Skip to Content
Find More Like This
Return to Search

Method to Generate Oxygen-Rich Gas from Air Using Water

National Energy Technology Laboratory

Contact NETL About This Technology

Technology Marketing Summary

Research is active on the patent pending technology titled, "A Method of Generating O2-rich Gas from Air Using Water." This technology is available for licensing and/or further collaborative research from the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Energy Technology Laboratory.


Gas enrichment is often required in industrial operations to enhance efficiency but current techniques can be costly. Integrated gasification combined cycle (IGCC) technologies, for instance, are capable of generating power with high efficiency by producing heat and synthesis gas (H2 and CO) using Oxygen (O2)-rich gas, water, and carbon feedstock. While the water and carbon feedstock can be acquired by traditional means, the O2-rich gas requires significant expenditures of energy to produce, which lowers the overall gasification process efficiency.

This invention describes a simple and cost-effective method of obtaining O2-rich gas by dissolving air into water, which acts as an oxygen-carrying medium. Air (approximately 78 percent by volume of nitrogen and 21 percent by volume of oxygen) is continually injected into water and released in a unique configuration, causing the concentration of O2to become enriched with each cycle. These cycles take place in sub-units that each house two chambers which recycle the water between themselves. This process is repeated through a total of six sub-units until the O2 composition reaches 96 percent—on par with the more energy-intensive cryogenic technology that generates 95 percent purity oxygen.

If a higher percent purity of oxygen is required, two more sub-units can be added to the process to generate 99 volume percent O2 purity. Each sub-unit requires the same amount of energy to operate, so total energy cost is expected to be proportional to the required O2 purity.

The successful integration of this method into industrial processes would reduce the energy, environmental burden, and cost required to produce O2-rich gas, which would increase overall efficiency of industrial operations such as IGCC.

  • Generates up to 99 percent pure O2 using only water and air
  • Recycles the water used in the process because it is not "consumed"
  • Eliminates the need for complex, expensive, and energy-intensive processes
  • Allows O2 generation at ambient temperatures
  • Eliminates the need for a water removal pretreatment in IGCC technologies
  • Decreases time needed to created O2-rich gas
Applications and Industries
  • IGCC Gasifiers
  • Oxy-fuel combustion plants
  • Smelting plants (e.g. basic oxygen furnace, convertor, blast furnace)
  • Oxygen separation for other commercial purposes
  • Other operations that require oxygen rich gas
  • Operations that need oxygen deficient gas
More Information

U.S. Patent No. 9,878,280 issued January 30, 2018 titled, "A Method of Generating O2-rich Gas from Air Using Water."

Inventors: Anna Nakano, Jinichiro Nakano, and James P. Bennett

Patents and Patent Applications
ID Number
Title and Abstract
Primary Lab
Patent 9,878,280
Method for generating O.sub.2-rich gas from air using water
The present disclosure is directed to a method for enriching an inlet air stream utilizing a number of enrichment sub-units connected in series, where each enrichment sub-unit conducts both a dissolution and degasification cycle. Each enrichment sub-unit comprises a compressor, an aeration unit, a deaeration unit, and a pump for the recirculation of water between the aeration and deaeration units. The methodology provides a manner in which the relationship between the respective Henry's coefficients of the oxygen and nitrogen in water may be exploited to enrich the O.sub.2 volume percent and diminish the N.sub.2 volume percent over repeated dissolution and degasification cycles. By utilizing a number of enrichment sub-units connected in series, the water contained in each enrichment sub-unit acts to progressively increase the O.sub.2 volume percent. Additional enrichment sub-units may be added and utilized until the O.sub.2 volume percent equals or exceeds a target O.sub.2 volume percent. In a particular embodiment, air having a general composition of about 78 vol. % N.sub.2 and 21 vol. % O.sub.2 is progressively enriched to provide a final mixture of about 92% vol. % O.sub.2 and 8% vol. % N.sub.2.
U.S. Department of Energy 01/30/2018
Technology Status
Development StageAvailabilityPublishedLast Updated

Contact NETL About This Technology

To: Jessica Lamp<>