The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) announced on Wednesday that it plans to set up 500 oxygen plants under the PM CARES fund within three months. This will be done to augment oxygen supply across the country which is dealing with an unprecedented surge in the COVID-19 cases. India has been reporting over 3 lakh fresh coronavirus cases every day for the past week.
The Medical Oxygen Plant (MOP) technology, that has been developed by DRDO for on-board oxygen generation in India's indigenous Light Combat Aircraft Tejas, will be utilised in these 500 oxygen plants.
The MOPs have been designed with the capacity of 1000 litres per minute. The system can provide oxygen to 190 patients at a flow rate of 5 litres per minute. It can also charge 195 cylinders in a day, explained DRDO. The MOP technology is capable of producing the oxygen that can be directly supplied to hospital beds and can also be used to fill cylinders.
"It utilizes Pressure Swing Adsorption (PSA) technique and Molecular Sieve (Zeolite) technology to generate oxygen directly from atmospheric air," DRDO said. This technology has already been used by some army sites in North East and Leh-Ladakh region.
Using this technology, hospitals will be able to generate on-site medical oxygen. This will be achieved in a cost-effective manner with the oxygen plant rather than depending on other sources.
DRDO has done Transfer of Technology with Tata Advanced Systems Limited, Bengaluruanda and Trident Pneumatics Pvt. Ltd., Coimbatore, who will be producing 380 such plants for installation in various hospitals around India. While industries working with the Indian Institute of Petroleum, Dehradun will produce 120 oxygen plants with 500 litres per minute capacity. Site preparation for 5 such plants to be installed in Delhi NCR has already begun.
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh appreciated DRDO for utilising MOP technology to generate much-needed oxygen for coronavirus patients. While Secretary DDR&D & Chairman DRDO, Dr G Satheesh Reddy has assured DRDO's support for the usage of MOP technology by hospitals and other health agencies.
(Edited by Mohammad Haaris Beg)