Announcing our new Research & Development Funding for oxygen concentrators

This year, for the first time ever, there will be fit-for-purpose oxygen concentrators in the world.

Nick Moore
Better Futures CoLab
7 min readJan 10, 2024


The Oxygen CoLab, funded by UK International Development, has spent the last three years working with partners from around the world to accelerate global access to oxygen in low-resource-settings.

To realise the full potential of oxygen concentrators, we are investing in improving products for low-resource settings, developing wrap-around service models which keep concentrators working in health facilities, and helping governments and companies adopt these models effectively.

Today we are proud to share the work we’ve been doing to date focussed on improving products for low resource settings, and what we are doing next.

In 2021 the FCDO collaborated with UNICEF on industry conversations in order to develop UNICEF’s Target Product Profile (TPP), a set of requirements for the oxygen concentrator appropriate for low resource settings. We have since been working closely with UNICEF as they have launched an Advanced Purchase Commitment (APC) to further shape the “supply” side of this TPP-ready oxygen concentrator market. We provided catalytic grant funding to manufacturers committed for their products to become TPP-ready.

Now, ahead of UNICEF’s Advanced Purchase Commitment (APC), we are delighted to announce our second tranche of R&D funding. We have awarded Drive DeVilbiss Healthcare and Kröber Medizintechnik with grants to support their research towards establishing next generation, TPP-aligned, products targeted at UNICEF’s APC.

These two leading manufacturers are pushing the boundaries of concentrator performance in order to ensure they can operate effectively in low resource and/or extreme environments such as those prone to dust, heat, and frequent power outages. In turn we hope they will be a reliable source of oxygen in remote health centres, conflict affected communities and more.

We can’t wait to see what this funding unlocks both for those that will benefit from increased access to oxygen, as well as those making oxygen purchasing decisions across the globe.

Over the coming months we’ll share the results of this work and engage the sector in conversation to further product innovation across the board, so stay tuned! In the meantime find out a little more about what these two brilliant product innovators are doing below:

Drive DeVilbiss Healthcare

Tell us about you

Drive DeVilbiss Healthcare, one of the world’s leading manufacturers and suppliers of respiratory, rehabilitation, mobility, and homecare products, has led the world in respiratory innovation since its founding in 1888. Today, it serves more than 100 countries with oxygen concentrators, nebulizers, and other respiratory equipment engineered and manufactured in its Pennsylvania, USA facility.

Sanrai International is an innovative medical device supplier focused on the emerging markets with offices in Latin America, Africa, the Middle East, and South Asia. With an emphasis on training, service, support, and education, Sanrai ensures that patients all over the world have access to best in world medical devices.

Drive DeVilbiss and Sanrai partnered to develop the world’s first Fit for Purpose oxygen concentrator designed to be used in low-resource hospital settings. The PulmO2 is energy efficient, resilient, and adapted to a clinical environment.

Tell us about the new product

An image of two PulmO2 oxygen concentrators on a workshop table surrounded by tools.
Drive DeVilbiss’ new PulmO2 oxygen concentrators.

Drive DeVilbiss and Sanrai are pleased to launch the PulmO2, a new, energy efficient 10 litre oxygen concentrator. For the first time ever, an oxygen device is being designed focused on clinical requirements in challenging healthcare environments. The PulmO2 is solar friendly and easy to use with information directly on the unit, including a control panel developed with input from clinicians. It is robust with unique features to preserve the life of critical components. It will be commercially available in 2024.

What is the CoLab funding unlocking?

The Oxygen CoLab funding will be used to thoroughly investigate and improve the usability of this new concentrator. The environment the PulmO2 is designed for is quite different from the environment that concentrators have typically been designed for. As such, this funding will enable Drive DeVilbiss and Sanrai to get feedback from clinicians and biomedical engineers in Ghana and Malawi. This feedback will be incorporated into the final design and final features of the product. By hearing directly from users in low-resource settings, the ultimate product will be significantly improved.

Four biomedical enginners looking at two PulmO2 concentrators
User testing of the PulmO2 concentrators by biomedical engineers in Ghana.

What’s going to come next?

Once the product development is complete, the next phase is product deployment and evidence generation. Oxygen concentrators have the power to enable patients at the furthest reaches of the health system to have access to medical oxygen. The PulmO2 will have a lower lifetime cost of ownership and will be much easier to use and repair in the field. Our goal is to ensure all patients have medical oxygen when they need it, wherever they live.

Kröber Medizintechnik

Tell us about you

Kröber Medizintechnik GmbH is a family-owned enterprise that has been dedicated to the design, production, and distribution of medical devices for respiratory therapy since its inception in 1981. With nearly a decade of experience in collaborating with diverse non-profit organisations in tandem with Low and Middle-Income Country (LMIC) governments, we have acquired a comprehensive understanding of the specific demands that oxygen concentrators must meet in resource-scarce settings.

Tell us about the new product

A digital render of an OxyLink 10 oxygen concentrator.
Render of an OxyLink 10 oxygen concentrator.

It is with great pride that Kröber produces the OxyLink series — a family of certified, durable oxygen concentrators designed for application in Lower and Middle Income Countries (LMICs). The roots of the product range stem from our collaboration with MedTech experts from the University of Melbourne with the FREO2 team, a charity dedicated to delivering consistent and reliable oxygen services to those who currently lack them due to the environment in which they live. They brought our awareness to the pressing need for more robust oxygen concentrators that can withstand issues such as dust, humidity and power outages. Working closely with these professionals and non-governmental organisations in the field, we have tailored the OxyLink range to more effectively meet the critical requirements.

Kröber commenced development of the OxyLink 10 concentrator in November 2020 as an increased capacity version of the original 5 LPM OxyLink. The update of the UNICEF Target Product Profile in April 2022, now represents an opportunity to refine the design of the OxyLink 10 concentrator, to better align with the needs of UNICEF.

What is the CoLab funding unlocking?

The team has identified the requirement for Oxylink 10 to feature integrated power protection aligned with World Health Organisation standards for voltage stabilisers. This requires the integration of previously complementary devices and represents a new element to include in our existing OxyLink product architecture.

This funding also allows Kröber to access specialists to implement sophisticated filtration management, including automatic “dedusting” technologies to reduce the need for user maintenance; and to refine techniques to build moisture and temperature resilience, all critical to ensuring a fit-for-purpose low resource setting concentrator.

Finally, this funding enables Kröber to undertake “accelerated life-time testing”, this means they will be able to simulate the years of usage that the OxyLink 10 is likely to see in its lifetime. This will provide our users of the device such as clinicians and bio-technicians with confidence that the OxyLink 10 won’t just function when it arrives, but will reliably continue to function for the years to come in the most demanding settings.

An image of the internal components of a prototype OxyLink 10 oxygen concentrator.
The OxyLink 10 Prototype undergoing testing.

What’s going to come next?

From here the team is focused on making these products commercially ready. This includes:

  • Working with suppliers to plan and prepare for full scale production.
  • Validating and producing parts for initial testing to make sure we can hit the right level of quality,
  • Updating the OxyLink 10s existing certifications ahead of rollout of the first production units.

Kröber stands committed to the pursuit of excellence, innovation, and collaborative progress. Our unwavering dedication to advancing healthcare solutions resonates through our product offerings and strategic initiatives, with the ultimate aim of positively impacting global health outcomes; the OxyLink 10 will be our keystone offering in ensuring the future of reliable access to oxygen for all.

Scaling these new products beyond this phase

We are committed to ensuring that this investment supports the global efforts in progress towards greater oxygen access in low resource settings and we know that for this to be successful, we must support and influence governments to purchase this equipment through UNICEF’s APC and beyond, supporting their successful implementation.

Through our work developing Oxygen-as-a-Service, and building a practical evidence base of use cases for it, our ambition is to catalyse a buyer transition from capex purchasing to opex that could ensure vendor accountability through Oxygen-as-a-service business models, as well as a global consensus on the optimal use cases for fit-for-purpose concentrators delivered through Oxygen-as-a-Service.

Follow us and learn from this work

We hope that you can see why we’re so excited about these two grantees and their pioneering work! We welcome you to follow our journey over the next few months when we’ll be:

  • Hosting showcases of each grantee’s work,
  • Sharing insights about what our grantees have discovered through research and development,
  • Supporting connections between these manufacturers and other innovators to share learning.

If you are someone also developing innovative oxygen equipment you can get directly involved with our Innovator Engagement; our mission to find and support the next generation of oxygen innovation. Find out more and connect with us here.

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This project is funded with UK International Development from the UK government.

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