Bosch reaction

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The Bosch reaction is the exothermic reduction of carbon dioxide by hydrogen in the presence of a catalyst such as nickel to form water and elemental carbon.[1]


  • Preventing toxic carbon dioxide buildup in a spacecraft atmosphere[1].
  • Provides a source of carbon.
  • Results in production of either water or oxygen:
    • If the hydrogen for the process must come from water (most likely by electrolysis), the Bosch reaction results in a net release of oxygen for breathing, for water filter production, as a metallurgical additive or as a chemical reagent.
    • Alternatively, in an Earth-supported colony that shipped molecular hydrogen from Earth, it would allow water production from the Martian atmosphere (within the limits of available hydrogen).


  • The catalyst requires regular cleaning or replacement due to the inhibiting effect of the layer of carbon that forms on it.[1]
  • The reaction only takes place at a fairly high temperature and so places a drain on energy and thermal control resources in a spacecraft/colony.[1]

See also


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 W.J. Crump - Issues and solutions for short-duration flights: A historical perspective on physiochemical systems in S.E. Churchill ed. Fundamentals of space life sciences vol. 2. 1997. ISBN 0-89464-051-8 pp. 273-276.