The second wave of COVID-19 saw an increase indemand for medical oxygen in different parts of the country. While meeting the current demand,manufacturing medical oxygen also became important to ensure we have adequate supply in the future. ‘Project O2 for India’ of the Office of Principal Scientific Adviser, Government of India, is to enable stakeholders working to augment the country’s ability to meet this rise in demand for medical oxygen.
Under Project O2 for India,a National Consortium of Oxygen is enabling the national level supplyof critical raw materials such as zeolites, setting up of small oxygen plants, manufacturing compressors, final products, i.e.,oxygen plants, concentrators, and ventilators. Theconsortium is not only looking forwardto providing immediate to short-term relief but also workingto strengthen the manufacturing ecosystem for long-term preparedness. A committee of experts has beenevaluating critical equipment such as oxygen plants, concentrators, and ventilators,from a pool of India-based manufacturers, start-ups, and MSMEs (in partnership with FICCI,MESA, etc.). Themanufacturing and supply consortium also includes Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL); TataConsulting Engineers (TCE); C-CAMP, Bengaluru; IIT Kanpur (IIT-K); IIT Delhi (IIT-D);IIT Bombay (IIT-B), IIT Hyderabad (IIT-H); IISER, Bhopal;Venture Center, Pune; and more than 40 MSMEs.
The consortium has started to secure CSR/philanthropic grants from organizations like USAID, Edwards Life sciences Foundation, Climate Works Foundation, etc. Hope Foundation, American Indian Foundation, Walmart, Hitachi, BNP Paribas, and eInfoChips are procuring oxygen concentrators and VPSA/PSA plants as part of their CSR efforts to aid the consortium’s work. NMDC Ltd has agreed to fund the procurement of raw materials like zeolite for the manufacturers in the consortium.