Abstract P192: On-Site Generation of Oxygen for Emergency Care
Introduction: Use of oxygen in the earliest echelons of combat casualty care, disasters, pandemics, or other operational settings in adverse environments present severe logistical and technical challenges. These challenges range from dangers of transporting high pressure tanks to the inability to refill tanks in the field. The development of ceramic oxygen concentrators while helping to mitigate some issues, still have limitations regarding battery lifetime, noise, and the fact that ambient air may be contaminated. The specific goals of this project are to develop alternative methods and technologies of oxygen production for austere environments.
Methods: These technologies are based on the use of solid and liquid peroxide species along with customized catalyst chemistries which allow safe long-term transport of oxygen in a precursor form for on-site use as needed. A small 2 kg device was developed containing the means to react a 1000 cc cartridge of liquid hydrogen peroxide (30%) for titrated on/off production of 117 liters of oxygen at rates ranging from 350 cc/min to 6 liters/min. When depleted, the peroxide cartridge is replaced. When coupled with rebreathing circuits containing carbon dioxide absorbers and assuming oxygen utilization rates of 350–500 cc/min, adult casualties can be provided inspired concentrations of oxygen of over 50% for greater than 5 hours. These systems can be fitted to a variety of portable ventilators as well. In addition, tank-less position-independent bag versions weighing 1–2 kg have been created using compartmentalized bags allowing for solid peroxides and catalysts to be activated producing low pressure set quantities of oxygen per unit time (350 cc/min to 2 liters/min for an hour). This disposable system can also be fitted to masks and carbon dioxide rebreathing systems making it possible to inspire high concentrations of oxygen for prolonged periods of time.
Conclusion: The combination of stable peroxide chemistries as stored sources of oxygen when combined with novel delivery systems may offer unique means to provide oxygen administration in austere environments. This may offer advantages where traditional transport and storage of oxygen may be hazardous or logistically difficult.