“Steel plants has a crucial role in manufacturing Liquid Oxygen”- How?

Image Courtesy: The Economic Times

India is recording severe demand in daily covid-19 cases as a lot of patients require Liquid Oxygen during the treatment when they are admitted to the hospital.

Taking this demand into account, steel plants thereafter need high gaseous oxygen, primarily for steel making and for oxygen enrichment in Blast Furnaces, apart from some general purposes like lancing and gas cutting. Even Captive Oxygen Plants in Integrated Steel Plants are established to produce primarily gaseous products of Oxygen, Nitrogen, and Argon and then routed through Pressure Reduction & Management System (PRMS) to meet the process need at the desired pressure.

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When calculated it is found that such plants are able to produce 5-6% maximum Liquid Oxygen (LOX) at the peak capacity, which is a highly pure product when compared to that of industrial oxygen. Plants can only enhance the LOX production by minimizing some of their gaseous Oxygen and optimize process parameters.

The Ministry of Steel stated that “In the meantime, all-out efforts are being made to enhance the production of liquid oxygen and for dispensing the same for which all oxygen plants whether in private or public are working 24×7 and dispensing oxygen. Steel plants are also filling oxygen cylinders and supplying to the States/hospitals.”

He further added that the steel plants in both the public and Private sector are trying their best to supply liquid oxygen to different states. The Average delivery of Liquid Medical Oxygen by SAIL has been increased to about 800 tonnes per day.

Around 1150T of LMO was sent on 23rd April, and the quantity delivered just 2 days before was about 960 Tonnes. SAIL pointed out that they were continuously enhancing LMO supply.

As per the Ministry of Steel, total Liquid Medical Oxygen eliminated from SAIL integrated steel plants at Bhilai, Bokaro, Rourkela, Durgapur, and Burnpur from August 2020 till yesterday is approx 39,647 tonnes.

Rashtriya Ispat Nigam Ltd (RINL) on the other hand is concerned about the present scenario. In the last FY 20-21, it had supplied 8842 ton of LMO, and this FY, from 13th April till Sunday morning, more than 1300 ton of Medical Oxygen has been dispatched. There has been an increase from 100 tons to 140 tons in the last three days. First Oxygen Express had chugged off RINLVizag Steel Plant site on 22nd April, delivering almost 100 tons of Liquid Medical Oxygen to Maharashtra to meet medical emergencies of Covid patients.

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The total Oxygen production capacity of Steel plants per day is 2834 MT. In the Steel Sector, there are 33 oxygen plants of which 29 are tapped regularly. Almost 2894 tonnes were dispatched to different states on 24th April by Steel Plants in the Public & Private Sector as against 1500/1700 Tonnes /Day a week earlier.