The Anonymous Widower

NHS Procurement

I first had knowledge of government procurement in the 1970s! Then it was defence procurement, which was shambolic!

Nothing appears to have changed.

Perhaps, we should ask Tesco or Screwfix to source PPE and PCWorld to source ventilators?

April 16, 2020 Posted by | Business, Health | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Big London Hospital Was Close To Running Out Of Oxygen

The title of this post is the same as this article on  The Times.

With COVID-19 and all those ventilators and CPAP devices, this sounds like a tragedy about to unfold.

I also remembered a story told to me by a friend, who used to be the Chief Pharmacist at a London hospital.

Oxygen was one of their problems, as the tanks were in a small yard with gates opening on to a busy street, about two hundred metres, away from the hospital.

The problem was that illegal parkers would block the gates, so that delivery couldn’t be made.

Knowing my physics and the reliability of deliveries in parts of London, I thought on-site electrolysis might be a better idea. So I consulted my bible.

There on page 760, it is all described how water can be split into two molecules of hydrogen and one of oxygen by electrolysis.

ITM Power are the experts on electrolysis, so I sent them an e-mail and asked if they could make an electrolyser, that produced oxygen instead of hydrogen.

The reply came swiftly and confirmed, that they could make an electrolyser that supplied oxygen. They also said, that the oxygen was of a high purity.

Just Connect Electricity And Tap Water

All these electrolysers would need is supplies of electricity and tap water to create hydrogen and/or oxygen.

No trucks would be needed to deliver tonnes of liquid gases, which can be rather dangerous to move around city streets.

ITM Power’s hydrogen electrolysers are starting to appear in filling stations, so they can refuel hydrogen-powered vehicles.

One could be installed in a hospital to provide a continuous stream of pure oxygen, which could be piped into the current oxygen delivery system.

What To Do With The Hydrogen

The hydrogen electrolysers produce oxygen as a by-product, which I suspect is just vented to the atmosphere!

But you can’t vent large amounts of hydrogen to the atmosphere, as it is an inflammable gas!

However, you could do either of the following options.

  1. Connect it to a hydrogen fuel pump to refuel hydrogen vehicles.
  2. Inject the hydrogen into the gas main, as is regularly done with hydrogen produced by surplus renewable electricity.

I prefer the first option, as it could mean that health-care could start to use hydrogen-powered ambulances, that are zero carbon and pollution-free.

Perhaps not an appropriate saying for the industry, but it would genuinely kill two birds with one stone.

 

 

 

April 3, 2020 Posted by | Health, Transport | , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Coronavirus: Mercedes F1 To Make Breathing Aid

The title of this post is the same as that of this article on the BBC.

This is the introductory paragraph.

A breathing aid that can help keep coronavirus patients out of intensive care has been created in under a week.

From reading the article it appears that engineers from University College London, clinicians at University College Hospital and production engineers and specialists at Mercedes Formula One have combined to re-engineer and hopefully improve something called a Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) device, which is already used in hospitals and has been used in China and Italy to combat the virus.

The new design would appear to have advantages.

  • It doesn’t need an expensive ventilator.
  • It doesn’t need an intensive care bed.
  • From the pictures and video on a BBC Breakfast report, it looks to be quick and easy to manufacturer.
  • A production rate of a thousand a day is claimed by Mercedes.
  • The BBC Breakfast report also says, that patients don’t need to be sedated.
  • It also looks like the NHS is going to fast-rack the device into use.

Will this rethinking of standard treatment increase hospital capacity and save lives?

I can’t answer the question, but given those behind the device, it must have a better than even chance of being a success!

March 30, 2020 Posted by | Health | , , , | 5 Comments

Ventilators On Click

Click, the BBC’s technology program has just shown an item about ventilator development.

They showed a picture of the dyson machine and video of several others.

  • One created its own oxygen.
  • One was designed for developing countries.
  • One was designed to be a minimal size.
  • One was designed to be 3D printed.
  • One cost around five hundred euros.

Developments were also from several countries in addition to the UK, including Canada, France and Spain,

I think the world is on a path to get enough ventilators.

The program will be repeated in BBC Breakfast tomorrow!

March 28, 2020 Posted by | Health | , , , | Leave a comment

A Comment On The Dyson Ventilator

This comment was posted on this article in The Times talking about ventilators.

I work in ITU- I’m with the dyson option. Ventilators are mostly large cumbersome things complicated devices…. if he delivers in time I have no doubt they’ll be great…& maybe better than what we have now…

We have to assume it’s a genuine comment.

Note that the article gives a good description of a ventilator and how it works. As an engineer, it doesn’t seem to be the most complicated piece of equipment.

Think over the last two hundred years how many radical redesigns of common products have been made, that have changed markets.

  • George Stephenson and the railway.
  • Frank Whittle and the jet engine.
  • Alexander Graham Bell and the telephone
  • Alec Issigonis and the Mini
  • Trevor Baylis and the wind-up radio and wind-up torch.
  • James Dyson and the vacuum cleaner.
  • Transistors and integrated circuits have taken over from electronic valves.
  • Mini computers have taken over from mainframes.
  • Flat screens have taken over from cathode ray tubes
  • On-line systems like auctions. banking and peer-to-peer lending.
  • High speed rail is taking over from short distance flights.

We can all nominate our favourite examples of disruptive innovation.

James Dyson and his team have probably looked at the current design of ventilator and concluded that it is complicated, expensive to make and difficult to use and have come up with a better design, that can be built quickly and easily in large numbers.

 

March 27, 2020 Posted by | Health | , , | 2 Comments

Government Orders 10,000 Ventilators From Dyson

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on the BBC,

It may seem strange to some, that the government has turned to a vacuum cleaner manufacturer to build high-tech medical equipment for the NHS.

But.

  • Look at the quality of the parts on your Dyson vacuum, where they all fit tightly together.
  • I suspect that some of the principles about air-flow in a vacuum, apply to a ventilator.
  • Advanced manufacturing has progressed a lot in recent years and it should be one of Dyson’s strengths.

The BBC are reporting that Dyson is working with The Technology Partnership, an innovation company based in Cambridge.

March 26, 2020 Posted by | Health | , , , | 3 Comments