The COVID-19 attack is hard-hitting a nation like India with a huge population thereby posing a challenge of oxygen shortage in many areas. To address this very concern, the Indian Navy has started an ‘oxygen on wheels’ plant which has been designed by the Naval Dockyard, Vishakhapatnam and was recently launched in the month of May 2021. A team of specialists from the Vishakhapatnam, Naval Dockyard have come together to connect the oxygen pipeline in the Covid health centre at Palasa. This is a unique model wherein a PSA Oxygen plant was integrated on a mobile platform with the aim to help serve remote hospitals. This step will ensure oxygen supply round the clock and 12 patients can use it at one time. The staff posted at the oxygen plant has also been trained by the Naval team.
Oxygen Recycling System (ORS) has specially been conceptualised and designed by the Diving School of Southern Naval Command to remove and efficiently handle the existing oxygen shortages. The credit of designing the ORS goes to Lt Commander Mayank Sharma of Diving School. The idea of its design came from the basic concept which is currently used in some of the diving sets used by the school. When a patient inhales oxygen, only a small percentage of it is actually absorbed by the lungs and the rest is exhaled along with the carbon-dioxide produced by the body. As per the Indian Navy, this exhaled oxygen can be reused once the exhaled carbon-dioxide is removed from it. This is possible by using the ORS which adds second pipe to the oxygen mask which is already being used by the patient.
By using a low-pressure motor and non-return valves, this second pipe then sucks out the air exhaled by the patient which is then fed into a Bacterial Viral Filter for the Heat and Moisture Exchange Filter (BVF-HME Filter) to absorb any viral contaminants. After this, the gases pass through a high-grade CO2 scrubber with a High-Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filter to absorb CO2 and other particulates allowing and facilitating the enriched oxygen to pass through unaffected, which then is pumped back into the inhalation pipe of the face mask of the patient.
Thus this system will help in reducing the use of oxygen from the cylinder and aid in extending the life of the existing medical oxygen cylinders two to four times. The ORS prototype cost is capped at INR 10,000 and is expected to help save around Rs 3000 daily due to the recycling of oxygen. The specialists at Sree Chitra Tirunal Institute for Medical Sciences and Technology (SCTIMST), Thiruvananthapuram have given a go-ahead to both the design and feasibility of the concept by giving an Initial Evaluation Certificate to the prototype. So this ORS is going in for clinical trials and soon will be available for mass production.