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JGC Corporation selected to study the feasibility of building a hydrogen production plant on the Moon

JGC Holdings Corporation has announced that its overseas EPC operating company JGC Corporation (JGC) was selected by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) for its proposal-based competitive-bidding project “Conceptual Study of a Pilot Plant toward the Realization of a Lunar ISRU Plant”, a facility to extract water from lunar soil (regolith) and produce liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen, which can be used as fuel for manned lunar landers and excursion vehicles or spacecraft

Amid the currently accelerating global trend of lunar exploration, as exemplified by the Artemis program led by NASA in the United States, JAXA has released “Future Space Exploration Scenario 2021″*2. Aiming to realize the utilization of lunar water resources, the scenario lays out JAXA’s plans to study the concept of the entire system of a lunar ISRU plant along with element technologies and conduct ground demonstration, etc. in the 2020s, to start preliminary surveys of the plant construction site (subsurface exploration and measurement) as well as construction of a lunar demonstration plant in the 2030s, and to launch full-scale operation of an ISRU plant by 2040. As part of these plans, JAXA publicly solicited bids for the Study in October of this year.

JGC is mainly considering the following two aspects of the Study and plans to submit a proposal to JAXA by March 31, 2024.

1) Demonstration planning

・Study of the entire system of a lunar ISRU plant, as well as demonstration planning for its realization

2) Study of a pilot plant concept

・Study of a lunar demonstration plant toward the realization of lunar water-resource utilization

・Study of a ground verification system toward the realization of the lunar demonstration

For more than ninety years since its founding, the JGC Group has been involved in the EPC of plants and facilities in a wide range of fields, from energy-related fields to social and industrial infrastructure. It has completed more than 20,000 projects in a variety of environments, including deserts, jungles, the far north, and offshore. From the 1980s to the early 2000s, it was also involved in space-related businesses, such as the provision of microgravity environment utilization services as well as safety and quality assurance analysis using the International Space Station.

JGC has been considering participation in space-related businesses through the activities of volunteer members within the company since 2018. In December 2020, it established the “Lunar Plant Unit” as an organization to study the realization of a lunar fuel (hydrogen) supply plant. In June 2021, it concluded a cooperation agreement with JAXA to study the concept of a lunar ISRU plant. Under the agreement, JGC conducted a conceptual study of a lunar ISRU plant using lunar water resources over a period of about one year and identified the technological elements and research issues necessary for its realization, in addition to studying an R&D plan.

JGC will contribute to the further realization of humanity’s sustainable activities in space through the Study by utilizing the knowledge and experience, including engineering technologies and project execution capabilities, that the JGC Group has accumulated over the years.

Photo Of JAXA

Press release

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