Thursday, November 18, 2010

ALCOTOO propellant

A year and a half ago (or so), I was fascinated ALICE propellant, which was being done by Dr. Steven Son's team at Perdue (with collaborators at Penn). ALICE is an acronym for ALuminum and ICE.  Who woulda thunk you could essentially burn water? Dr. Son's team had actually built and flown ALICE motors in a Perfromance Rocketry Mongoose 98.  I've seen a few passing references since my original flurry of posts, but nothing with any substance.

Today, reports that researchers at the University of Hertfordshire are working on a hybrid rocket motor that uses CO2 and aluminum (hence the silly acronym in the post title).  If you read yesterday's post on the Mars hopping rover concept, you'd immediately realize that CO2 can be harvested from the Martian atmosphere.  Hence the interest in using it as a fuel (and/or oxidizer). The article also references work at Perdue, so I assume this is the same group that worked on ALICE.  I haven't had the chance to watch the following video or follow the links provided so you will soon know more about ALCOTOO than I do.