Reliance Industries produces over 11pc medical grade liquid oxygen in India

Reliance Industries produces over 11pc medical grade liquid oxygen in India

4:41 AM, 4th May 2021
Reliance Industries' plant in Jamnagar, Gujarat, India. (Representative Image/File Photo)

MUMBAI, INDIA: As India grapples with an unprecedented new wave of the Covid Pandemic, Reliance Industries has realized the critical need of the hour is assured availability of medical grade liquid oxygen for treatment of severely ill patients across the country.

Traditionally, Reliance Industries, not a manufacturer of medical grade liquid oxygen, has now become India’s largest producer of this life-saving resource from a single location. At its refinery-cum-petrochemical complex in Jamnagar and other facilities, RIL now produces over 1000 MT of medical grade liquid oxygen per day — or over 11 percent of India’s total production – meeting the needs of nearly every one in ten patients.

Reliance has adopted a two-pronged approach to strengthen the availability of medical oxygen in India:
- Refocusing several industrial processes at Reliance’s Jamnagar and other facilities for rapid scale-up in production of medical grade liquid oxygen
- Augmenting loading and transportation capacities to ensure its swift and safe supply to states and union territories across India.
Enhancing production of medical grade oxygen

RIL engineers reconfigured and optimised current operations – designed for refining and petrochemicals grade oxygen – to produce high-purity medical grade oxygen. Medical grade liquid oxygen has to be produced in liquid form at -183°C with almost 99.5 percent purity, which poses extraordinary challenges and risks in production and maximising tonnage.

Engineers through process optimisation and modifications of cryogenic air separation units, were able maximise production of medical grade liquid oxygen in a short span of time. This oxygen is being provided free-of-cost to several state governments across the country to bring immediate relief to over 1 lakh patients on a daily basis. Since the beginning of the pandemic in March 2020, Reliance has supplied over 55,000 MT of medical grade liquid oxygen across the country.

Ensuring swift supply of oxygen across states and union territories

In addition to the production of high-quality medical grade liquid oxygen, the other challenge has been to quickly overcome the transportation bottleneck in supply of liquid oxygen to various parts of the country. This necessitated increasing the loading capacity for its safe and quick transportation. To achieve this, engineers made smart logistical modifications to rail and road transport, such as laying parallel lines, using hoses, and loading up liquid tankers through pressure differential, since liquid oxygen pumps cannot be installed at short notice.
In another innovation, Reliance converted nitrogen tankers into transport trucks for medical grade oxygen, through innovative and safe processes that were approved by the Petroleum and Explosives Safety Organization (PESO), the relevant regulatory body of the Government of India.

The company organised the airlifting of 24 ISO containers into India from Saudi Arabia, Germany, Belgium, The Netherlands and Thailand adding 500 MT of new transportation capacity for liquid Oxygen. These ISO containers will help in removing the transport constraints for medical grade liquid Oxygen in the country. In addition, RIL is airfreighting more ISO containers over the next few days. Aramco, BP and IAF helped Reliance in providing and transporting ISO containers to help the country in its battle against Covid, it said.

“For me and for all of us at Reliance, nothing is more important than saving every life as India battles against a new wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. There is an immediate need to maximise India’s production and transportation capacities for medical grade oxygen,” said Mukesh Ambani, chairman and managing director, Reliance Industries.

"Our country is going through an unprecedented crisis. We at Reliance Foundation will continue to do everything we can to help. Every life is precious. Our plants at our Jamnagar refinery have been repurposed overnight to produce medical grade liquid oxygen that is being distributed across India,” said Nita Ambani, founder & chairperson of Reliance Foundation.

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