Oxygen enrichment device for use in homes, remote locations developed by CMERI

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New Delhi, Apr 8 (PTI) An oxygen enrichment device that can be used in homes, high altitude terrain, remote locations and also prove more effective for treating COVID-19 patients has been developed by the Central Mechanical Research Institute in West Bengal's Durgapur, the CSIR said on Thursday.

Oxygen enrichment unit works on the principle of Pressure Swing Adsorption (PSA) and utilises zeolite columns to selectively remove nitrogen from air under certain pressure, thereby increasing the oxygen concentration.

An oxygen enrichment unit is a device, which concentrates the oxygen from the air around by selectively removing nitrogen to supply an oxygen-enriched air. Harish Hirani, Director, CSIR-CMERI said the oxygen enrichment unit may be very useful for homes, hospitals, defense forces particularly in high altitude terrain and remote rural localities. 'It can be more effective and crucial for treating patients of COVID-19,' Hirani said.

He added that this unit may help reduce the demand for oxygen cylinders and ventilators and due to the rise in air pollution its demand is supposed to grow very rapidly as it is also useful for maintaining proper oxygen level for an optimum healthy environment.

The concentrated oxygen is delivered to the patients, having respiratory diseases, through oxygen mask or nasal cannula. The device may be used for patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases (COPD), chronic hypoxemia and pulmonary edema. It may be used as an adjunct treatment for severe sleep apnea (in conjunction with a continuous positive airway pressure unit).

'The oxygen enrichment unit developed by CSIR-CMERI is capable of delivering up to 30 LPM (litres per minute) oxygen enriched air, which is absent in the other commercially available units,' the CSIR said. CMERI is a constituent of CSIR.

The machine can regulate flow with accuracy 0.5 Ipm. This facility will help in High Flow Oxygen Therapy, which is proven to be a better method in treatment and management of COVID-19 patients.

The subsystems of oxygen enrichment unit are compressor, solenoid operated valves, flow metre and pre-Filter. The compressor feeds pressurised air into the module and oxygen is enriched on the permeate side due to its preferential permeation over nitrogen. The suspended particles, viruses, bacteria present in the air are filtered out by the available HEPA filter. The commercially available oxygen enrichment units generally work till 8,000 feet from sea level. With an optional plug-in module, this unit can work up to the altitude of 14,000 ft with a penalty on flow rate thereby making it very handy for the usage of the high altitude terrain battlefield in contingencies.

Though some other research establishments in the country have also developed such system, CSIR-CMERI's system having an outflow at 93 per cent oxygen concentration level and 5 LPM is far ahead than those which merely gives the outflow of around 27-35 per cent. The material cost of this unit is approximately Rs 35,000. The technology has been transferred to M/s. Zen Medical Technologies Pvt. Ltd, Ranga Reddy, Telangana, the CSIR said.

The CSIR's National Aerospace Laboratories have also developed a ventilator during the pandemic. PTI PR DV DV