The consultancy was appointed to the project in December 2009 through the Ministry of Defence’s Centre for Defence Enterprise programme, according to CDP consutlant Stephen Lamb. The consultancy was awarded a research contract to develop a response to the challenge of supplying oxygen to the frontline.
Lamb says the current method of getting oxygen to frontline casualties uses pressurised oxygen cylinders, which are very heavy and potentially explosive. He says, ‘[This means that] despite strong evidence emerging that forward oxygen deployment can improve survival rates after blast injury, casualties are usually without oxygen before being evacuated by helicopter.’
Lamb says the main challenge involved with the project was designing a generator that was light enough to carry, but which still had sufficient power to generate oxygen. He says this led CDP to develop a generator based around a diesel engine, rather than heavier battery-powered packs.
He says, ‘Diesel is much more energy-dense than batteries and can be scavenged if necessary from ground-based vehicles or local sources.’
The prototype system has been unveiled at the MoD’s CDE showcase in London, and Lamb says CDP’s aim is to make the generator even smaller and lighter. He says the aim is to use the system in a battlefield trial in the next 15 months and adds that the system could be used in other fields, such as humanitarian disasters or search-and-rescue situations.