An oxygen generation system based on technology developed at the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) has been installed at the Pobbathi Medical Centre, Bengaluru. It was inaugurated by Gaurav Gupta, BBMP Chief Commissioner, on 27 July 2021. The installation was carried out by Electrowing Technologies, a Bengaluru-based company, and supported by the Give India Foundation in association with Zerodha.
The system has been designed based on a multi-species gas separation process for hydrogen production developed by an IISc team including researchers Arashdeep Singh and Anand M Shivapuji, and led by S Dasappa, Professor at the Centre for Sustainable Technologies.
Last year, during the COVID-19 pandemic, the team had conceptualised and developed an oxygen generation system based on a swing adsorption process, which uses low power and meets the specifications defined by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoH&FW).
The process involves drawing ambient air through a compressor along with a conditioning system to remove any contaminants before separating oxygen. The separation happens within a twin-bed Swing Adsorption system integrated with small storage and discharge vessels and various safety systems. The oxygen produced fulfills the quality requirements prescribed by Indian Pharmacopeia and can be used in ICUs/CCUs/OTs and other clinical wards.
To cater to the pressing oxygen need in India, the IISc team developed an open-source design for a 50 LPM medical oxygen plant. The Institute has also signed technology transfer agreements with four agencies from across the country for installing oxygen generation systems at various capacities (50 LPM-1000 LPM) to meet the requirements of hospitals.
The system installed at Pobbathi Medical Center, which is the first unit based on this technology, is designed for generating medical-grade oxygen at 50 LPM with oxygen purity around 93%. It is IoT-enabled for continuous and remote monitoring from any location having a mobile signal. This would allow stakeholders to assess the “health” of the oxygen generator and enable timely service intervention, thereby enhancing the reliability of the system.
The IISc team is also seeking support for implementing oxygen generation systems at smaller 50-bed hospitals in a mission mode, using the process developed at the Institute. The complete package is planned as a containerised, plug-and-play solution for uninterrupted supply of oxygen in hospitals or healthcare units having a backup power supply. Given the large number of primary and community healthcare centres spread across urban and rural environments, the IoT-enabled solution facilitates remote monitoring of operations, which is beneficial for large-scale deployment. Data centralisation through the cloud will also enable real-time analytics and instantaneous alerts (via SMS or email) to the concerned agencies.