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In-situ approach for thermal energy storage and thermoelectricity generation on the Moon: Modelling and simulation

Fleith, Patrick and Cowley, Aidan and Canals Pou, Alberto and Valle Lozano, Aaron and Frank, Rebecca and López Córdoba, Pablo and González-Cinca, Ricard In-situ approach for thermal energy storage and thermoelectricity generation on the Moon: Modelling and simulation. (2020) Planetary and Space Science, 181. 1-12. ISSN 0032-0633

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Official URL: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pss.2019.104789

Abstract

Human, tele-operated rovers, and surface infrastructures are now being actively considered for lunar polar exploration. Current approaches to energy provision consider, among others, hybrid direct energy/chemical technologies, such as solar photovoltaic arrays, batteries, and regenerative fuel cells. Due to the long period of darkness on the Moon and the challenges this poses to the aforementioned conventional energy generation and storage technologies, there is a need to assess the potential of In-Situ Resources Utilization (ISRU) methods to enable or supplement long duration missions. We present a computational model (MATLAB) of a Thermal Energy Storage (TES) system coupled to drive a heat engine (Thermoelectric Generator) to produce electricity. The TES medium designed is based off processed lunar regolith, an abundant material present on the surface of the Moon. The architecture has been optimized to provide a minimum electrical power of 36 W per unit after 66 h of polar night, but the modular nature of the model allows other ranges of parameter to be simulated. A trade-off between this ISRU-based concept and conventional approaches for energy production and storage was performed and ranked TES and thermoelectricity generation as the least appropriate option. This result is valuable in a period of enthusiasm towards ISRU. It shows that processes exploiting extraterrestrial materials instead of Earth supplies are not systematically attractive. Despite the non-favorable performances for the proposed concept, some perspectives for the TES system are given as well as potential model improvements such as the need to assess the use of a Stirling heat engine.

Item Type:Article
HAL Id:hal-02887846
Audience (journal):International peer-reviewed journal
Uncontrolled Keywords:
Institution:Other partners > Escola Tècnica Superior d'Enginyeria Industrial de Barcelona (SPAIN)
Université de Toulouse > Institut Supérieur de l'Aéronautique et de l'Espace - ISAE-SUPAERO (FRANCE)
Université de Toulouse > Université Toulouse III - Paul Sabatier - UT3 (FRANCE)
Other partners > Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya - UPC (SPAIN)
Other partners > Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya-BarcelonaTech (SPAIN)
Other partners > European Astronaut Centre - ESA/EAC (GERMANY)
Other partners > Lulea University of Technology (SWEDEN)
Laboratory name:
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Deposited On:02 Jul 2020 09:15

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