A low-cost, electricity free Oxygen concentrator

The University of Melbourne
Organization Location: 
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Pneumonia alone contributes to between 750,000 and 1.2 million neonatal deaths and an unknown number of stillbirths each year world-wide. Provision of oxygen has the potential for large reductions in neonatal and child mortality due to prematurity, birth asphyxia, and other causes. At the level of the small district hospital and sub-district health center there is a major equity issue, as current oxygen provision methods require reliable electricity, which is typically unavailable. Our proposal will provide this life-saving treatment to isolated, extremely resource poor people by obviating the need for electricity. This will be achieved by applying recently developed hydrological engineering approaches to extract the pressure differential required for the adsorption process exploited by Oxygen concentrators. This project aims to develop and test an electricity free Oxygen concentrator suitable for a developing world health facility. This represents a major paradigm shift, as to-date the problem has been interpreted as how to supply electricity to an Oxygen concentrator. In comparison with solar and generator based approaches the prototype will require significantly less capital cost and maintenance. Further, construction out of locally available components will empower the community to independently and sustainably access this life-saving treatment. Empirical evidence indicates that successful oxygen provision will reduce childhood pneumonia- "the leading killer of children"- by up to 35 % (Duke, T et al. "Oxygen: a scarce essential medicine" Policy Brief 2011).

See video