Material and Process to increase Oxygen Concentrator Purity

  • Air Products
  • From United States
  • Responsive
  • Innovative Products and Technologies

Summary of the technology

Crystalline zeolites in oxygen concentrators have differential selectivity with respect to the gaseous components of air, making it possible to remove nitrogen, argon and other trace elements from the feed air to the PSA process. Current oxygen concentrator technologies utilize NaX, CaX or LiX zeolites to selectively remove nitrogen from feed air in the PSA process. With such adsorbents, oxygen product purity is limited to nominally 95% because argon is not removed and concentrates in the product gas.

The Air Products’ pressure swing adsorption process and silver-exchanged lithium-x zeolite combine to enable the selective, initial adsorption of nitrogen over oxygen and argon and subsequently, the selective adsorption of argon over oxygen.

Description of the technology

Air Products is offering for license a crystalline silver-exchanged lithium-X zeolite material and associated Pressure Swing Adsorption (PSA) process that enable production of gaseous oxygen at greater than 99% oxygen purity. By selectively removing argon, the offering enables production of high purity oxygen, a relevant challenge facing designers and suppliers of medical oxygen concentrator technology.


This process follows that of a typical pressure swing adsorption cyclic process with steps of adsorption, depressurization, evacuation, purge and repressurization. As seen in the figure, the inlet air stream is compressed and passed through a first zeolite, which selectively removes nitrogen from air. This nitrogen-depleted stream next passes through the silver-exchanged lithium-X zeolite, which preferentially removes argon. The highly enriched oxygen product gas collects into a storage tank and is ultimately inhaled by the user through a nasal cannula or mask. The evacuation step consists of the countercurrent venting of nitrogen and argon. In addition to enabling production of a high purity oxygen product, the use of the silver-exchanged lithium-X zeolite also removes trace undesirable feed air contaminants introduced to the PSA. Furthermore, silver zeolites exhibit antimicrobial properties which can reduce contaminants in the oxygen product.

Main advantages of its use

  • Compatible with commercial PSA equipment
  • Contaminant removal can reduce exposure to deleterious trace impurities for patients with compromised respiratory capability. (Note (1): Smokers are common users of oxygen concentrators and have heightened risk of lung cancer with radon exposure)
  • Enables production of high purity ( > 99 vol%) oxygen product
  • Expands oxygen concentrator product line
  • Layer of silver-exchanged lithium-X zeolite works in combination with traditional adsorbents used for selective adsorption of nitrogen over oxygen and argon.
  • Lithium-X zeolite material and associated Pressure Swing Adsorption (PSA) processes are compatible with equipment components used in the field.
  • Offers oxygen concentrator manufacturers a high end, differentiated product.
  • Prolonged usage of oxygen concentrators can promote buildup of bacteria within the device. Silver-exchanged lithium-X zeolite exhibits antimicrobial properties.
  • Provides antimicrobial capability
  • Reduces trace ambient air impurities passing through conventional oxygen concentrators into product oxygen
  • Silver-exchanged lithium-X zeolites remove radon, carbon monoxide and ambient Volatile Organic Compounds.


  • Medical oxygen concentrators

Additional information (attached documents)

Attached documents

Related Keywords

  • Industrial Technologies
  • Physical Sciences and Exact Sciences
  • Biological Sciences
  • Hospital and other institutional management (including management services and leasing)
  • Rescue and emergency equipment
  • Laboratory equipment
  • Oxygen concentrator
  • Oxygen purity
  • PSA process
  • Zeolite material

About Air Products

Air Products (NYSE:APD) is a world-leading Industrial Gases company in operation for over 75 years. The Company’s core industrial gases business provides atmospheric and process gases and related equipment to manufacturing markets, including refining and petrochemical, metals, electronics, and food and beverage. Air Products is also the world’s leading supplier of liquefied natural gas process technology and equipment.

The Company had fiscal 2016 sales of $7.5 billion from continuing operations in 50 countries and has a current market capitalization of approximately $30 billion. Approximately 16,000 employees are making Air Products the world’s safest and best performing industrial gases company, providing sustainable offerings and excellent service to all customers.

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