Production of Medical Oxygen from modified Industrial Nitrogen Plants
Modified Nitrogen plant to generate medical Oxygen, installed by M/s. UPL Ltd. at L GRotaryHospital, Vapi(Gujarat) | Source: Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change
Considering the COVID-19 pandemic situation and to further augment the availability of oxygen for medical purposes in the country, the Central Government had 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 converting of existing Nitrogen plants to produce oxygen. CPCB with the help of State Pollution Control Boards (SPCBs) has identified such potential industries, wherein existing Nitrogen generation plants may be spared for the production of oxygen. Consultation has 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. 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.
M/s UPL Ltd converted one 50 Nm3/hr capacity Nitrogen plant to produce oxygen using Zeolite Molecular Sieve and installed it at L G Rotary Hospital, Vapi(Gujarat). This plant is producing 0.5 ton/day of oxygen and is operational since 27.04.2021. UPL Ltd. is also in the process of conversion of three more plants. On conversion to oxygen plants, these plants will be installed at hospitals in Surat and Ankleshwar.
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.