IIT Bombay professor finds way to convert nitrogen units into oxygen ones

COVID-19: IIT Bombay professor's method can convert industrial nitrogen units, easily available across the country

IIT Bombay professor finds way to convert nitrogen units into oxygen ones Oxygen production could be achieved at 3.5 atm pressure with a purity level of 93-96%
Team Careers360 | Apr 29, 2021 - 2:49 p.m. IST
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NEW DELHI: A professor at Indian Institute of Technology Bombay has found a way to convert nitrogen units used in industrial plants across the country into oxygen units by fine-tuning the existing nitrogen plant setup, to tide over the oxygen shortage crisis gripping many cities, including Delhi, right now. Oxygen support is required for severe cases of COVID-19 and the number of cases has risen dramatically in the second wave of the pandemic.

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Milind Atrey, who also specialises in cryogenic engineering, along with Tata Consulting Engineers Limited (TCE), took up a pilot project to evaluate the conversion of PSA (Pressure Swing Adsorption) Nitrogen Unit to PSA oxygen unit by fine-tuning the existing Nitrogen Plant setup and changing the molecular sieves from Carbon to Zeolite.

The existing nitrogen plants take air from the atmosphere as raw material, and are available across India in various industrial plants. According to a statement issued by IIT Bombay, each of these nitrogen plants has the potential of being converted to an oxygen generator to tide over the current emergency.

At IIT Bombay, a PSA Nitrogen plant in the refrigeration and cryogenics laboratory was

identified for conversion to validate the proof of concept. To undertake this study on an urgent basis, an MOU was signed between IIT Bombay, Tata Consulting Engineers and Spantech Engineers to finalise an SOP.

The initial tests have shown promising results. “Oxygen production could be achieved at 3.5 atm pressure with a purity level of 93-96 percent. This gaseous oxygen can be utilised for COVID related needs across existing hospitals and upcoming COVID specific facilities by providing a continuous supply of oxygen,” states the release issued by the institute.

Subhasis Chaudhuri, director, IIT Bombay has encouraged the teams to conceptualise innovative ideas and generate indigenous IP that can be leveraged across multiple sectors in meeting the country’s needs.

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