To fulfill the sudden rise in demand for medical oxygen in India due to the uncontrolled increase in the number of COVID patients, the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has set up two oxygen plants in All India Institute of Medical Science Trauma Centre and Ram Manohar Lohia hospital in New Delhi. The oxygen plant has a flow rate of 1,000 liters per minute and can cater to 190 patients at a time. The plants have started supplying oxygen to these facilities from Wednesday, May 05, 2021 evening. DRDO plans to install five medical oxygen plants in Delhi and Haryana. Around 500 such plants funded by the PM-Cares fund will be set up all across the country, the additional director, directorate of the public interface has informed.
Though the government is doing what it can do to meet the rising demand for oxygen in India, it has also invited private firms to come out and set up their own oxygen generation plant.
It does not take much paperwork to start an oxygen plant. It can be started with a minimum investment of Rs 10-20 Lakhs. Primarily, there are two basic methods used by various industrialists to generate oxygen.
PSA (Pressure Swing Adsorption) Method
PSA method of oxygen generation involves the separation of nitrogen and other gases from the mixture of gases under high pressure to get pure oxygen. This method requires a set of machinery with two different vessels to separate the gases. It is one of the most preferred methods of industrial oxygen production used across the world. This method is primarily used by small-scale industries.
Fractional Distillation Method
It is another most popular of generating oxygen in industries. When compared to the PSA method, it is more efficient and provides high purity oxygen. In this method, first dust is removed from the air. After removing the dust, the air is compressed. It is then purified by separating gases like carbon dioxide, moisture. Then the air is liquefied by passing through heat exchangers to separate oxygen and nitrogen. Finally, oxygen is collected and purified for commercial grade purity through the process of distillation. This method is primarily used by large-scale industries to produce oxygen in large quantities with top quality.
Currently, the government is promoting private investment in the generation of oxygen under Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan.