Zirconia Electrolysis Cells for Oxygen Generation from Carbon Dioxide for Mars In-Situ Resource Utilization Applications
A zirconia electroysis cell is an all-solid state (mainly ceramic) device consisting of two electrodes separated by a dense zirconia electrolyte. The cell electrochemically reduces carbon dioxide to oxygen and carbon monoxide at elevated temperatures (800 to 1000°C). The zirconia electrolysis cell provides a simple, lightweight, low-volume system for Mars In-Situ Resource Utilization (ISRU) applications. This paper describes the fabrication process and discusses the electrochemical performance and other properties of zirconia electrolysis cells made by the tape calendering method. Electrolytes produced by this method are very thin (micrometer-thick); the thin electrolyte reduces ohmic losses in the cell, permitting efficient operation at temperatures of 800°C or below.