Desi Oxygen Concentrators to Tackle Oxygen Crisis in India

By- Venkat

CSIR-CMERI indigenously developed a technology that produces medical grade oxygen efficiently than commercially available ones.

Oxygen Enrichment Unit (OEU) Developed by CSIR-CMERI
Image Credit: CSIR-CMERI

CSIR-CMERI (Council for Scientific Industrial and Research – Central Mechanical Engineering Research Institute) recently developed a made-in India oxygen enrichment unit (OEU) that can produce more than 90% pure oxygen from air by using pressure swing adsorption and zeolite columns.

As the number of COVID-19 cases in India are growing day-by-day, the demand for oxygen therapy for COVID-19 is also growing rapidly. Multiple research institutes in India came up with different innovations or solutions to help India to reach its demand for oxygen to patients.

Prof. Harish Hirani, Director, CSIR-CMERI told, “CSIR-CMERI developed oxygen enrichment unit which may be very useful for homes, hospitals, defense forces particularly in high altitudes and remote rural localities. It can be more effective and crucial for treating the patients of COVID-19.”

Air consists of 21% oxygen and humans need 7-8 liters of air per minute. Oxygen enrichment unit is a device that will concentrate oxygen from the air and remove other gases to produce oxygen-enriched air.

Prof. Harish Hirani further added, “This unit may help reduce the demand for oxygen cylinders and ventilators. Owing to the rise in the air pollution its demand is supposed to grow very rapidly as it is also useful for maintaining proper oxygen level for an optimum health environment.”

Pressure swing adsorption is the process of separating gases from a mixture of gases under pressure using some material. CSIR-CMERI has developed oxygen enrichment unit using this process and also utilized zeolite columns to selectively remove nitrogen from air under certain pressure.

Prof. Hirani also stated, “CSIR-CMERI has transferred the license for production, marketing and service to four industries. All the four parties are able to manufacture the product by 2nd week of May 2021.”

A filter presented in the unit removes the bacteria, viruses and suspended particles from air. The compressor then pressurizes this air and feeds into a module in the unit. 

Then nitrogen from the air gets moved towards zeolite, a particular substance that attracts certain species to get placed over its surface, and attaches onto its surface. At the same time, the oxygen-enriched air gets passed through a material in the module while the nitrogen-enriched air cannot be able to go through that material.

Mr. Gupta, Managing Director of M/s GRID Engineers Pvt. Ltd., Gurugram told, “I appreciate the development of the technology and its utility in present time. My company may start manufacturing 25 to 50 pieces per day and speeding up the production.”

In the end, this passed oxygen-enriched air will be delivered out with a purity of more than 90% with 0.5-5 liters per minute. This unit will also help in high-flow oxygen therapy, which is proven to be a better method in treatment and management of COVID-19 patients.

In general, commercially available oxygen enrichment units work till 8000 ft from sea level. This unit can work up to the altitude of 14000 ft with an optional add-on thereby making it very handy for the usage of high-altitude terrain battlefield in contingences.

The Managing Director of M/s Jyoti CNC Automation Ltd, Rajkot said, “Within a week we would manufacture the prototype and try to ramp up the production capacity as per demand.”

The cost of this developed technology is approximately Rs. 35,000. One manufacturing industry is working on aesthetic appearance and digit functionality of the product and another manufacturing industry is planning to convert the metal sheet body into plastic body considering the aesthetic, portability and cost aspects.

Few technologies from the government-run research institutes will make their way into industry via technology transfer program. There is dire need for the government to promote more technologies developed by its organizations for the industries to adopt them and policies should be made in this direction. This will lead to generation of employment, reduce our dependence on other countries and also benefit common people.



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