Inspenet, December 10, 2023.
Is it possible to build a hydrogen plant on the Moon?
JGC Holdings Corporation has announced that its subsidiary specialized in engineering, procurement and construction, JGC Corporation (JGC), has been chosen by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) through a competitive proposal process to carry out the project titled “Conceptual study of a pilot plant for the realization of a lunar ISRU“.
The proposed plant aims to extract water from lunar soil (regolith) and produce liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen, which would be used as fuel for manned lunar landers, lunar exploration vehicles and spacecraft.
Amid the current global push toward lunar exploration, evidenced by initiatives such as the NASA-led Artemis program in the United States, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) has unveiled the “Future Space Exploration Scenario 2021.” With the goal of harnessing lunar water resources, this scenario outlines JAXA’s plans to investigate the comprehensive concept of a lunar ISRU plant, including specific technologies, conducting ground demonstrations, among other activities, during the 2020s.
Likewise, it contemplates starting preliminary studies of the site for the construction of the plant (through exploration and subsoil measurements), as well as the construction of a lunar demonstration plant in the 2030s, with the aim of operating a large-scale plant. ISRU by the year 2040. Within these plans, JAXA launched a public call for the study in October of this year.
Notably, JGC is primarily focusing its attention on two key aspects in relation to the Study and intends to submit a proposal to JAXA by March 31, 2024.
First, detailed planning for the demonstration is underway, involving investigation of the complete system of a lunar ISRU plant, as well as the necessary planning for the implementation of the demonstration. Second, a comprehensive pilot plant concept study is underway, including research into a lunar demonstration plant designed to achieve utilization of lunar water resources.
Additionally, detailed research is underway on a ground verification system that will support the completion of the lunar demonstration. These efforts are part of JGC’s response to JAXA’s request for proposals for the “Conceptual Study of a Pilot Plant for the Realization of a Lunar ISRU.”
Through the Study, JGC will contribute to the advancement of sustainable initiatives in the space field, leveraging its knowledge and experience, including engineering technologies and project execution skills, accumulated over the years by the JGC Group.
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