homehealthcare NewsOxygen shortage: Working to convert industrial gas cylinders for medical use, says Tata Steel
healthcare | Apr 22, 2021 7:23 PM IST

Oxygen shortage: Working to convert industrial gas cylinders for medical use, says Tata Steel

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As COVID-19 cases spike, the government has requested the manufacturing industry to help out in meeting the exponentially rising demand and companies such as Tata Steel are trying to answer the SOS call. However, there are certain hurdles in the way, the biggest being that industrial oxygen can't directly be used for medical purposes. CNBC-TV spoke to TV Narendran, MD & CEO, Tata Steel and President-Designate, CII on this issue.

As COVID-19 cases spike, the government has requested the manufacturing industry to help out in meeting the exponentially rising demand and companies such as Tata Steel are trying to answer the SOS call. However, there are certain hurdles in the way, the biggest being that industrial oxygen can't directly be used for medical purposes. CNBC-TV spoke to TV Narendran, MD & CEO, Tata Steel and President-Designate, CII on this issue.

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Speaking about sources to augment the supply of oxygen, Narendran said, “Sources would be the steel companies because they use a lot of oxygen. The other industries, the oil and gas industries are also having oxygen plants and they can supply that oxygen. In addition, many of our members who are consumers of oxygen have cut down their consumption.”
On supplying oxygen he said, “On the transportation, side railways have started trains so that these tankers - if you want to move tanker from east to west if you sent it by road it would take a long time, you can load it on the train and it goes there and the turnaround is faster. Anybody who is associated in the oxygen value chain is working very hard and trying to beat with this crisis.”
He added, “The challenge is today you don’t even have enough containers to put on to the railways, the bottleneck is currently the containers, once you have more containers then you can exploit all these possibilities.”
On gas cylinders, he said, “It is the smaller hospitals that need cylinders, and again here a lot of factories have industrial gas cylinders. There is a protocol to convert those industrial gas cylinders into oxygen gas cylinders, that process is also been simplified a bit. So a lot of work is going on converting industrial gas cylinders into oxygen gas cylinders so that the cylinder supply can also be augmented.”
Finally, he added, “We are working closely with the gas companies and coordinating with them so that when we get calls, we divert it to them and try to help out. We are trying to see that the hospitals which are short get the oxygen and live it by the day and that is what we are trying to do and as we augment the supplies I hope the situation will ease a bit.”
For the full interview, watch the accompanying video
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