(43b) A Rapid Pressure Swing Adsorption Process for the Improvement of Portable Oxygen Concentrators
With the market for portable oxygen concentrators (POC) expected to rise to over $2 billion dollars by 2021, the demand for lighter, more efficient units is going to increase rapidly. While POC units on the market today have been recently improved with respect to weight and battery life, the technology is still relatively new and there remains significant room for development. The heart of these units is a rapid pressure swing adsorption (PSA) process that separates oxygen and nitrogen in air to deliver a stream of at least 90% oxygen to patients who require this level of oxygen purity to conduct daily activities. The proper design of this PSA process is one of the keys to improving these units in the future. Through this study, a lab-scale rapid PSA process has been developed with a commercial adsorbent that would significantly improve the efficiency of a POC. The process developed, when properly employed in a POC, has the potential to reduce the weight of a POC in half and double its battery life, both critical selling factors to potential consumers. The process also demonstrated a high level of efficiency at a wide range of operating conditions, which will provide flexibility for implementation of the process in a larger scale POC.