Global Tungsten & Powders Corp (GTP), Towanda, Pennsylvania, USA, has reported that components manufactured for its customer OxEon Energy were used in NASA’s Perseverance Mars rover, which successfully touched down on Mars earlier this month.
OxEon Energy, based in North Salt Lake, Utah, USA, is a pioneer in solid oxide fuel cell development, energy conversion and storage. The company developed a ruggedised hermetic Solid Oxide Electrolysis Cell (SOEC) stack to be used with NASA’s Perseverance mission. The MOXIE (Mars Oxygen Oxygen In-Situ Utilisation Experiment) on board the rover will produce pure oxygen from Martian atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2), by using a process called solid oxide electrolysis.
The component that helps to divert the gas into the cell’s elements (interconnector), was manufactured by Plansee HPM and Global Tungsten & Powders. GTP has extensive experience in the production of chromium-based interconnectors for Solid Oxide Fuel Cells (SOFC), a related technology.
MOXIE is a joint effort of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, OxEon Energy and additional contributors. The 1/200 scale test model travelled for more than six months on the Mars mission. If successful, solid oxide electrolysis may be deployed to produce oxygen for propellant oxidant in a Mars Ascent Vehicle, and fill an oxygen reservoir that could be used for a return mission.