CSIR-CEERI Repurposes Nitrogen Plant Facility for Oxygen Generation

Oxygen, a quintessential element for human life emerged as an inescapable and scarce entity amongst other medical supplies during the second wave of COVID-19. Continuous support to all state governments, private, and public sectors was required. CSIR-Central Electronics Engineering Research Institute (CSIR-CEERI), Pilani, Rajasthan, took the initiative to generate medical grade oxygen for hospitals.

CEERI Facility Group under the supervision of Mr Ashok Chauhan, Principal Scientist, took the initiative to translate the existing nitrogen generation plant into an oxygen plant. The converted plant is based on the Pressure Swing Adsorption (PSA) technology and is equipped with a capacity of 2000-litre oxygen storage at 4.5 bar pressure. The generation capacity of the system is 75 ltr/min oxygen with 95.42% purity.

An oxygen concentrator receives air through a compressor from an open environment, separates it into oxygen and other waste gases, and then stores it into the storage tank. Typically, the air is composed of 78% nitrogen, 21% oxygen, and 1% other mixtures of gases. The concentrator filters the oxygen content to over 90% purity. In PSA-based systems two Zeolite-filled Sieve bed filters are used, which adsorb the nitrogen from the air and pass the oxygen or smaller atomic gases only.

The generated oxygen was tested at FareLabs Pvt. Ltd, Gurugram, to check its suitability for medical use.

The converted oxygen generation plant was deployed at Bhagwan Das Khetan (BDK) Government Hospital, Jhunjhunu, for COVID and the Emergency ward. After installation at BDK Hospital, the quality of the oxygen sample was measured and found to be 95.0%. Oxygen quality has been certified by Farelabs, Gurugram and Macsen Drugs, Gudli, Rajasthan.