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Compact in situ Polyethylene Production from Carbon Dioxide, Phase I

Completed Technology Project

Project Introduction

Opus 12 has redesigned the cathode of the commercially available PEM water electrolyzer such that it can support the reduction of carbon dioxide into ethylene and suppress the competing hydrogen reaction. When coupled with an ethylene polymerization reactor to make polyethylene our technology could make plastics out of the Martian CO2 atmosphere in a simple two-step process. PEM water electrolyzers have already been proved space worthy and are commercially available at various scales. Ethylene polymerization is well understood. Our innovation enables the creation of polyethylene from the most basic starting materials: CO2, water and electricity. During Phase I, Opus 12 will show the feasibility of ethylene production in a single step by hitting key performance targets to optimize our existing prototype reactor. This optimization will be done by creating and testing different ratios of the catalysts to the other material components of the reactor. During Phase II, we will integrate our reactor design into commercially available PEM electrolyzers with a commercial partner and add a polymerization reactor to the system to produce polyethylene for additive manufacturing. More »

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