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Monday, May 10, 2021

After IIT-B, Pune university wants to generate medical oxygen on campus

Over the past few days, SPPU has been looking for solutions to produce medical oxygen on campus, which can be provided to hospitals where Covid-19 patients are admitted.

Written by Alifiya Khan | Pune |
Updated: May 6, 2021 12:20:17 am
Savitribai Phule Pune University. (File Photo)

Even as IIT Bombay kick-started a pilot project to convert an existing nitrogen producing unit to produce medical oxygen, the authorities at Savitribai Phule Pune University also want to follow suit.

Over the past few days, SPPU has been looking for solutions to produce medical oxygen on campus, which can be provided to hospitals where Covid-19 patients are admitted.

Vice-chancellor Dr Nitin Karmalkar said earlier talks were on to get an oxygen plant lying defunct in another state, but the plant was now being moved to another district.

“I believe, as universities, it is our job to help in this hour of crisis and come up with unique solutions. We had created an isolation facility on campus earlier, but, unfortunately, we won’t be able to convert it into an oxygen bed facility. The reason being that we do not have adequate trained medical staff, it is just not our domain. So my effort is to come up with a solution to produce medical oxygen, pack it and send it to hospitals,” he said.

Karmalkar said while he was speaking to stakeholders, including industries, for solutions, he was keenly following the development at IIT-B.

At IIT-B, a pilot project has been initiated with Tata Consultancy Engineers and Spantech Engineers, where an existing pressure swing adsorption (PSA) nitrogen unit has been converted to a PSA oxygen unit using a simple technological hack.

Karmalkar also said such a nitrogen unit was available on campus as science students often needed the gas for conducting experiments, and that he was considering using the same for conversion. “We are looking at other options too, we welcome ideas and help from the industry,” he added.

Recently, SPPU authorities announced that it will now start conducting RT-PCR tests on campus at its newly created laboratory. Students, volunteers and faculty with experience of working in bio-safety laboratory or molecular diagnostics have been asked to come forward.

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