Tuesday, March 22, 2022

News: Metalysis continue to aid hunt for oxygen on the Moon


Rotherham-based tech firm, Metalysis, is taking part in more out of this world research projects.

The Advanced Manufacturing Park (AMP) company holds the worldwide exploitation rights to the FCC Cambridge process which sees specialist powder metals created in a simple, cost effective process with significant environmental benefits. It is commercialising the technology to produce titanium, tantalum, and related high value alloys.

Selected by the European Space Agency (ESA), Thales Alenia Space is leading a €1m study to develop a demonstration payload to extract oxygen from Moon rock to sustain human activities on the Lunar surface.

For a sustainable habitation on the Moon, humans will need to utilise resources that they find on the Moon rather than transport these resources from Earth; one of these resources is oxygen.

Last year Metalysis successfully extracted oxygen from replicated moonrock (lunar regolith) which predominantly contains aluminium, silicon, and oxygen, as part of the research programme. The metal powder by-product collected during the process is also generating huge interest.

Andrew Stanniland, CEO of Thales Alenia Space in the UK, said: "This contract award is incredibly exciting. The adaption of processes and tools to the space environment, many of which we take for granted on Earth, will be critical in many areas of our future. I am proud that our dedicated teams will be leading this study together with our valued partners AVS, Metalysis, Open University and Redwire Space Europe to solve the complex challenge of creating oxygen to sustain life on the lunar surface."

Metalysis has also been named in a project backed with £218,000 from the UK Space Agency.

Called "Developing In Situ Resource Utilisation Production Technology (DISRUPT)," the project will establish an end-to-end demonstration capability in the UK which would contribute significantly to the de-risking of technology used for In Situ Resource Utilisation (ISRU). This end-to-end demonstration capability would allow many of the uncertainties present in the process chain to be understood and characterised; especially the effect of the regolith (Moon soil) collection and pre-processing of the feedstock for the Metalysis-FFC process reactor. This activity will be conducted in partnership with Metalysis, AVS, URA Thrusters and the Open University.

Metalysis website

Images: ESA


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