Chennai Petroleum Corporation Limited starts work on oxygen manufacturing plant

The Chennai Petroleum Corporation Limited (CPCL) has begun work to set up an oxygen compression and cylinder filling plant in its Manali Refinery. The facility will become fully operational in about a month’s time and will be able to bottle 300 cylinders a day.

Company sources said a contractor had been identified for the same and he would install a compressor, pipelines and a bottling facility meant to supply medical grade oxygen. It would be a cryogenic plant, where the atmospheric air would be brought to minus 170 degree Celsius, at which point, they would obtain liquefied nitrogen. They would also obtain nitrogen and oxygen gases, which would be compressed and stored in cylinders to be supplied for use.

“We expect the trial run by the first week of June and supply is likely to commence by June 15. The contractor has to provide the necessary cylinders for bottling as well,” another source explained.

The crude oil refinery uses high-purity nitrogen to maintain an inert atmosphere in certain processes to prevent air ingress into the hydrocarbon containing vessels and for purging purposes. Though it has a unit mainly to produce nitrogen, it also has the facility to produce gaseous oxygen as a co-product, which is being used for this exercise.

However, industry experts expressed concern that more than oxygen, there was a dire need for cylinders to bottle and supply the gas in. “Ordinary cylinders used to bottle liquefied petroleum gas cannot be used to store oxygen. Cylinders used for oxygen are manufactured using thicker steel sheets by a method called deep drawn process, where a sheet is made into a cylinder. The LPG cylinders are made of two pieces which are made of thinner material and hence are not suitable for storing oxygen,” explained H. Rajangam, who runs an LPG cylinder manufacturing industry.

He suggested that the government should also consider importing cylinders because that would aid in quicker supply of oxygen to patients.

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Printable version | Jun 21, 2021 12:48:12 PM |

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