How is oxygen made for hospitals?

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Oxygen was known to support respiration as early as 1800 and came to be used for medical purposes by around 1810. Its medical usefulness was known only after it was discovered that it is essential for maintaining life on the planet. Oxygen makes up around 21% of earth’s atmosphere whereas oxygen needed in medical applications must have purity of 99.7% or above.  It is used in resuscitation, inhalation, COPD, cyanosis, shock, severe hemorrhage, carbon monoxide poisoning, major trauma, cardiac/respiratory arrest.  It is used in aiding resuscitation & cardiovascular stability and providing life support for artificially ventilated patients.  Medical oxygen  plant are used for generating medical oxygen for meeting the requirements of hospitals.

What is medical oxygen?

Medical oxygen need to have 99.7% purity and must comply with European and Indian Pharmacopeia standards. It must also fit within the specifications of identification, Odor, CO2 not more than 0.03% and CO not more than 0.001% in gas. Oxygen plant for hospitals is manufactured in compliance with international standards including ASME, ANSI, NEMA and CE.

Production of oxygen for hospitals

For production of oxygen for hospitals we use oxygen plant for hospital that taps air from atmosphere which is then compressed in the air compressor. Afterwards, air is moved into a cleanup system where it is cleaned of impurities like moisture, hydrocarbons and carbons dioxide. Now, it is sent into a heat exchanger where it is liquefied at cryogenic temperatures. Subsequently, it enters high pressure distillation column where oxygen is separated from nitrogen and other gases present in the air. It is distilled continuously till it meets medical purity specifications. Non-cryogenic systems such as pressure swing adsorption (PSA) are also used for making oxygen for hospitals. Cryogenic technique is preferred because it is more effective for generating high purity oxygen.

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