PUCP designs a fast-implementing and low-cost oxygen production plant

This domestic manufacturing proposal can be implemented in 15 days, unlike the two or three months that import usually takes.

Autor: Israel Guzmán | Fotos: Héctor Jara

The lack of oxygen production is one of the weaknesses in our health care system evidenced by the COVID-19 pandemic. According to the calculations made by the Ministry of Health, the coronavirus caused an increase in the medical oxygen demand of 120 tons per day (TPD). Solving this gap is urgently necessary.

For this, since last May, our University has engaged in designing a plant that may produce medical oxygen. Now, PUCP is ready to start local manufacture of Modular Medical Oxygen Generator Units (UMGOM, for its Spanish initials) used to supply the local market. This has been done thanks to the work performed by the Energy and Environmental Analysis Service (SAEA, for its Spanish initials) –of the Mechanical Engineering Section of the Department of Engineering– which worked in alliance with company Seralt.

“We are offering a product from a technological development made by none. It was said to be impossible and we depended on imported equipment. We developed engineering to manufacture these plants in our country”, emphasizes Mag. Fernando Jiménez, a professor of the Department of Engineering and project coordinator. “Moreover, we do this with local inputs, components, workforce and engineering, importing some components only”, he adds.

This equipment costs a half and a third part of an imported one. Moreover, it lasts two weeks to make it available for its purchasers, not from 9 to 12 weeks, as usually occurs with an import

Mag. Fernando Jiménez

Professor of the Department of Engineering and project coordinator

Evident benefits

This layout of modular oxygen production plants has three different capacities: 5, 10 and 20 cubic meters (m3) per hour. With them, around 12, 24 or 48 cylinders of 10 m3 could be filled in a day, respectively. Broadly speaking, they would be used to meet the oxygen requirements of up to 40, 80 or 160 people.

“This equipment costs a half and a third part of an imported one. Moreover, it lasts two weeks to make it available for its purchasers, not from 9 to 12 weeks, as usually occurs with an import”, professor Jiménez says.

For the construction of these oxygen production plants, our University validates the design, manufacture and quality processes. Its production in local workshops will support the national industry and provide demand for employment opportunities. “This is a form of reactivating economy and at the same time of giving a solution to an urgent problem”, says the professor of the Mechanical Engineering Section.

Likewise, its modular design will allow to be adjusted to different needs of the institutions requiring so. The sum of modules gives control over the total volume and makes the plant to be easily adjusted to different geographical conditions. At the same time, they may be directly connected to fixed and flexible networks delivering oxygen to patients in all treatment stages in a hospital center. Thus, logistical costs of transporting oxygen in cylinders may be avoided. If essential, a loading system for them may be also added.

Validation and production

On Wednesday, July 8, our University received the equipment from the Directorate-General for Medicines, Medical Supplies and Drugs (DIGEMID, for its Spanish initials), which is in charge of authorizing its manufacture for medical use. “They could prove that the oxygen production plant operates very well. Only some observations inherent to a model that was a prototype were annotated, but we will solve them this week. With this, we will be able to start its production”, Jiménez says.

Through PSA technology, the working group enabled the oxygen plant to produce this element with more than 93% of purity. This indicator is accepted by the main countries of Europe and the United States, and it was also approved by the Health and Research Technology Institute of EsSalud, in 2017, and by the regulations in force during the health emergency.

Information and Contact details

The unit in charge of preparing this proposal is the “Energy and Environmental Analysis Service” (SAEA) of the Mechanical Engineering Section of the Department of Engineering of PUCP, an entity with more than 25 years providing several engineering services to companies of producing sectors and also evaluating oxygen generator plants.

If you desire to receive information about prices and availability of this plant, please send an e-mail to ojimene@pucp.edu.pe

Mechanical Engineering

The career of Mechanical Engineering is one of the fourteen specialties offered by our University in the School of Science and Engineering. Its graduates are responsible for the conception, design, manufacture, maintenance, control and management of machineries, equipment and industrial facilities. Furthermore, it makes significant decisions based on technical, economic, safety and environmental impact decisions in order to improve the quality of life in our country.

The University offers 52 undergraduate careers in total. Know more about this specialty in this link and learn more about our admission modalities for semester 2020-2 at Zona Escolar,” he adds.

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