‘Exploring feasibility of converting existing nitrogen plants to produce oxygen’

Joint Secy, Health Ministry

The Central government today said that around 1500 PSA oxygen generation plants are being developed.

Joint Secy, Health Ministry in an interaction with the media said that,”To increase availability of oxygen we’re working on converting nitrogen plants into oxygen plants. We’ve identified 14 industries with PSA nitrogen plants, 37 plants have also been identified.”

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday reviewed the progress of converting nitrogen plants to oxygen plants in the country.

Considering the requirement of medical oxygen amidst the COVID-19 pandemic situation, the Government of India explored the feasibility of conversion of existing nitrogen plants to produce oxygen.

“Various such potential industries, wherein existing nitrogen plants may be spared for the production of oxygen were identified,” informed the Prime Minister’s Office.

In a meeting with the Prime Minister in which Principal Secretary to PM, Cabinet Secretary, Home Secretary, Secretary Road Transport and Highways and other senior officials were in attendance, the process of converting the existing Pressure Swing Absorption (PSA) nitrogen plants for the production of oxygen was discussed.

It was also discussed that in nitrogen plants, Carbon Molecular Sieve (CMS) is used whereas Zeolite Molecular Sieve (ZMS) is required for producing oxygen. Therefore, by replacing CMS with ZMS and carrying out few other changes such as oxygen analyzer, control panel system, flow valves, etc. existing nitrogen plants can be modified to produce oxygen. On deliberation with the industries, so far 14 industries have been identified where conversion of plants is under progress. Further 37 Nitrogen plants have been also identified with the help of industry associations, the officials informed in the meeting.

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“A nitrogen plant modified for the production of oxygen can be either shifted to a nearby hospital or, in case it is not feasible to shift the plant, it can be used for on-site production of oxygen, which can be transported to the hospital through specialised vessels/cylinders.”

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