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Small Business Innovation Research/Small Business Tech Transfer

Advanced Carbothermal Electric Reactor

Completed Technology Project

Project Description

Advanced Carbothermal Electric Reactor
ORBITEC proposes to develop the Advanced Carbothermal Electric (ACE) reactor to efficiently extract oxygen from lunar regolith. Unlike state-of-the-art carbothermal reactors that use concentrated solar energy or laser energy to heat the regolith, the ACE reactor uses new innovative electric resistant elements to heat the regolith. The ACE reactor eliminates the problems encountered with traditional carbothermal hot-wall reactors and offers significant advantages over current carbothermal reactor approaches. By eliminating the need for a solar energy collection and delivery system, the ACE reactor offers a significantly lowers system mass and eliminates the need to keep optical surfaces clean. The ACE reactor approach can also produce the processed regolith in a form that can be directly used as a structural material. This proposal directly meets the needs of Subtopic X3.01, specifically "Advanced reactor concepts for carbothermal reduction or molten oxide electrolysis." The proposed Phase 1 Effort will define requirements, develop the heating elements, perform performance tests in a sub-scale ACE reactor, and create a preliminary design for a prototype ACE reactor that would be built and tested in Phase 2. The Phase 2 Effort will include fabrication and performance testing of the prototype ACE reactor before it is delivered to NASA. More »

Anticipated Benefits

Primary U.S. Work Locations and Key Partners

Technology Transitions

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This is a historic project that was completed before the creation of TechPort on October 1, 2012. Available data has been included. This record may contain less data than currently active projects.