Heavy Water Electrolysis



Heavy water electrolysis assembly for producing deuterium on demand for the fusion reactor. This electrolyzer produces deuterium by electrolyzing heavy water.

Heavy water is electrolyzed in the centrifuge tube where it is split into oxygen at the exterior platinum anode and deuterium at the central platinum cathode. The cathode is located inside a glass tube which contains the produced deuterium gas.

Oxygen that is produced at the anode is released into the atmosphere, while deuterium remains in the central tube, separated from the external environment by the heavy water level. As the supply is run, deuterium accumulates in the central tube, displacing heavy water until the level drops below the bottom of the cathode and electrolysis stops.


Electrolyzer Components:

  • Kimax 15ml round bottom centrifuge tube
  • 1/4" OD glass tube
  • Platinum wire, 0.01" diameter
  • Heat shrink tubing
  • Copper shim stock
  • Swagelok SS-400-6-1 fitting


Platinum cathode wire is coiled into a helix at the bottom of the central tube. This central electrode will be grounded, providing the deuterium in the electrolysis process. Wire travels upward through tube to connect to ground terminal.

The deuterium gas will bubble up from the electrode, and remain confined within the glass tube for extraction to the reactor.



Platinum anode wire is coiled around the exterior of the central tube and is held in place at the bottom with heat shrink tubing.

A copper cylinder is constructed out of shim stock and is soldered to the positive wire. The platinum wire is pressed into firm contact with the cylinder by the heat shrink tubing that holds the cylinder in place on the glass tube.


Electrolyzer Core:

The core of the electrolyzer next to the heavy water reservoir. Heat shrink tubing holds the anode helix.

A hole is drilled in the top of the centrifuge tube to allow the core to fit into the tube and oxygen to escape.

After the core is inserted through the cap, a second layer of heat shrink is applied to the outside of the copper cylinder, to prevent the core from sliding out.


Electrolyzer Core:

After core is inserted into heavy water reservoir, the cap is screwed on, holding it in place.


Electrolyzer Core:

Close up of electrodes on core.


Cathode Connection:

Platinum wire from central electrode is placed in contact to swagelok fitting, which seals to glass tube with teflon ferrules. Ground wire connects to copper shim stock that is connected to outside of swagelok.



Completed electrolyzer is outfitted with plug for connection to deuterium manifold.


Deuterium Fuel Converter:

Completed fuel converter. Fuel converter electrolyses heavy water to produce deuterium gas. Deuterium is then passed over a drierite column to absorb residual heavy water vapor. A needle valve allows for precision regulation of deuterium flow into a vacuum.


Deuterium Manifold:

Fuel converter connects to deuterium manifold, which distributed deuterium to the reactor and monitors converter input current.


Fuel Master Mix:

Fuel stock consists of a 1:1 ratio of pure D2O and D2O saturated with NaHCO3.


Deuterium Production:

Deuterium is electrolyzed from heavy water.




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