Covid-19 Pandemic: Steel Plants In India Hike Oxygen Production Capacity

Steel plants in India enhance oxygen production
Steel plants in India enhance oxygen production

As the Government has allowed setting up of 551 plants for producing liquid medical oxygen (LMO) across the country, the Ministry of Steel has informed that there are 33 oxygen plants in India including those in the private sector and against the 2,834 metric tonnes of daily LMO production capacity in the steel sector, the production as on April 24 was 3,474 metric tonnes.

Official sources said that the average delivery of LMO by Steel Authority of India Limited (SAIL) has been raised to more than 800 tonnes per day. Around 1,150 tonnes of LMO was delivered on April 23, and the quantity delivered on Saturday (April 24) was 960 tonnes. 

Total LMO supplied from SAIL integrated steel plants at Bhilai, Bokaro, Rourkela, Durgapur and Burnpur from August, 2020 till April 24 has been 39,647 tonnes. 

State-owned Rashtriya Ispat Nigam Limited (RINL) supplied 8,842 tonnes of LMO in 2020-21. During the current fiscal, from April 13 till the morning of April 25, more than 1,300 tonnes of medical oxygen has been dispatched, official sources informed. Also there is an increase from 100 tonnes to 140 tonnes during the last three days.

The first Oxygen Express had chugged off RINL Vizag Steel Plant site on April 22, carrying 100 tonnes of LMO to Maharashtra to meet medical exigencies of Covid patients.

Steel plants need gaseous oxygen primarily for steel making and for oxygen enrichment in blast furnaces, apart from some general purposes like lancing and gas cutting. Hence captive oxygen plants in integrated steel plants are designed to produce mainly gaseous products of Oxygen, Nitrogen and Argon, which are and then routed through Pressure Reduction & Management System (PRMS) to meet the process need at desired pressure.