you triggered my excitement.

And I will leave you to it.

Last edited by Void (2018-12-10 17:48:14)

I like people who criticize angels dancing on a pinhead.  I also like it when angels dance on my pinhead.


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