FREO2’s research responds to a critical global challenge - supplying a continuous flow of medical grade oxygen to communities in low resource settings.
FREO2 Group's research is focused on the continuous reliable supply of oxygen therapy as a medical treatment for a wide range of respiratory illnesses, including pneumonia, the largest infectious killer of children under 5 world-wide. Pneumonia is considered the "forgotten killer", the leading infectious killer worldwide, killing 2.6 million people in 2017. Oxygen is a proven and extremely cost-effective intervention reducing the rate of mortality significantly. The group’s research focus is low resource settings that don’t have a reliable supply of electricity.
The suite of FREO2 technology innovations are developed specifically for low resource countries where unreliable electricity resulting in disruption to continuous source of oxygen is common.
- Low pressure oxygen storage and delivery technology for facilities with intermittent electricity supply.
- Solar powered oxygen concentration for regional health facilities
- Oxygen systems which can run using a car’s DC power system during transport to a regional health facility.
Following the successful completion of a clinical trial in Uganda in 2018, the FREO2 Group have now successfully treated hundreds of children with pneumonia, providing medical grade oxygen reliably during numerous, extended power outages.
The team have been awarded multiple internationally competitive grants from prestigious organisations, including the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Planet Wheeler Foundation and USAID. Other recognition includes winning the Eureka Prize for the Innovative use of Technology, Australia’s pre-eminent scientific award, and being a Top 12 Finalist in the Macquarie 50th Anniversary Global Award.
The work of the FREO2 Group has also been generously supported by more than 1,300 donors to the University of Melbourne, who share the team's vision to further develop this important technology. Find out more.
Roger Rassool leads the FREO2 Group. He is an Associate Professor in the School of Physics and former Director of the Australian Center for Accelerator Science. He has a PhD in Nuclear Physics, which he obtained from the University of Melbourne working in collaboration with Tohoku University, Sendai, Japan. He is co-inventor of FREO2 technology, and a board member of the FREO2 Foundation.
The FREO2 Foundation’s vision is for every health facility in low resource settings that cares for in-patients to have oxygen. It was established in 2016 to focus on the implementation and distribution of the FREO2 technology in low middle income countries. In 2018 it introduced a social business model to sustainably supply the technology in country in Sub Saharan Africa.