Minnesota Patent of the Month – August 2022

There are numerous diseases and conditions that leave those afflicted short of breath and unable to get enough oxygen. These patients often need to bring around their own tank of oxygen to prevent any long-term effects of oxygen deficiency. Oxygen concentrators are one such treatment option and offer both at-home and on-the-go treatment.  

As the name suggests, an oxygen concentrator uses the ambient air to create a concentrated source of oxygen for the patient. One of their major drawbacks is the need for gas cylinders which need to be specially cared for and regularly replaced. 

VBox Inc. has designed a removable cartridge for oxygen concentrators to make oxygen treatment convenient for those who need it. This cartridge takes a different approach to oxygen concentration. Through a process of vacuum swing adsorption, the gasses from ambient air can be separated, filtering out nitrogen and sequestering oxygen. The small unit is easily transported thanks to its lightweight and compact design, without the safety concerns of a pressurized gas cylinder.

Vacuum swing adsorption involves a series of cycles including a feed step, evacuation step, and repressurization step. Each phase takes place in a separate column within the cylinder. Through this process, the concentrator can produce a stream of oxygenated gas with 85-95% concentration. The device meets, and even exceeds, the industry’s recommendations for portable oxygen supply:

  • Weighs less than 10 lbs;
  • Provides at minimum 2 liter/minute of continuous flow oxygen;
  • Maintains this flow rate for four hours at minimum.

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