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India’s sugar mills to manufacture medical oxygen

In a virtual meeting chaired by former agricultural minister Sharad Pawar on Friday, it was decided that mills would start manufacturing both large and small cylinders of oxygen for medical usage.

Sugar mills in the country have come forward to manufacture medical oxygen to help meet the growing demand in the state and the country. In a virtual meeting chaired by former agricultural minister Sharad Pawar on Friday, it was decided that mills would start manufacturing both large and small cylinders of oxygen for medical usage.

During the meeting, three main methods were discussed to manufacture oxygen. Firstly, mills that have an ethanol manufacturing facility installed can start deriving oxygen from air by carrying out some minor modifications in their setup. Secondly, a molecular sieve has to be installed to filer 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.

DVP group’s Dharashiv Sugar mill in Chokrali and taluka Kalamb in Osmanabad district have decided to start manufacturing oxygen in this manner immediately. This method can be used for the mass production 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.

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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.

Jaiprakash Dandegaonkar, chairman of the National Cooperative Sugar Factories Federation, said the mills will be working closely with the state government to ensure the supply of oxygen. Earlier, the mills had diverted their ethanol stock for the manufacturing of hand sanitizers.

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