Wednesday, August 10, 2022

COVID-19: Govt tells CPCB to identify industries where nitrogen plants can be modified to produce oxygen

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New Delhi: Considering the COVID-19 pandemic situation and to further augment the availability of oxygen for medical purposes in the country, the Central government has asked the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), which has a comprehensive database of industrial units, to identify the industries having spare nitrogen plants and explore the feasibility of modifying existing Nitrogen plants to produce oxygen. The CPCB, with the help of the State Pollution Control Boards (SPCBs), have identified potential industries wherein existing Nitrogen generation plants may be spared for the production of oxygen. Consultations have been held with potential industrial units and experts.

About 30 industries have been identified, and efforts have begun to modify nitrogen plants for the production of medical oxygen to address the crisis of oxygen availability for COVID-19 patients. Some of these plants can be shifted to nearby hospitals for supplying oxygen and some plants, where it is not feasible to shift the plants, can produce oxygen on-site.

UPL Ltd converted one 50 Nm3/hr capacity Nitrogen plant to produce oxygen using Zeolite Molecular Sieve, and installed it at LG Rotary Hospital, Vapi (Gujarat). This plant is producing 0.5 ton/day of Oxygen and is operational since April 27. UPL Ltd is also under the process of conversion of three more plants. On conversion to oxygen plants, these plants will be installed at hospitals in Surat and Ankaleshwar.

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In the existing nitrogen plants, replacing Carbon Molecular Sieve (CMS) with Zeolite Molecular Sieve (ZMS) and few other changes such as installation of oxygen analyzer, change in control panel system, flow valves etc, oxygen for medical use can be produced. With the availability of ZMS, such a modified plant can be set up in 4-5 days while installation of a new oxygen plant may take a minimum of 3-4 weeks.

Oxygen produced in on-site plants has to be compressed and filled in cylinders/special vessels using a high-pressure compressor for transporting to hospitals. Facilitation is being provided to these industries for completion of work at the earliest.

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