The Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Bombay has come up with a creative and ingenious solution to addressing the shortage of medical oxygen for the treatment of COVID-19 patients in the country. The pilot project which has been tested successfully relies on a simple technological hack: conversion of PSA (Pressure Swing Adsorption) Nitrogen Unit to PSA Oxygen Unit!
Initial tests done at IIT Bombay have shown promising results. Oxygen production could be achieved at 3.5 atm pressure, with a purity level of 93% – 96 %. This gaseous oxygen can be utilised for COVID-related needs across existing hospitals and upcoming COVID-19 specific facilities by providing a continuous supply of oxygen.
Nitrogen unit be converted into an oxygen unit by fine-tuning the existing Nitrogen Plant setup and changing the molecular sieves from Carbon to Zeolite.
“Such nitrogen plants, which take air from the atmosphere as raw material, are available in various industrial plants across India. Therefore, each of them could potentially be converted into an oxygen generator, thus helping us tide over the current public health emergency”, said Prof. Milind Atrey, Dean (R&D), IIT Bombay, who led the project.