The non-NASA applications are significant as terrestrial based applications of SOE (and its other function as a solid oxide fuel cell) also are threatened by contaminants such as sulfuric acid. The acid scrubber and SOE unit may be used in carbon sequestration and oxygen reclamation systems installed in petroleum refining plants.
The acid scrubber will remove acid contaminants from a moist stream directly received from a lunar regolith hydrogen reduction reactor. This acid-free water stream can then be delivered directly to a high temperature solid oxide electrolysis (SOE) unit to produce pure, dry oxygen. The acid scrubbing technology can also be applied to several NASA processes where water needs to be separated from methane. Specific NASA examples include down stream of Sabatier reactors used in air revitalization systems, lunar regolith carbothermal reduction systems, and propellant production systems on Mars. In all, the water is separated and sent to an electrolyzer to recycle hydrogen and produce oxygen as a consumable. SOE is currently being developed as a technology for air revitalization systems, enabling 100% oxygen regeneration from human metabolic byproducts alone. As SOE can electrolyze carbon dioxide as well as water, SOE can also potentially be used in other lunar regolith reduction systems that use carbon monoxide or methane as the reducing agent.