Indian Sugar mills have come forward to meet the growing demand of oxygen in the state and the country. As several states in India reported many deaths due to oxygen shortage, the mills have decided to manufacture medical oxygen in the country to save the life of people. Earlier, the mills had diverted their ethanol stock for the manufacturing of hand sanitizers.
In a virtual meeting chaired by former agricultural minister Sharad Pawar on Friday, decided that Sugar mills would start manufacturing both large and small cylinders of oxygen for medical usage. Three main methods were discussed in the meeting to manufacture oxygen.
Firstly, mills that have an ethanol manufacturing facility can start deriving oxygen from air by carrying out some minor modifications in their setup.
Secondly, a molecular sieve has to be installed to filter out oxygen from the air and that can be sealed in cylinders.
Thirdly, mills with 60 KLPD ethanol manufacturing capacity plants can supply 1,000 cylinders of 10-15 tonnes per day through this method.
The chairperson of the National Cooperative Sugar Factories Federation, Jaiprakash Dandegaonkar said the mills will be working closely with the state government to ensure the supply of oxygen.
For the production of 2-5 tonnes of oxygen cylinders, some of the mills have decided to import skid-mounted oxygen units which can be used for medium production of oxygen. This method can be used to manufacture 100-200 cylinders per day.
Around 7-8 mills have decided to import oxygen concentrators which can manufacture portable oxygen cylinders of 7-10 liters capacity. A single cylinder can be used for two patients with a junction modification.
At present, NCP MLA Rohit Pawar’s Baramati Agro’s sugar mill is manufacturing oxygen in this manner at its Baramati unit. Oxygen concentrators can be imported mainly from Taiwan and it was decided that the Pune-based Vasantdada Sugar Institute, along with the apex body of both cooperative and private sugar mills, would be undertaking import of the devices immediately.