As India grapples with an unprecedented new wave of COVID-19, one of the country’s major companies is working round-the-clock to get free oxygen out to people in need.
Traditionally, Reliance Industries is not a manufacturer of medical-grade liquid oxygen. But over a year into the pandemic, the company—which is owned by India’s richest man Mukesh Ambani—has gone on to become the nation’s largest producer from a single location, supplying over 55,000 MT of medical-grade liquid oxygen to people since March 2020.
At its refinery-cum-petrochemical complex in Jamnagar and other facilities, Reliance is producing over 1000 MT of medical-grade liquid oxygen per day—or over 11% of India’s total production—meeting the needs of nearly every 1 in 10 patients needing the life-saving treatment across the nation.
“Nothing is more important than saving every life as India battles against a new wave of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Chairman Mukesh Ambani said in a statement.
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The switch-over to producing high-purity medical grade oxygen hasn’t been too difficult for Reliance engineers—the main facility is already designed for refining and petrochemicals-grade oxygen.
That said, medical grade oxygen has to be produced in liquid form at -183°C with almost 99.5% purity, which poses extraordinary challenges and risks in production and maximizing tonnage.
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“I am proud of our engineers at Jamnagar who have worked tirelessly, with a great sense of patriotic urgency, to meet this new challenge… [They’ve] risen to the occasion and delivered when India needs it the most,” said Ambani of his staff, who are now bringing immediate relief to over 100,000 COVID-19 patients on a daily basis.
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