India’s premier defense research body DRDO will produce oxygen with a technology used on the LCA Tejas fighter to treat COVID-19 patients, according to reports. There has been a nationwide oxygen shortage due to the sudden spike in Coronavirus cases.
The Times of India reported that the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) would ensure oxygen supply to the makeshift hospitals being set up in Uttar Pradesh’s capital Lucknow to accommodate the rising number of COVID-19 patients.
This self-sustainable oxygen generation technology has been used by the research body for IAF pilots flying the LCA Tejas and is called Onboard Oxygen Generation System (OBOGS).
This technology is used in fighter jet cockpits to compensate for the rapid decrease in oxygen levels at high altitudes. According to DRDO, the OBOGS replaces the traditional Liquid Oxygen System (LOX) by utilizing bleed air or the compressed air from the aircraft engine and separating its components using molecular sieve (Zeolite) Pressure Swing Adsorption (PSA) technology.
The system consists of two molecular sieve beds with an oxygen plenum to provide the aircrew with breathing gas continuously.
Officials told the daily that the DRDO plant can provide medical-grade oxygen round-the-clock at a high flow rate catering to at least 50 ventilator ICU beds. This technology will be used to activate oxygen plants at COVID hospitals as well.
This technology has been developed by DRDO’s Defense Electromedical & Bio-Engineering Laboratory, a specialized wing focussed on technologies and products in the areas of life support, medical and physiological protection systems for the Indian Armed Forces.
The Tejas technology would be used to provide a continuous supply of oxygen to COVID beds, and refiling used cylinders. This would address the problem of oxygen shortage the country is facing, with the number of Covid cases making new records on a daily basis.