A NORTH-EAST technology consultancy has joined the UK Space Agency’s accelerator programme to developing a carbon capture system for long term space exploration.

MAC SciTech Ltd has patented its technology system for processing carbon dioxide on space stations and on the surface of Mars, while the technology also has industrial applications on Earth.

The consultancy, which has expertise in electronics, engineering, scientific, chemical and controlled systems, usually operates in the military, marine, advanced manufacturing and medical sectors.

Due to lockdown and having more time to develop its own projects, the company has created a carbon dioxide processing system which could revolutionise longer term space travel and the carbon-capture industry.

The company is developing a Carbon Dioxide Hydrogen Recovery System to meet the European Space Agency’s programme for Life Support System development.

It is an alternative to the system used by NASA, which is currently being tested on board the Perseverance Rover on Mars.

The green carbon capture process means it can be converted into chemicals found in industrial materials including methanol, polymers, waxes, fuels and plastics.

It will process breathing gas or the atmosphere on Mars, utilises hydrogen, recycles water for electrolysis and the carbon monoxide produced can be made into other valuable chemicals.

Michael Maughan, who set up the company in 2012, said: “This all stems from an idea late last year when we were looking at what was happening in the world around carbon capture and space exploration.

“It has been invaluable to be accepted onto the UK Space Agency’s Leo programme as, while we develop solutions for clients, we don’t have much experience in the commercialisation. The mentoring and business support from the accelerator programme has been fantastic.

“The space sector is a huge market which is growing around 10 per cent each year and there are lots of specialist companies looking to get into manned space exploration and space hotels which could be operational by 2030.

“We’re focusing primarily on the US and UK markets and are currently looking to find the right partners.

“There are some very big players in the carbon capture world. It is a very big issue and soon there will be glut of carbon dioxide that businesses will need to remove responsibly, so using green energy to convert into usable materials will have benefits for some of the biggest manufacturers in the world.

“It’s a little daunting and I’m sure there’s a long road ahead, but we’re excited to launch our carbon capture system and we can’t wait to see how far this new venture can rocket.”