The Science Behind Medical Oxygen Production

The Science Behind Medical Oxygen Production

The manufacture of medical oxygen is an essential and intricate procedure that necessitates the utilisation of equipment that is capable of separating and concentrating oxygen from other gases that are present in the air.

The production of medicinal oxygen can be accomplished using a variety of techniques and procedures, including air separation, photosynthesis, chemical reaction, and electrolysis, and a few more. In addition to the amount of energy, resources, and waste that are involved, each process has its own set of benefits and drawbacks. These include the type, source, purity, and quantity of the oxygen that is produced. Therefore, it is essential to select the most appropriate approach for each circumstance, taking into consideration the need for medical oxygen, the supply of oxygen, and the availability of oxygen.

In addition to enhancing the quality of life of patients, medical oxygen has the potential to improve the function of organs and tissues, alleviate the symptoms and repercussions of hypoxemia, and lessen the severity of hypoxemia.

As medical oxygen suppliers, we understand patients who suffer from low blood oxygen levels as a result of a variety of medical conditions, including chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), asthma, pneumonia, heart failure, sleep apnoea, and other respiratory disorders, have access to medical oxygen, which is an essential and life-saving resource.

Oxygen for medicinal purposes is not easily accessible in the surrounding air, which only contains about 21 percent oxygen. As a result, the production of medical oxygen requires the utilisation of equipment that is capable of separating and concentrating oxygen from other gases that are present in the air. Depending on the type of oxygen, the source of the oxygen, the purity of the oxygen, and the quantity of oxygen that is required, there are a variety of methods and processes that can be utilised to manufacture medical oxygen.

Let us talk about some of the principles that underlie the science behind medical oxygen production:

Air Separation

Air separation is the approach that is utilised the most frequently and extensively in the production of medical oxygen. After the air has been cooled and compressed to the point where it becomes a liquid, the next step in the process of air separation is to distil the air into its constituent parts, which include nitrogen, oxygen, and argon.

Following this, the liquid oxygen is either collected and stored in tanks or cylinders, or it is turned back into gas and then the gas is provided to the patients. It is possible to create high-quality oxygen, with a purity level of up to 99.5 percent, as well as enormous amounts of oxygen, with a daily production rate of up to thousands of tonnes.

The process of air separation necessitates the utilisation of big and intricate industrial units, such as cryogenic plants, which demand a significant amount of energy and resources.

Pressure Swing Adsorption (PSA)

Another approach that is frequently and extensively utilised for the production of medical oxygen is known as pressure swing adsorption (PSA). PSA is a process that includes passing air through a bed of adsorbent material, such as zeolite, which selectively collects nitrogen and other gases while allowing oxygen to flow through.

The air that has been enhanced with oxygen is then collected and brought to patients. PSA is capable of producing oxygen with a moderate level of purity, up to 95 percent, as well as oxygen in moderate volumes, capable of producing up to hundreds of litres per minute.

PSA calls for equipment that is both compact and straightforward, such as oxygen concentrators, which are more efficient in terms of both energy and resources than air separation.

Chemical Reaction

Chemical reaction can be used to manufacture medical oxygen; however it is not as common or as widely used as other methods. To carry out a chemical reaction, one must make use of a chemical compound, such as sodium chlorate, which, when heated or broken down, releases oxygen during the process.

In the next step, the oxygen gas is collected and subsequently distributed to patients. Low-purity oxygen, up to 90 percent, and low volumes of oxygen, up to tens of litres per minute, can be produced through chemical reactions on a minute-to-minute basis. A chemical reaction necessitates the use of equipment that is both portable and disposable, such as oxygen generators. These generators consume a greater quantity of chemicals and generate a greater amount of trash than air separation and PSA.


The production of medicinal oxygen by electrolysis is a relatively new and developing technique. Electrolysis is a process that meets these requirements. In addition, electrolysis results in the production of hydrogen gas, which can be preserved for later use or utilised as a fuel source.

In the process of electrolysis, water is separated into hydrogen and oxygen through the utilisation of an electric current. In the following step, the oxygen gas is collected and subsequently distributed to patients. Electrolysis has the potential to generate oxygen with a high purity level, reaching up to 99.9 percent, as well as oxygen in varying quantities, which are determined by the power and size of the electrolyser.

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