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Mumbai IIT to convert nitrogen plant into oxygen generator

The experts in the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) in Mumbai has created a technology to convert a nitrogen plant into an oxygen generator. The IIT Mumbai is piloting the new project. The new project was created to reduce the oxygen shortage in the country.

Milind Atrey, professor and dean (R&D) has taken up the project with Tata Consulting Engineers (TCE). The pilot project has been tested successfully. The project relies on a simple technological hack: conversion of PSA (Pressure Swing Adsorption) Nitrogen Unit to PSA Oxygen Unit.

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Initial tests done at IIT Bombay have shown promising results. Oxygen production could be achieved at 3.5 atm pressure, with a purity level of 93% – 96 %.

Spantech Engineers, Mumbai, who deal with PSA Nitrogen & Oxygen plant production, agreed to partner with IIT Bombay and TCE on this pilot project and installed the required plant components as a skid at IIT Bombay for evaluation using IIT Bombay’s infrastructure at the IITB Nitrogen facility at the Refrigeration and Cryogenics lab.

“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,” said IIT in a statement.

“How can the nitrogen unit be converted into an oxygen unit? ” It has been done by fine-tuning the existing Nitrogen Plant setup and changing the molecular sieves from Carbon to Zeolite. 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”” says Prof. Milind Atrey.


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