European Space Agency plans to turn astronaut waste into usable fuel on Mars TechEBlog

european space agency esa astronaut waste fuel mars

Researchers at the Spanish technology center Tekniker are developing a system that uses sunlight to make usable fuel from astronauts’ wastewater. More specifically, a ‘photoelectrochemical’ system that uses high-efficiency catalytic materials to produce hydrocarbons, such as methane and carbon monoxide or alcohols, from atmospheric CO2 plus wastewater. During this process, the water is also detoxified and can be reused, doubling the recycling method. Read More

The results of this project could provide the European Space AGency with valuable input for propellant production on Mars or for powering remote locations such as ground stations on Earth. Ultimately, this method could also potentially provide input on how to decarbonize Earth’s atmosphere. This project is supported by ESA’s Open Space Innovation Platform, which serves to develop new ideas for space.


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We aim to create the first reactor to produce space travel on Mars using the planet’s air, which is 95% carbon dioxide. The reactor will be powered by sunlight and the gray water from astronauts will be used to aid in the production of the propellant,” said Borja Pozo of Tekniker.

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