Using innovation to save lives and alleviate suffering.

Sustainable off-grid oxygen concentration with direct solar power (SOX)

Sustainable off-grid oxygen concentration with direct solar power (SOX)
@ Per-Erik Eriksson

Oxygen is a lifesaving therapy for children, neonates as well as adults with pneumonia and hypoxia. The availability of medical grade concentrated oxygen is however extremely limited in most low-resource health systems. In many MSF projects, it is a central therapy for life-saving medical care and the use of oxygen concentrators is increasing exponentially. Since the concentrators consume a lot of energy, this is now the primary energy consumer in many projects, which also contribute to logistical challenges.

Solar power solutions in the field have existed for a long time but have often been difficult to implement and scale up because of the weakest component in the systems – the batteries. This project explores the area with most potential to address a clear need (oxygen provision, especially in remote settings) that has the highest potential to use an established yet under explored solution (solar power) – as concentrated oxygen can be produced and stored during the day, thereby eliminating the major need for batteries in MSF hospitals. By developing a good yet simple system, we can minimise risks and lower the threshold of production, control and usage of oxygen so it can be used also by persons with limited technical skills.

The primary objective of the current project is to survey available equipment on the market and assemble and evaluate potential candidate equipment for a prototype system under controlled conditions at an MSF test facility in Europe in order to verify the the required parameters.


Initiation Development Implementation
Ongoing Upcoming Not started
A background research has been carried out to map ingoing initiatives in and outside MSF and to identify the potential available equipment for a prototype. In parallell, the oxygen needs of a typical OCA field hospital has been analysed to determine an appropriate capacity for the prototype. The solar energy system has been set up at Espace Bruno Corbé in Brussels for the prototype testing in Q2 2017.

Case Owner:

Operational Centre Amsterdam, Logistics Department


The Sapling Nursery Fund