Sintering regolith with solar light

November 2015 – April 2018
European Union – Horizon 2020 (EU-H2020) project, topic of 3D-printing / Advancement of TRL

Future human activity on the lunar surface will use 3D-printing to build infrastructure from lunar soil (regolith) using the sun as the only source of energy. Today this technology is considered disruptive, tomorrow it will be standard. The RegoLight project investigates the sintering process of lunar regolith simulants by means of concentrated sunlight in order to prepare for future lunar missions for building infrastructure (levelled terrain, dust shelters, launch pads etc.) and structural components for lunar habitats.

This Horizon 2020 project, enhances the additive layer manufacturing (ALM) technique of solar sintering lunar regolith advancing the Technology Readiness Level from TRL3 (demonstrating the ability to sinter regolith in a laboratory set-up, with a moving table, in a solar furnace), to a TRL5 (demonstrating a movable printing head with accurate pointing of a concentrated solar beam, and incremental deployment of regolith on the printing surface). In addition, a near TRL6 is achieved demonstrating solar sintering in a vacuum chamber. Based on the Finite Element Model produced in the project and the mechanical properties of solar sintered regolith, architectural scenarios and applications are developed.

Consortium partners  German Aerospace Centre (DLR), Cologne – Germany / Space Applications Services – Belgium / LIQUIFER Systems Group – Austria / COMEX – France / Bollinger Grohmann Schneider – Austria

LIQUIFER team  Waltraut Hoheneder, Barbara Imhof, René Waclavicek, Molly Hogle

 Image credit: RegoLight Consortium 2018, visualization: LIQUIFER Systems Group