India’s largest industrial and medical gases major Inox Air Products has reached the maximum production capacity of medical grade oxygen during these trying times for the country, a senior company official told IANS.
Accordingly, the company is currently producing a total of 2,000 tonnes of medical oxygen per day.
“We are producing a total of 2,000 tonnes per day of liquid medical oxygen, which is almost two-thirds of the country’s total requirement,” Siddharth Jain, Director – INOX Air Products told IANS.
Lately, Covid resurgence has led to a massive demand surge for medical grade oxygen around the country.
The normal pre-Covid demand for liquid medical oxygen was 700 TPD across the country.
During the first wave of the pandemic last year, the demand of LMO increased by up to four times to 2,800 TPD.
Furthermore, with the resurgence of the second wave, the demand has gone up seven folds of the pre-Covid levels up to 5,000 TPD.
“While, we hope that the spike in cases is arrested, the success of oxygen therapy in Covid treatment would mean that there will be a sustained demand of LMO in the months to come,” he said.
However, despite high production, the real issue in the availability of LMO to hospitals was due to transportation bottlenecks such as limited fleet of cryogenic trucks.
Notably, cryogenic trucks are specially designed transportation vehicle to ferry industrial gases in a semi incubated environment.
“We are trying to remove as many bottlenecks as possible.”
“We have recently joined the railway’s initiative — Oxygen Express — that allows for movement of medical
oxygen tankers via freight trains to save time.”
On the future growth prospects of the company, he said: “The growth in demand for industrial gases is directly in proportion to the manufacturing activities, and thus we see encouraging prospects in the industrial gases sectors in the near term as well as long term future.”
“With an increase in our liquid manufacturing capacity by 50 per cent in the next 3 years, we will look to serve more business in the Manufacturing, Infrastructure and the Healthcare sector and be a part of the country’s journey to self-reliance.”
Recently, the company announced Rs 2,000 crore worth of greenfield investment in the industrial gases sector.
This investment plan of Rs 2,000 crore will follow a strategically comprehensive three year roadmap, through which we will set up eight ‘Air Separation Units’ in high industrial growth corridors in the states of Gujarat, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh and West Bengal.
“The first ASU in this expansion plan should get commissioned in Gujarat in a record time by April next year. Looking at the overall economic significance, we are focusing on this expansion at the moment.”
In addition, the company sees high demand for industrial gases like ‘Nitrogen, Argon, Helium and Oxygen’ in the near future.
Industrial gases are critical utility to sectors like healthcare, automotive, iron and steel, metal, glass, pharmaceuticals, chemicals, food processing and semiconductors.