The Indian Institute of Technology Bombay (IIT-B) has come up with a creative solution to address the shortage of medical oxygen for the treatment of Covid-19 patients in India. 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! This is a collaborative effort between IIT Bombay, Tata Consulting Engineers and Spantech Engineers, Mumbai, who deal with PSA Nitrogen and Oxygen plant production.

What

  1. Initial tests done at IIT Bombay showed promising results. Oxygen production could be achieved at 3.5 atm pressure, with a purity level of 93 per cent to 96 per cent.
  2. 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.
  3. It has been done by fine-tuning the existing Nitrogen Plant setup and changing the molecular sieves from Carbon to Zeolite.
  4. 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.
  5. A PSA Nitrogen plant in the Refrigeration and Cryogenics Laboratory of IIT was identified for conversion, to validate the proof of concept.