Mobile Medical Care in Crises and Emergencies (Demo-medVer Project)

Mobile, distributed systems that provide medical care to the public can be a crucial addition to the existing healthcare infrastructure in the event of crises and catastrophes, such as the current Corona pandemic.

Six Fraunhofer Institutes under the lead management of the Fraunhofer IFF in Magdeburg are developing a modular system for mobile distributed medical care in the Demo-medVer project: All of the complete system’s components are modularized, closely interconnected, and complementary. A functional prototype is intended to be built by the end of 2021.

© Fraunhofer IFF

Mobile Hospitals for Emergency Medical Care

The current pandemic is revealing our healthcare infrastructure’s vulnerability. Patient medical care is experiencing bottlenecks and scheduled operations are being put off to provide sufficient capacities to admit COVID-19 patients.

Modular medical systems that can be used flexibly, are quick to set up and dismantle, and are immediately operational can bolster the effectiveness of medical care and increase admission capability even outside standard hospitals.

Minihospital with Energy Self-Sufficiency

Since a reliable and readily available supply of power and heat is a basic prerequisite for the operation of a mobile hospital, the development of energy self-sufficiency is one of the most important component parts of the joint Demo-medVer project.

Renewables are the key to reliable supply. An innovative hybrid design combining photovoltaic systems, an electrolyzer and fuel cells produces power and heat. An energy management system makes smart decisions about actions to guarantee the mobile medical unit is supplied reliably. Whenever not all these systems are required to supply a mobile minihospital, they are an emergency power backup system for a standard hospital.

Standardized Modular System for Different Medical Needs

The research scientists in the Demo-medVer project have opted for a modular design for the system’s technical implementation. This will make the individual components of the modular system custom combinable based on the requirements of the country of operation (developed, newly industrialized or developing countries), the reason for use (pandemic, environmental disaster, meteorological disaster) and the emergency response organization (THW, fire department, emergency medical services, Doctors Without Borders, universal healthcare), and the infrastructure on hand (power, water, gas, heat).

P2MedCon Subproject: Mobile Power-to-X Supply System#

The development work of the team of researcher scientists from the Fraunhofer IFF includes the development and sizing of the complete design as well as product design.

The Fraunhofer IFF team has opted for power-to-X (P2X) technologies to supply the mobile medical system. The research scientists are developing a modularized P2X systems container: An adapted electrolyzer will produce hydrogen and oxygen and fuel cells will convert hydrogen into power. Both the oxygen produced and the waste heat from the electrolyzer and fuel cells can be reused in the modular system.

Commercially available mobile intensive care hospital rooms will be modified for the medical container for use in the P2X design’s infrastructure.

The Fraunhofer IFF will successively implement and test the supply technologies in the systems container.

The medical container’s interfaces will be interconnected anew by integrating the P2X system.

Project information#

Project title

Demo-medVer: Distributed Mobile Medical Care (joint project)

Keywords

medical care, mobile hospital, pop-up hospital, mobile hospital room, energy self-sufficient patient care, energy self-sufficient hospital room

Project Funding

The Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft’s internal “Fraunhofer vs. Corona” program, funding code: Anti-Corona 840267.