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ISRU-technology for propellant

Posted by: Ekkehard Augustin - Thu Sep 14, 2006 10:31 am
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ISRU-technology for propellant 
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Post    Posted on: Fri Aug 17, 2007 11:19 am
According to an article under www.welt.de - science section - bacteria can produce fuels. They are gene-technically altered. Those of the american company LS9 can produce gasoline out of biomass.

Interestingly the article says that also bacteria living in the human bowel can do that after being altered - which in my eyes seems to mean that astronauts landing on Mars carry with them what might be turned into fuel-producing living machines. If their bacteria could be altered after the arrival on Mars.

LS9 has managed to alter the bacteria so that they produce hydrocarbons - think of cerosene, methane etc., rocket engines consuming them and so on.

Problem: the bacteria need sugar-containing plants as food - special foods. But it will be required to carry foods or their basics to Mars also...

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Post    Posted on: Tue Jun 03, 2008 1:57 pm
According to an article of the german journal Wirtschaftswoche the dutch company Algaelink plans to use particular algae that grow fast and generate oil. at present this is designed to "make" oil aboard ships for use as fuel/propellant. Alternatively it can be mixed with Methanole which finally results in Biodiesel. Interestingly the CO2 immited by the motor of the ship(s) is food for the algae.

This might be applied elsewhere also - not only aboard ships. This way CO2 may be turned into cerosene perhaps which not only might reduce the actual CO2-level and contribute to moderate further increase of the oil-price but also helps to prolong the availability of cerosene for spaceflight. Perhaps cerosene for spaceflight might be got the cheaper if this would be applied at launch sites.

In particular SpaceX might have advanatges of it since Kwajalein is located very close to very much water where algae will be found in. The question is if these algae can live in salty water or in the ocean - if not, they simply need to provide sufficient other water and its tank at Kwajalein.

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Post    Posted on: Sat Jun 21, 2008 5:09 pm
Under www.welt.de there was another article regrading fuel-production by bacteria and LS9 this week.

The article says that the bacteria consuming sugar produce one barrel oil per week. LS9 is no way content with that and plans to turn the bacteria to the consumption of "Chinaschilf" (German). Then 19,000 liters oil might be produced per year.

The artzicle also tells that the californian company Amyris plans to let bacteria produce gasoline directly - as far as I know gasoline - "Benzin" in German - in principle is cerosene. Craig Venter has in mind to let bacteria produce hydrogen.

May be difficult to apply these ways on Mars or Moon - unless a way would be found to make them live and survive there which would require (at least partial) ISRU-based food.



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Post    Posted on: Sat Mar 07, 2009 8:39 am
Regarding my initial post of this thread I found an interesting article under www.wissenschaft.de today.

American researchers have successfully developed an interesting approach to turn water steam and carbondioxyde into Methane via solar power.

They apply nanotubes of Titandioxyde layered by chemicaly active substances. Under sunlight these catalysts let watersteam and carbondioxyde react to Methane and other carbonhydrogens.

Compared to earlier trials and experiments the amount of Methane got has been increased by a factor of 20.

Perhaps carbondioxyde-emissions of production plants and power plants might be applied by this technology.

There were experiments without catalyst, with copper-catalyst and with Platinum-catalyst. Without catalyst there were 10 carbonhydrogen-molecules per 1 mio gas-particles - at partially layering the tubes with copper and Platinum this increased by a factor of 16.

The catalysts result in involving visible sunlight while earlier approaches were limited to UV.

Up to now a chamber was applied - next this will be replaced by a system of a passing stream or flow which is hoped to increase the factor and continuos production of carbonhydrogens.

So it seems that the earthian atmosphere soon can be freed from greenhouse gases and kept from being enriched furthermore and to produce propellants this way.

The article refers to the team of Craig Grimes, Pennsylvania State University in University Park, and Nano Letters, Vol. 9(2), p. 731 ( pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/nl803258p )



What about it?



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Post    Posted on: Mon Mar 09, 2009 6:11 pm
Ekkehard Augustin wrote:
Perhaps carbondioxyde-emissions of production plants and power plants might be applied by this technology.


Methane is not exactly a good alternative


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Post    Posted on: Wed Mar 11, 2009 7:16 pm
Hello, IrquiM,

the Methane wouldn't be released into the atmosphere but kept within the chamber.

They collect the Methane to process it further.

The atmosphere really will be cleaned or kept from being enriched with CO2. On the other hand fuels wil be got back.

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Post    Posted on: Thu Mar 12, 2009 5:03 pm
Still not see the point - why not use sunlight directly to get the power, which doesn't include recycled CO2?


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Post    Posted on: Sat Mar 14, 2009 9:37 am
Hello, IrquiM,

the point is that not to get the power of sunight is the purpose the scientists have in mind but to remove CO2 from the atmosphere.

And I myself am focussing on the aspect that the way the CO2 is removed resuts in the production of carbonhydrogens that in turn are fuels for rockets an d space vehicles.

The consumption of those fuels reduces their availability which might mean that we run out of those fuels. That consumption enriches the atmosphere with CO2 but by cleaning the atmosphere the way found the fuels are got back and the running out of those fuels might be banned.

This way of cleaning the atmosphere recycles the fuels. Even cerosene might be recycled - which is interesting for SpaceX.

Thus the title of this thread.

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Post    Posted on: Sat Mar 14, 2009 2:41 pm
Ekkehard Augustin wrote:
Hello, IrquiM,

the point is that not to get the power of sunight is the purpose the scientists have in mind but to remove CO2 from the atmosphere.


I can see that point, but when you talk about using the methane for fuel, you're just puting it back


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Post    Posted on: Sat Mar 14, 2009 8:51 pm
Helo, IrquiM,

because of the technology developed Methane or fuel can be consumed as often as you want without reenriching the atmosphere with CO2 because this CO2 again and again will be recycled into Methane or fuel soon.

As far as I understand the technology produces Methane everywhere - at carbon power stations only the amount is very high since the CO2 is very concentrated there.

It will be possible to let the equipment go high into the atmosphere at launch sites to recyce the CO2 produced there by rocket engines. JP Aerospace's Ascenders might be applied for example.

CO2 can be recycled into Methane/fuel, then the Methane/fuel can be consumed in/fuel can be consumed into CO2... and so on infinitely.



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Post    Posted on: Wed Mar 18, 2009 8:32 pm
I read through the article and it looks like there's still a lot of time before this becomes a viable solution, and can go main stream, as they only managed to utilize something around 0.016% of the captured CO2 during 3 hours.

However, I don't think Methane is the ultimate fuel on earth.


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Post    Posted on: Thu Mar 19, 2009 6:38 pm
I too don't think that Methane is the ultimate fuel - but the way of recycling found might ban the fate of running out of fuel.

The scientists mentioned in the initial post of this thread in principle have in mind to process Methane further into more complex or longer or heavier hydrocarbons - including cerosene, gasoline, oil.

A first step seems to have been found.



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