ISRO-VSSC develops SHWAAS, oxygen concentrator to support India’s battle against COVID-19
Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC), which is the lead body of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) under the Department of Space (DOS), has developed an oxygen concentrator to save more lives across India during this deadly second wave of the coronavirus pandemic.
The Medical Oxygen Concentrator (MOC) – named SHWAAS – can deliver enriched level (>95%) of oxygen to support patients with respiratory illness or who are on oxygen therapy. The device enhances the oxygen gas content by selectively separating the nitrogen gas from ambient air through Pressure Swing Adsorption (PSA). SHWAAS is capable of supplying enriched oxygen continuously at the rate of 10 LPM, which is adequate for two patients at a time.
- Rated power: 600 Watt
- Operating voltage: 220 V/50 Hz
- Oxygen flow: 0.5 – 10 LPM (Controllable)
- No. of Oxygen Outlets: 2
- Oxygen concentration: 82 % minimum (95% nominal)
- Outlet Oxygen pressure: 50 – 80 kPa
- Alarm: Audible alarm for low purity, low & high levels of Pressure and Flow rate of Oxygen
- Noise: ≤ 60 dB
- Net weight: 42-44 kg
- Dimensions: 600 mm H x 500 mm L x 400 mm W
- LCD display: Oxygen Concentration, Flow rate, Pressure
PROJECT O2 for INDIA initiative facilitated by Office of the PSA
The second wave of COVID-19 saw an increase in demand for medical oxygen in different parts of the country. While meeting the current demand, manufacturing medical oxygen also became important to ensure adequate supply in the future. ‘Project O2 for India’ run by the Office of Principal Scientific Adviser, Government of India, is to enable stakeholders working to augment the country’s ability to meet this rise in demand for medical oxygen.
Under Project O2 for India, the National Consortium of Oxygen is enabling the national level supply of critical raw materials such as zeolites, setting up of small oxygen plants, manufacturing compressors, final products, i.e., oxygen plants, concentrators, and ventilators. The Consortium is not only looking forward to providing immediate to short-term relief but also working to strengthen the manufacturing ecosystem for long-term preparedness. A committee of experts has been evaluating critical equipment such as oxygen plants, concentrators, and ventilators from a pool of India-based manufacturers, start-ups, and MSMEs (in partnership with FICCI, MESA, etc.). The manufacturing and supply Consortium also includes Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL); Tata Consulting Engineers (TCE); C-CAMP, Bengaluru; IIT Kanpur (IIT-K); IIT Delhi (IIT-D); IIT Bombay (IIT-B), IIT Hyderabad (IIT-H); IISER, Bhopal; Venture Center, Pune; and more than 40 MSMEs
The Consortium has started to secure CSR/philanthropic grants from organizations like USAID, Edwards Life sciences Foundation, Climate Works Foundation, etc. Hope Foundation, American Indian Foundation, Hitachi, BNP Paribas, and eInfoChips are procuring oxygen concentrators and Vacuum Pressure Swing Adsorption/Pressure Swing Adsorption (VPSA/PSA) plants as part of their CSR efforts to aid the Consortium’s work. NMDC Ltd has agreed to fund the procurement of raw materials like zeolite for the manufacturers in the Consortium.
IIT Delhi collaborates with Delhi Government to improve oxygen infrastructure and supply chain management in Delhi
IIT Delhi has provided strategic recommendations to the Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi (GNCTD) for the improvement of oxygen infrastructure and supply chain management in Delhi.
A joint team consisting of experts from IIT Delhi and officials from the Delhi Government (Health, IT Department, etc.) analysed the issues, which were coming in the way of management of oxygen infrastructure within Delhi and developed practical solutions to resolve them to strengthen the fight against COVID-19. The joint team has submitted its report to the Hon’ble Delhi High Court on 28 May 2021. The objectives of this collaboration are
1. To analyse strategic issues of the oxygen infrastructure in Delhi and prepare a blueprint for the same;
2. To improve the current IT Portal and Dashboard created for oxygen management by Delhi Government and integrate technological solutions to improve the same; and
3. To plan to augment and create medical oxygen storage, production, and distribution in Delhi.
Website link: https://home.iitd.ac.in/show.php?id=34&in_sections=News
CPCB asked to identify nitrogen gas plants for conversion to produce medical grade oxygen
Considering the COVID-19 pandemic situation and to further augment availability of oxygen for medical purposes in the country, the Central Government had asked Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), which has 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, in coordination with State Pollution Control Boards (SPCBs), identified such potential industries, wherein existing nitrogen plants may be spared for production of oxygen. CPCB has discussed with nearly 500 industries having nitrogen plants and has identified about 60 industries, wherein existing nitrogen plants may be spared for producing oxygen, without affecting their normal operation.
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, can be used for on-site production of oxygen, which can be transported to hospital through cylinders.
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Government caps Trade Margin on oxygen concentrators
In view of the extraordinary circumstances arising due to the COVID pandemic that has resulted in recent volatility in Maximum Retail Prices (MRP) of oxygen concentrators, the Government has decided to step-in to regulate their price. As per information collected by the government, margin at the level of distributor currently ranges up to 198%.
By invoking extraordinary powers under Para 19 of the DPCO, 2013 in larger public interest National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) has capped the Trade Margin up to 70% on Price to Distributor (PTD) level on oxygen concentrators. Earlier, in February 2019, NPPA had successfully capped the Trade Margin on Anti-cancer Drugs. Based on the notified Trade Margin, NPPA has instructed the manufacturers/importers to report revised MRP within three days. Revised MRPs will be informed in public domain by NPPA.
Every retailer, dealer, hospital, and institution shall display price list as furnished by the manufacturer, on a conspicuous part of the business premises in a manner so as to be easily accessible to any person wishing to consult the same. The manufacturers/importers not complying with the revised MRP after Trade Margin capping shall be liable to deposit the overcharged amount along with interest @15% and penalty up to 100% under the provisions of the Drugs (Prices Control) Order, 2013 read with Essential Commodities Act, 1955. State Drug Controllers (SDCs) shall monitor the compliance of the order to ensure that no manufacturer, distributer, or retailer shall sell oxygen concentrators to any consumer at a price exceeding the revised MRP, to prevent instances of black-marketing.
The Order shall be applicable up to 30 November 2021, subject to review.
With the spurt in cases under the second wave of the pandemic in the country, demand for medical oxygen has gone up considerably. The Government is striving to ensure uninterrupted supply of oxygen and oxygen concentrators in adequate quantity in the country during the pandemic. Oxygen concentrator is a Non-Scheduled Drug and presently under voluntary licensing framework of Central Drugs Standard Control Organization (CDSCO). Its price is being monitored under the provisions of DPCO 2013.
Website link: https://pib.gov.in/PressReleasePage.aspx?PRID=1724330
Power Grid installs Oxygen Plant at District Hospital, Jaisalmer
Power Grid Corporation of India Limited (POWERGRID), a Maharatna CPSU under the Ministry of Power, Government of India installed an oxygen plant at District Hospital, Jaisalmer, which was inaugurated by Chief Minister of Rajasthan, Shri Ashok Gehlot. The plant has been built at an estimated cost of Rs. 1.11 crore under CSR initiative. The virtual ceremony was presided by Dr Raghu Sharma, Hon’ble Minister of Medical and Health, Medical Education, Ayurveda and DIPR, Government of Rajasthan in presence of state ministers, functionaries, and officials from POWERGRID.
The installed oxygen plant has a capacity of 850 l/minute, which will augment public health infrastructure of the state. The District Hospital had been functioning with about 30 oxygen beds, and with POWERGRID’s effort of installation of Oxygen plant, now all 200 beds are equipped with oxygen support, which shall benefit around 10 lakh people living in and around the Jaisalmer district.
Website link: https://pib.gov.in/PressReleasePage.aspx?PRID=1724432
Office of PSA calls for philanthropic funding for National Consortium of OXYGEN
Office of the Principal Scientific Adviser, Government of India calls for private sector companies, donor organizations and individuals to join India’s fight against COVID-19 by providing philanthropic funding to support the National Consortium of OXYGEN (O2 TO INDIA). The consortium is looking forward to providing immediate to short-term relief and working on building the manufacturing ecosystem and healthcare infrastructure for the long run.
These funds may be used for producing medical oxygen for various health facilities in India, including Army hospitals, Government hospitals and Charity hospitals through an initiative called ‘Project O2’. Medical oxygen is on high priority, so while companies are airlifting few supplies, we should be prepared for the pandemic that is expected to last for the next several years and 3rd and 4th waves are expected in the coming months. This needs immediate and short term ramp-up of our logistics as well as production capacities. This entails manufacturing raw material currently being imported from China and other places; some are delayed, and costs are unaffordable. There is a need to support the fast-paced evaluation of quality manufacturers, scale up their capacity, address logistics challenges, enable supplies to extended/make-shift hospitals, and strengthen R&D and innovation for future pandemics.
To execute this project, Office of the PSA is facilitating at the national level supply of critical raw materials such as zeolites, setting up small oxygen plants, manufacturing compressors and final products, quality oxygen cylinders, concentrators and ventilators. The manufacturing and supply consortium includes Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL), Electronic Corporation of India Limited (ECIL), Skanray Technologies, IIT Kanpur, C-CAMP Bengaluru, IIT Delhi, Venture Center Pune, IIT Bombay, IIT Hyderabad, IISER Bhopal and 40+ MSMEs.
A committee of key experts has been evaluating from a pool of Indian manufacturers, startups and MSMEs (in partnership with FICCI, MESA, etc.) producing medical oxygen and other critical equipment such as oxygen concentrators, ventilators and oxygen cylinders. A robust evaluation committee with both subject matter experts from IITs and manufacturing companies has been set up and it will be continuously evaluating the oxygen manufacturing companies on an on-going basis and adding to the consortium. Quality cannot be compromised, and hence this system has been put in place.
Simultaneously, a TCS logistics and inventory management portal has been provided pro bono to the office of the PSA for managing quality covid relief will be used.
Anyone could support the initiative by funding: 1) Research on variants and calibration of vaccines based on variants identified and 2) Start-ups, BEL, ECIL, MSMEs, Start-ups setting up and manufacturing oxygen equipment, extension hospitals by placing advance orders directly.
Office of the PSA aims to facilitate providing proposals approved by an expert committee and/or one can also fund the PSUs directly as they have 45 MSMEs under their supply chain.
Operation Samudra Setu II – Indian Navy’s relentless effort to fight COVID-19
Operation Samudra Setu-II was launched by the Indian Navy for shipment of medical Oxygen-filled cryogenic containers and associated medical equipment from various countries in support of the nation’s fight against COVID-19. The deployment of frontline warships including destroyers, frigates, tankers and amphibious ships of the Indian Navy for Operation Samudra Setu-II forms a significant part of the multiple lines of efforts, by the GoI and the Indian Navy to supplement the oxygen requirement in the country.
As part of the operation, INS Shardul embarked 270 Metric Tonnes (MT) of liquid medical oxygen from Kuwait and UAE including 11 International Standardisation Organisation (ISO) containers, two semi-trailers and 1200 oxygen cylinders. The ship arrived at New Mangalore Port on 25 May 2021 and disembarked 190 MT of liquid medical oxygen comprising seven ISO containers, two semi-trailers and 1200 Oxygen cylinders.
An amphibious ship capable of carrying troops, armoured tanks, vehicles and armament for amphibious operations, INS Shardul is a versatile platform. It is also capable of undertaking Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief operations. The ship attached to the First Training Squadron of the Indian Navy based at Kochi has actively participated in multiple humanitarian relief operations by the Indian Navy in the recent past. These include transhipment of 600 MT of rice to Antsiranana, Madagascar as humanitarian aid in March 2020 and repatriation of 233 Indian citizens from Iran during the first wave of COVID-19 pandemic in June 2020, as part of Operation Samudra Setu-I, by the Indian Navy.
Deployment of INS Shardul for Operation Samudra Setu-II demonstrates the commitment and resolve of the Southern Naval Command and the Indian Navy to support the countrymen in the battle against COVID-19 in line with the spirit of ‘Har Kaam Desh Ke Naam’.
Indian Navy Provides ‘Oxygen on Wheels’ to Palasa COVID Care Centre
Receiving a request from the Srikakulam District Collector Shri J Niwas, the Indian Navy provided on ‘Oxygen on Wheels’ plant to Palasa COVID Care Centre on 25 May 2021. The ‘Oxygen on Wheels’ designed by Naval Dockyard was formally inaugurated at the Palasa, Covid Care Centre by Shri Seediri Appalaraju, Hon’ble Minister of Animal Husbandry & Dairy Development & Fisheries, in the presence of Sub Collector Shri Suraj Ganore and the Naval Team.
The ‘Oxygen on Wheels’ has been connected up with the Oxygen pipeline in the Covid Health Care Centre at Palasa by a team of specialists from Naval Dockyard Visakhapatnam and it provides oxygen round the clock for up to 12 patients admitted in the hospital. The team has also trained hospital staff in the operation of the plant.
‘Oxygen on Wheels’ is a unique initiative launched by the Naval Dockyard wherein a PSA Oxygen Plant was integrated on a mobile platform to serve remote hospitals and was formally launched at Visakhapatnam by Vice Adm. AB Singh, Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief, ENC on 20 May 2021.
ISERB and TDB jointly announce special call on critical components and innovations in oxygen concentrators
For details, refer to page no. 8
Invest India calls start-ups and entrepreneurs to strengthen India’s fight against COVID-19, including supply of Medical Oxygen
For details, refer to page no. 9
Oxygen Recycling System designed by Indian Navy to mitigate current oxygen crisis
Amidst the second wave of COVID-19, the Diving School of the Southern Naval Command of the Indian Navy has conceptualised and designed an 'Oxygen Recycling System' (ORS) to alleviate the existing oxygen (O2) shortages. The Diving School has expertise in this area as the basic concept is used in some of the diving sets used by the school. The ORS is designed to extend the life of the existing medical O2 cylinders two to four times, using the fact that only a small percentage of O2 inhaled by a patient is actually absorbed by the lungs, the rest being exhaled into the atmosphere along with carbon-dioxide (CO2) produced by the body. This exhaled O2 can be re-used, provided the exhaled CO2 is removed. To achieve this, the ORS adds a second pipe to the patient’s existing O2 mask, which sucks out the air exhaled by a patient using a low-pressure motor. Both the mask inlet pipe (for O2) and the mask outlet pipe (for exhaled air) are fitted with non-return valves to maintain a positive pressure and unidirectional flow of gases at all times to ensure the patient's safety against dilution hypoxia. The exhaled gases, mainly CO2 and O2, are then fed into a Bacterial Viral Filter and Heat and Moisture Exchanger Filter (BVF-HME filter) to absorb any viral contaminants. After viral filtration, the gases pass through a high-grade CO2 scrubber with a High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filter, which absorbs CO2 and other particulates, allowing enriched O2 to pass through unaffected. The enriched O2 from the scrubber is then pumped back into the inhalation pipe of the patient’s face mask, thereby increasing the flow rate of O2 to the patient and reducing the use of O2 from the cylinder.
The air flow in the ORS is maintained by a medical-grade pump fitted ahead of the CO2 scrubber, which ensures a positive flow, facilitating comfortable breathing by the patient. Digital flow meters monitor the flow rate of O2, and the ORS also incorporates inline O2 and CO2 sensors with automatic cut-offs, which stop the ORS in case O2 levels drop below the normal limits, or the CO2 percentage exceeds normal limits. However, this cut-off does not affect the normal in-flow of O2 from the cylinder, thereby allowing the patient to continue breathing easily, even if the ORS stops due to the cut-offs or for any other reason. The first fully operational prototype of the ORS was produced on 22 April 2021 and underwent a series of in-house trials and design improvements at the Southern Naval Command, with third-party observers from ISO certified firms. Thereafter, on the directives of NITI Aayog, the system underwent detailed analysis and assessment by a team of specialists at Sree Chitra Tirunal Institute for Medical Sciences and Technology (SCTIMST) at Thiruvananthapuram. The team of specialists at SCTIMST found the concept and design of the Oxygen Recycling System feasible and also suggested a few additional modifications. An ‘Initial Evaluation Certificate’ was accorded to the ORS on 18 May 2021 by the Director, SCTIMST. The system is now being progressed for clinical trials in accordance with existing guidelines, which are expected to becompleted expeditiously, after which the design will be freely available for mass production in the country. All components used in the ORS are indigenous and freely available in the country.
The overall cost of the ORS prototype has been capped at Rs. 10,000 against an envisaged saving of Rs. 3,000 per day due to the recycling of O2. Besides substantially enhancing the existing O2 capacity in the country, the ORS can also be used to extend the life of O2 cylinders used by mountaineers/soldiers at high altitude, for HADR operations and on-board naval ships and submarines.
The ORS has been designed by Lieutenant Commander Mayank Sharma of Diving School. The system's design has been patented, and an application to this effect has been filed by the Indian Navy on 13 May 2021.
PM-CARES Fund to procure 1,50,000 units of Oxycare System developed by DRDO to regulate oxygen
PM-CARES Fund has accorded sanction for procurement of 1,50,000 units of Oxycare System at a cost of Rs. 322.5 Crore. It is a comprehensive system developed by DRDO to regulate oxygen being administrated to patients based on the sensed values of their SpO2 levels. The system has been developed in two configurations. The basic version consists of a 10-litre oxygen cylinder, a Pressure Regulator cum Flow Controller, a Humidifier and a Nasal Cannula. The oxygen flow is regulated manually based on the SpO2 readings. The intelligent configuration includes a system for automatic regulation of oxygen through a Low Pressure Regulator, Electronic Control System and an SpO2 Probe in addition to the basic version.
SpO2 -based Oxygen Control System optimises consumption of oxygen based on the SpO2 level of the patient and effectively increases the endurance of the portable oxygen cylinder. The threshold SpO2 value for initiating flow from the system can be adjusted by the health staff and the SpO2 levels are continuously monitored and displayed by the system. It reduces the work load and exposure of healthcare providers by eliminating the need of routine measurement and manual adjustments of oxygen flow, thereby facilitating tele-consultation also. The automatic system also provides suitable audio warning for various failure scenarios including low SpO2 values and probe disconnections. These Oxycare systems can be used at homes, quarantine centres, COVID Care Centres and hospitals. In addition, Non-Rebreather Masks (NRM) are integrated with the Oxycare Systems for efficient use of oxygen which results in saving of oxygen by 30-40%. DRDO has transferred the technology to multiple industries in India who will be producing it for use all across India.
The current medical protocol recommends oxygen therapy for all severe and critical COVID-19 patients. Given the current status of oxygen generation, transport and storage, oxygen cylinders have proved to be effective. Considering the present COVID pandemic situation with large number of individuals requiring oxygen therapy, sourcing only one type of system may not be practical, as all the manufacturing plants making the basic building blocks of the system are already running at their maximum capacity. A mix and match of the system would prove to be a useful arrangement in the given situation. While the capacity of existing domestic manufacturers of carbon-manganese steel cylinders is very limited, as an alternative, DRDO has suggested light material portable cylinders which can easily act as substitutes for normal oxygen cylinders.
IISER-Bhopal makes oxygen concentrator 'oxycon' to meet rising demand of COVID patients
Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER) in Bhopal has developed an affordable oxygen concentrator 'oxycon' to meet the rising demand of medical oxygen amid a second wave of the coronavirus pandemic. The device, which is estimated to cost around Rs. 17,000, can provide 93-95 per cent pure oxygen with a flow rate of up to 3 litres per minute. According to the team, the device, which costs more than Rs. 50,000 at present, has been developed as a solution to tackle the oxygen shortage amid the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. It has been developed using the open-source technology and material. The developed device is portable, customizable, and easy to deploy, even at village-level.
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Indian Navy develops oxygen plant on wheels
Mobile oxygen generation plants, termed 'Oxygen on Wheels' designed and developed by Naval Dockyard Visakhapatnam under the Eastern Naval Command (ENC) were inaugurated by Vice Adm AB Singh, Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief ENC on 20 May 2021. The Naval Dockyard Technical team conceived and developed two oxygen generation plants each with 100 litres per minute capacity, designed to provide a direct feed to any hospital's pipeline system.
The oxygen plants, mounted on trailers, can easily be transported to remote hospitals and connected to the hospital's fixed oxygen piping system to serve as the main feed for up to 16 beds. The oxygen system can also serve as a backup to prevent incidents of low oxygen pressure in the hospitals. Such a system has been conceived and implemented to support the State Govt. efforts during the on-going oxygen crises, especially in smaller hospitals and rural areas that may not have the requisite infrastructure.
Oxyheal Pvt Ltd, Tamil Nadu develops oxygen concentrators, manufacturing to be scaled up
Oxyheal Pvt Ltd, incubated at Kongu Engineering College, Tamil Nadu, has developed oxygen concentrators that use Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy to treat chronic wounds, which are wounds that do not heal over a long period of time. The device is portable and significantly easier to use and cheaper for the end-user in comparison to presently existing technologies. It can be used to treat COVID-19 patients whose oxygen level drop below 95%.
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Oil and Gas Public Sector companies setting up 100 PSA Medical Oxygen Generation Plants in hospitals
Oil and Gas Public Sector Companies, under the administrative control of the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas, Government of India are working earnestly to meet the nation’s Liquid Medical Oxygen requirements, in this hour of need. Under the guidance of the Minister VIGYAN PRASAR 20 of Petroleum and Natural Gas Shri Dharmendra Pradhan, they are setting up about 100 Pressure Swing Adsorption (PSA) Medical Oxygen Generation Plants in public health facilities across the country. The hospitals in Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Karnataka, Goa, Kerala, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Odisha, Madhya Pradesh and Delhi will be covered under the initiative. The entire expenditure for these plants will be borne by the companies from their CSR fund.
These PSA plants will come in varying capacities to generate oxygen, catering to hospitals with 200 to 500 beds. They employ technology provided by DRDO and CSIR, absorbing nitrogen from ambient air to concentrate oxygen. The oxygen thus generated will be supplied straight to patients admitted in the hospital. Orders have been placed with the Indian vendors for these plants, and these will start becoming operational from this month itself, and by July, all such plants will come up.
Steel plants supply 4076 MT Liquid Medical Oxygen
Steel companies from across the country, from both the public and private sectors, have stepped up efforts to meet the nation’s requirement of medical oxygen. On 4 May, the Total Liquid Medical Oxygen (LMO) production by the steel plants was 3680.30 MT, and Total LMO Supply was 4076.65 MT. In comparison, the LMO supply was 3131.84 MT to various states on the 25 April 2021. In mid-April, on an average 1500-1700 MT/day of LMO was being dispatched. Steel Authority of India, one of the largest domestic steel producers, has been enhancing its capabilities to supply LMO in the country. The daily delivery of LMO from its integrated steel plants situated at Bhilai (Chhattisgarh), Rourkela (Odisha), Bokaro (Jharkhand), and Durgapur and Burnpur (West Bengal) has been increased from a level of about 500 MT in the 2nd week of April to more than 1100 MT per day currently. The company has so far supplied over 50,000 MT of LMO. In April, 2021, SAIL delivered more than 17500 MT LMO to 15 states across the country including the states in which the plants are located.
Fourteen “Oxygen Express” trains carrying more than 950 MT LMO have been loaded by 4 May for various parts of the county from SAIL plants at Bokaro, Rourkela and Durgapur. SAIL plants have also received tankers, which have been airlifted and after loading have moved to their destinations by road and rail. The Railways, Air Force, steel plants and oxygen plants are coordinating the efforts of transporting the tankers.
Efforts initiated for production of medical oxygen from modified industrial nitrogen plants
Considering the COVID-19 pandemic situation and to further augment availability of oxygen for medical purposes in the country, the Central Government had asked Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), which has comprehensive database of industrial units, to identify the industries having spare nitrogen plants and explore the feasibility of converting existing nitrogen plants to produce oxygen. CPCB with the help of State Pollution Control Boards (SPCBs) have identified such potential industries, wherein existing nitrogen generation plants may be spared for production of oxygen. Consultation have been held with potential industrial units and experts. VIGYAN PRASAR 21 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/hour capacity nitrogen plant to produce oxygen using Zeolite Molecular Sieve (ZMS). This plant is producing 0.5 ton/day oxygen and is operational since 27 April. UPL Ltd. is also under process of conversion of three more plants. On conversion to oxygen plants, these plants will be installed at hospitals in Surat and Ankaleshwar. In the existing nitrogen plants, replacing Carbon Molecular Sieve (CMS) with 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 modified plant can be set-up in 4-5 days while installation of new oxygen plant may take minimum 3-4 weeks. Oxygen produced in on-site plants has to be compressed and filled in cylinders/special vessels using high pressure compressor for transporting to hospitals. Facilitation is being provided to these industries for completion of work at the earliest.
Simplification of procedure for import of oxygen cylinders and cryogenic tankers/containers
The Government of India has reviewed the existing procedure of registration and approval of global manufacturers for importing oxygen cylinders and cryogenic tankers/containers by Petroleum and Explosive Safety Organization (PESO). In view of the COVID-19 pandemic, PESO shall not carry out physical inspection of global manufacturers' production facilities before grant of such registration and approval. Now, such approvals shall be granted online without any delay on submission of manufacturer’s particulars; ISO certificate of manufacturer; List of Cylinders/Tankers/Containers, their specifications, drawings & batch number; Hydro test certificate and Third party inspection Certificate.
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Five hundred Medical Oxygen Plants to be set up across the country within three months
In order to tackle the surge in COVID-19 cases and subsequent requirement of oxygen, PMCARES has allocated funds for the installation of 500 Medical Oxygen Plants across the country. These plants are planned to be set up within three months. Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) setup five Medical Oxygen Plants within the first week of May in and around Delhi. These are to be installed at AIIMS Trauma Centre, Dr Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital (RML), Safdarjung Hospital, Lady Hardinge Medical College and one at AIIMS, Jhajjar, Haryana. These have been supplied by M/s Trident Pneumatics Pvt. Ltd., Coimbatore which is the technology partner of DRDO and has been given an order of 48 plants. Order of 332 plants has been placed with M/s Tata Advanced Systems Limited and the delivery will start from mid-May. The delivery schedule is being monitored very closely to deliver before the scheduled time. Sites are being prepared at each hospital in parallel.
These Medical Oxygen Plants are designed for a flow rate of 1,000 litres per minute (LPM). The system can cater to 190 patients at a flow rate of 5 LPM and charge 195 cylinders per day. The Medical Oxygen Plant technology has been developed by DRDO based on the On-Board Oxygen Generation for LCA, Tejas. These plants will overcome the logistics issues of oxygen transportation and help the COVID-19 patients in emergency.
ACT Grants, Swasth Alliance, and Feeding India donating 50,000 oxygen concentrators nationally, MyGov coordinating with various stakeholders
India, in the middle of the second wave of COVID-19, needs to rapidly augment oxygen supply to hospitals. In order to save as many lives as possible, ACT Grants (a not-for-profit movement created by the VC and start-up community in India), Swasth Alliance (a not-forprofit alliance of over 150 healthcare organisations), and Feeding India (a not-for-profit run by Zomato) are working towards the goal of sourcing and distributing 50,000 oxygen concentrators. These oxygen concentrators will be donated across India free of cost, largely to various public health institutions and NGOs working for public health. Delhivery (logistics partner), Amazon (Logistics partner), Temasek Foundation (Sourcing and Funding partner), Paytm (Sourcing partner), and several others from the ecosystem are supporting this effort. MyGov is supporting the initiative by ensuring proper coordination with various stakeholders involved, in particular the District Collectors for most optimal utilization of the oxygen concentrators.
A joint committee has been formed in the spirit of public-private partnership to oversee the distribution process and ensure equitable and transparent allocation. Given that demand for oxygen concentrators currently outstrips supply, an allocation methodology has been developed leveraging publicly available COVID-19 data. This methodology is further refined using predictive analytics generated by the Aarogya Setu ITIHAS interface (Developed by IIT Madras) for emerging hotspots.
The methodology is published on MyGov (mygov.in), Swasth (swasth.app), and ACT websites. The district-level distribution of oxygen concentrators will also be made available on https:// self4society.mygov.in/ and https://www.swasth.app/oc-deployment.
Demand for oxygen concentrators from the frontline is being collected through a form hosted by the Swasth Alliance for all (https://www.swasth.app/covid19) and on MyGov.in for District Collectors (https://self4society.mygov.in/collector). Various district magistrates, state governments and not-for-profit healthcare providers are required to fill in their requirements of oxygen concentrators in this form.
S3 medical oxygen generator developed by team IISc to combat COVID-19 pandemic
The Gasification Group at IISc, which specializes in low pressure multi-species gas separation, has developed an oxygen generation system for small-scale medical requirements. The process uses low power and meets the specifications as per the MoHFW. The process draws ambient air through a compressor along with an air conditioning system to remove any contaminants in the air before the separation. The oxygen separation takes place within a twin-bed Vacuum Swing Adsorption system integrated with a small storage volume as a discharge vessel and various safety systems. The equipment-built material and the oxygen produced fulfils the gas quality requirements as prescribed by Indian Pharmacopeia and can be used in ICU/CCU/OT and other clinical wards. The choice of materials for the equipment meets the prescribed standards.
Website link: https://covid19.iisc.ac.in/s3-medical-oxygen-generator/
CSIR-CMERI Oxygen Enrichment Unit – An optimised oxygen administering device amidst the nationwide oxygen shortage
The entire nation is undergoing an unprecedented pandemic situation of COVID-19. Oxygen therapy is recommended for severe illness caused by the Coronavirus. There is a massive short supply of medical-grade oxygen across the country. To meet the oxygen demand and minimize the supply chain problem of transportation and storage risks related to oxygen cylinders, CSIR- Central Mechanical Engineering Research Institute (CMERI) has developed ‘Oxygen Enrichment’ technology which has been transferred virtually to M/s. Apollo Computing Laboratories (P) Ltd, Kushaiguda, Hyderabad. The unit requires easily available oil-free reciprocating compressor, oxygen-grade zeolite sieves and pneumatic components. It is capable of delivering medical air in the range of up to 15 LPM with oxygen purity of more than 90%. If required, this unit can even deliver up to 70 LPM at a purity of around 30% and can safely be placed in the isolation ward of the hospital for patients who are in dire need of oxygen. This will help the accessibility of oxygen in remotest places and widest points of need. The Outreach Factor of Oxygen will be multiplied through the adoption of this in-situ and decentralised generation of oxygen.
Mr Jaipal Reddy of M/s Apollo Computing Laboratories during the event of transfer of technology stated that the first prototype would be developed within 10 days and the production would be started from the second week of May. They have presently the manufacturing capacity of 300 units per day which may be augmented on demand. He also informed that their company is planning to develop the unit both as standalone Oxygen Enrichment Unit as well as with integrated version with ‘Swasth Vayu’ technology of CSIR-NAL. Mr Reddy stressed that the unit is essentially required particularly as ‘Mini ICUs’ at small hospitals and isolation centres and at remote villages and places. By use of Oxygen Concentrators, the optimum utilization of oxygen to the needy patients may also be ensured. If this facility is provided to COVID-19 patients at initial stage, their visits to hospitals and further ventilatory support may be avoided in most of the cases. It was also felt that the use of such units is safe and easier considering the recent risk factors involved with the Oxygen Cylinders. Mr Reddy appreciated the suggestion of Prof. Harish Hirani to conduct an awareness and training programme for use of the OEU through social media for proper guidance and its effective use by all concerned in association with CSIR-CMERI.
West Bengal and Haryana MSMEs pitch in with Oxygen Enrichment Technology
In its efforts to empower and strengthen the MSMEs further, CSIR-CMERI transferred its indigenously developed technology of Oxygen Enrichment Unit (OEU) to three entrepreneurs, namely M/s Conquerent Control Systems Private Limited, IMT Manesar, Gurgaon; M/s A B Elasto Products Private Limited, Krishnapur, Kolkata; and M/s Automation Engineers, P.S. Hare Street, Kolkata virtually on 21 May 2021. During the occasion, Prof. (Dr) Harish Hirani said that usage of Oxygen Enrichment technology varies greatly from ICU in hospitals, isolation wards, to extended care at home. The supplemental oxygen is required in ailing patients for effective metabolism. He further added that this is often misunderstood that SpO2 (Oxygen saturation of blood) above 90 can only be achieved in the ailing patients with Oxygen percentage (FiO2) more than 90. Many times a moderate amount of supplemental oxygen FiO2 in the range of 0.3 to 0.4 with appropriate flow rate (under medical supervision) may provide SpO2 level above 90. He also stressed upon the need for use of proper masks by the patients to avoid spreading of infections amongst their family members. Prof. Hirani further said that the motto of the Institute is to share the technology to the entrepreneurs who have the manufacturing capabilities and capacity to source the required raw materials of the product so that the mass production of the OEU may be started at the earliest for its reach to the common people. This will also boost the skill development and employability of a large number of beneficiaries. He also assured the licensees for handholding and guidance in sourcing of the raw materials, technical detailing, or any other related support from the Institute for manufacturing the OEUs.
Mr. Dev P. Goel, MD and Mr. Bharat Goel, CEO of M/s Conquerent Control Systems Private Limited said that their company has all the manufacturing capability related to fabrication, finance, and resources to start the production of the OEU immediately. They further stated that their primary motto at the moment is service to the humanity considering the prospective third wave and would try to keep the price of the product to the minimum. They have also planned for providing the product to the hospitals, clinics, schools and colleges, factories for workers, and the housing societies for maximizing the benefits of the technology. They were also concerned over the influx of spurious products from abroad lacking the trust of the people, but were very hopeful that with CSIR-CMERI’s technology and their brand value an indigenous and candid product would be available to the masses. Mr. Sushim Mukul Bhol, Director, M/s A B Elasto Products Private Limited shared the profile of his company which is basically involved in the rubber-based auto engineering products like Air Brakes, Hose etc. The company has excellent infrastructural facility and distribution system to start manufacturing the OEUs. Mr. Bhol said that within a month’s time he would make the prototype and would initially start with 10 numbers of OEUs per day which would be scaled up as per the requirement. He said that compressor is not a problem for them and they would get some zeolite from the local sources.
Mr. Gouranga Mitra, Proprietor, M/s Automation Engineers stated that his company is presently engaged in making engineering tools which are exported to different countries. Now he is diversifying his product line to the medical equipment also as his company has all the infrastructural facilities for manufacturing the OEUs. They would also manufacture zeolite sieves and make the prototype within 15 days and planning to start production of 500 units per month initially. Mr. Mitra also hoped that with the add-on features and support from CSIR-CMERI on the technology, they would be able to export the product from the country very shortly.
Guideline for oxygen self-use during homecare by PGIMER Chandigarh & Panjab University
As the second wave of COVID-19 sweeps through the country with deadly consequences, doctors across the state have started advocating proning exercises to improve oxygen levels in COVID-positive patients — both in home isolation as well as in hospital. To overcome the challenge, Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER, Chandigarh) and Panjab University (PU) have created an educative guideline for oxygen self-use during homecare. The Guideline advises people to not panic if they experience any COVID-19 symptoms, as the majority of people can manage their infections at home by following self-care measures. It lists the common symptoms of the disease and recommends that at the first sign of experiencing the symptoms, people should isolate at home and begin following self-care measures. It asks people to not worry or become anxious, as these interfere with the body’s natural immune response to fighting the infection.
Website link: https://www.care4cleanair.com/awarnessmaterial
Office of PSA calls for philanthropic funding for National Consortium of OXYGEN
Office of the Principal Scientific Adviser, Government of India calls for private sector companies, donor organizations and individuals to join India’s fight against COVID-19 by providing philanthropic funding to support the National Consortium of OXYGEN (O2 TO INDIA). The consortium is looking forward to providing immediate to short-term relief and working on building the manufacturing ecosystem and healthcare infrastructure for the long run. These funds may be used for producing medical oxygen for various health facilities in India, including Army hospitals, Government hospitals and Charity hospitals through an initiative called ‘Project O2’. Medical oxygen is on high priority, so while companies are airlifting few supplies, we should be prepared for the pandemic that is expected to last for the next several years and 3rd and 4th waves are expected in the coming months. This needs immediate and short term ramp-up of our logistics as well as production capacities.
This entails manufacturing raw material currently being imported from China and other places; some are delayed, and costs are unaffordable. There is a need to support the fast-paced evaluation of quality manufacturers, scale up their capacity, address logistics challenges, enable supplies to extended/make-shift hospitals, and strengthen R&D and innovation for future pandemics. To execute this project, Office of the PSA is facilitating at the national level supply of critical raw materials such as zeolites, setting up small oxygen plants, manufacturing compressors and final products, quality oxygen cylinders, concentrators and ventilators. The manufacturing and supply consortium includes Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL), Electronic Corporation of India Limited (ECIL), Skanray Technologies, IIT Kanpur, C-CAMP Bengaluru, IIT Delhi, Venture Center Pune, IIT Bombay, IIT Hyderabad, IISER Bhopal and 40+ MSMEs. A committee of key experts has been evaluating from a pool of Indian manufacturers, start-ups and MSMEs (in partnership with FICCI, MESA, etc.) producing medical oxygen and other critical equipment such as oxygen concentrators, ventilators and oxygen cylinders.
A robust evaluation committee with both subject matter experts from IITs and manufacturing companies has been set up and it will be continuously evaluating the oxygen manufacturing companies on an on-going basis and adding to the consortium. Quality cannot be compromised, and hence this system has been put in place. Simultaneously, a TCS logistics and inventory management portal has been provided pro bono to the office of the PSA for managing quality covid relief will be used. VIGYAN PRASAR 14 Anyone could support the initiative by funding:
1) Research on variants and calibration of vaccines based on variants identified and
2) Start-ups, BEL, ECIL, MSMEs, Start-ups setting up and manufacturing oxygen equipment, extension hospitals by placing advance orders directly.
Office of the PSA aims to facilitate providing proposals approved by an expert committee and/ or one can also fund the PSUs directly as they have 45 MSMEs under their supply chain.
Please write back for any clarification:
Project Lead: Mr Vibhor Bansal, Vibhor.firstname.lastname@example.org
Project Lead CSR/Philanthropy: Mr Bhanu Prabhakar, email@example.com