Open-Source Oxygen Hack Chat

Maher Daoudi and the Oxikit team

Wednesday, May 5, 2021 12:00 pm PDT Local time zone:
Hack Chat
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Maher Daoudi and the OxiKit Team will host the Hack Chat on Wednesday, May 5 at noon Pacific.

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In such tumultuous times, it may be hard to remember last week, let alone last year. But if you dig back a bit, you may recall what a panic the world was in at this point in 2020 about the ventilator crisis. With COVID-19 cases on the rise and the potential for great numbers of patients needing intensive care, everyone and their brother was hacking together makeshift ventilators, in the well-intentioned belief that their inventions would help relieve the coming shortage of these lifesaving medical mechanical miracles.

As it came to pass, though, more COVID-19 patients have benefited from high-flow oxygen therapy than from mechanical ventilation. That's great news in places where oxygen is cheap and easily available, but that's always the case. We've seen recent reports of hospitals in India running out of oxygen, and even rural and remote areas of the developed world can find themselves caught without enough of the vital gas.

To meet the world's increasing demand for high-flow oxygen therapy, the team at OxiKit has developed an open-source oxygen concentrator that can be built for far less than what a commercial concentrator costs. By filtering the nitrogen out of the air, the concentrator provides oxygen at 90% or higher purity, at a flow of up to 25 liters per minute.

Oxikit founder Maher Daoudi and some of the technical team will join us for this Hack Chat to discuss the details of making oxygen concentrators. We'll learn about how they work, what the design process for their current concentrator was like, and how they got past the obstacles and delivered on the promise of high-flow oxygen for the masses.

  • Hack Chat Transcript, Part 1

    Dan Maloney05/05/2021 at 20:06 0 comments

    OK folks, welcome to the Hack Chat. I'm Dan and I'll be the moderator today for our talk with Oxikit about open-source oxygen concentrators.

    Things are going to work a bit differently today: our guest is Maher Daoudi, but he's in transit today, so I'm on the phone with him. I'll relay questions to him and type in the answers, so his answers will appear under my handle. It'll be a bit weird, but I think it'll work -- just have patience as we work through the process.

    H Fehr joined the room.12:00 PM

    ramamurthyrajesh112:00 PM

    Adi Oltean12:00 PM
    Hi all

    Lutetium12:00 PM
    Hi all!

    I'm going to call Maher now, talk amongst yourselves for a minute or two, and perhaps queue up some questions

    Hank DeBey12:01 PM

    ramamurthyrajesh112:01 PM
    I looked into this kit, due to my desire to help out in India. and was thinking of doing one kit as trial

    ramamurthyrajesh112:02 PM
    I have seen the you tube videos a bit, and I think I get the basic hang of the system.

    taitny12:02 PM
    I'm curious about the Cost / Value analysis between the oxikit and commercially available units.

    ramamurthyrajesh112:03 PM
    My main question is around scalability of the system and cost/value as Robert says

    Thomas Shaddack12:03 PM
    Oxygen sensors are insanely expensive and the electrochemical ones wear down. Are there ways to assess the approximate oxygen purity by other means (thermal conductivity, breakdown voltage...)?

    A little about Maher: he's a serial entrepreneur, set up a number of international platforms, and now he's turning his attention to making sure people can keep breathing.

    ramamurthyrajesh112:03 PM
    How much can we scale up

    ramamurthyrajesh112:04 PM
    For example can we go to 50LPM, with just replacement of valves and compressor?

    Harry Blakiston Houston joined the room.12:04 PM

    Thomas Shaddack12:04 PM
    Another bottleneck is the zeolites for the pressure swing absorption. Are there ways to cut cost?

    Maher also set up Pillar Tribe, a coalition of doctors and scientists that serves as a central platform with Oxikit as the core product

    ramamurthyrajesh112:04 PM
    What would the cost be if we did that? Current cost of the 5L unit is too high compared to commercial units

    Thomas Shaddack12:05 PM
    @ramamurthyrajesh1 You'll have to also increase the volume of the zeolite columns. These are the critical part.

    @Adi Oltean is here too from Pillar Tribe. Hi Adi, can you chip in here?

    ramamurthyrajesh112:05 PM

    Adi Oltean12:05 PM
    hi all, yes

    ramamurthyrajesh112:05 PM
    Got that. Yes, so

    Adi Oltean12:06 PM
    the easiest way to scale the system is scale-out (not scale-up). Just put more concentrators in parallel

    ramamurthyrajesh112:06 PM
    But that makes the cost n * cost of 1 unit

    Thomas Shaddack12:06 PM
    Special zeolites with silver treatment are used for gas separation. Can there be something less expensive that's still Good Enough?

    Adi Oltean12:06 PM
    As with any open source concentrator, if you want to make it bigger you need to increase the size of the zeolite tanks and the width of the piping. That also changes the required timings so it will mean re-testing it

    ramamurthyrajesh112:07 PM
    current cost is $1K for 5L

    @Thomas Shaddack - there are docs in the Oxikit project on on alternate sensors:


    OxiKit Oxygen Concentrator

    High Flow Oxygen Concentrator 15 LPM at 90%+ Concentrated o2

    Read this on Hackaday

    Look for three files starting with "o2analyser..."

    Adi Oltean12:08 PM
    >>> But that makes the cost n * cost of 1 unit

    Yes, even scale-up requires more zeolite and a bigger compressor so either way it's a linear scaling.

    dexteralpha joined the room.12:08 PM

    ramamurthyrajesh112:08 PM
    How are the commercial systems able to cost 1/2 the cost we have?

    ramamurthyrajesh112:09 PM
    Is that because of combining all the tubing inside?

    Thomas Shaddack12:09 PM
    Hence my oxygen sensor question. If we measure the output gases, the unit could self-calibrate.


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