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Decarbonation of air: from under the sea to outer space

What Air Liquide has developed for marine applications can be adapted for use in space. Air Liquide has recognized know-how and technologies for marine applications. We have developed, for example, a gas generation unit that produces 99.5%-pure oxygen and nitrogen for the French navy's Charles de Gaulle aircraft carrier. Spanish air-independent propulsion submarines also boast cryogenic liquid oxygen storage tanks designed by Air Liquide. We developed an innovative solution combining cryo-trapping of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) and pulse tube cryocoolers. For years, we have been working with ship-builders to design systems for providing breathable air to submarine crews. These same technologies could be used for crews in space. The idea has already come a long way: we have started working with the European Space Agency and Airbus Defence & Space to develop a decarbonation unit suitable for use in space.

The pulse tube cryocoolers developed for space applications are used in equipment that produces breathable air for submarine crews. This technology could also help create breathable atmospheres for astronauts.