Amid raging pandemic, IIT Bombay created a silver lining we all needed. The team came up with an innovative low cost oxygen to solve the shortage of O2 in the country. On Thursday, India’s cumulative COVID-19 cases surpassed 18 million, setting a new world record and as gravediggers are full to bury victims.
According to health ministry statistics, India announced 379,257 new cases and 3,645 new deaths on Thursday, the highest number of deaths in a single day since the pandemic began. The world’s second most populated country is in a state of emergency, with hospitals and morgues overcrowded.
To solve the crisis IIT Bombay created an innovative idea of low-cost oxygen generator to solve the shortage.
IIT Bombay innovative oxygen generator
Amid a medical oxygen shortage for COVID-19 patients, IIT Bombay has devised an innovative way to solve the problem by transforming a nitrogen unit into an oxygen generation unit, the institute announced on Thursday.
According to an official release, the pilot project, which has been validated effectively, is based on a basic technical approach that converts a Pressure Swing Adsorption nitrogen unit into a PSA oxygen unit. It said that preliminary experiments at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Bombay yielded impressive outcomes.
At 3.5 atm pressure, oxygen could be produced with a high purity ranging from 93% to 96%. By having a constant supply of oxygen, gaseous oxygen will be used for COVID-19-related requirements in current hospitals and future COVID-19-specific services.
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Process of conversion of nitrogen to oxygen
The low-cost oxygen generator is by converting of a nitrogen unit into an oxygen unit was accomplished by fine-tuning the current nitrogen plant framework and switching the molecular sieves from carbon to zeolite according to the statement, which cited Prof Milind Atrey, Dean (R&D), IITB, the project led.
Nitrogen plants that use atmospheric air as a raw material can be found in several industrial plants throughout India. As a result, both of them could potentially be converted into an oxygen generator, aiding us in resolving the current public health emergency.
According to the release, the pilot project is a joint effort between IIT Bombay, Tata Consulting Engineers, and Spantech Engineers, Mumbai, who interact with PSA nitrogen and oxygen plant processing.
To expedite this report, an MoU was signed between IIT Bombay, Tata Consulting Engineers, and Spantech Engineers to finalize a standard operating procedure (SOP) that could be used around the world. Prof Subhasis Chaudhuri, Director of IIT Bombay, congratulated all parties involved and stated that such collaboration between academia and industry is highly beneficial and essential for the nation’s development and prosperity.
What is Medical Oxygen?
Medical oxygen implies that oxygen used in hospitals and clinics to cure various illnesses that involve low oxygen concentration levels in the body. In this regard, it is analogous to a substance.
In contrast to the air we breathe, which contains just 21% oxygen and is ingested by our lungs, medical oxygen is extremely enriched and can be accessed in a variety of ways.
One method is to liquefy air using a technique known as cryogenic distillation. This process produces oxygen in air separation facilities, where the air is cooled and the oxygen is distilled depending on its boiling point. The same process is used to split liquefied air into argon and nitrogen.
An oxygen concentrator is a system that generates oxygen from the air itself. An oxygen concentrator, according to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, is a self-contained, electrically operated medical system intended to extract oxygen from the surrounding atmosphere.
India’s crisis of oxygen shortage
The nation faces an unprecedented lack of medical oxygen. The pandemic’s second wave has crippled health infrastructures in most nations, with hospitals struggling to have enough oxygen supply for the growing case numbers.
During the first surge, oxygen therapy assisted patients with mild to extreme Covid symptoms in improving, and only a few of them used a ventilator.
After this fact, the current outbreak of infections appears to have caught the Indian health system off guard. All the states, especially in places like Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore and many others in India, are experiencing a shortage of medical oxygen.