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Taiwan firm to set up plant in Tamil Nadu to manufacture oxygen concentrators

Currently, the Centre is in the process of importing Zeolite from different parts of the world, for use in Pressure Swing Absorption (PSA) plants to boost oxygen supplies in the country.

Published: 21st May 2021 04:52 AM  |   Last Updated: 21st May 2021 12:14 PM   |  A+A-

oxygen concentrators

Image of oxygen concentrators for representation (Photo | PTI)

Express News Service

CHENNAI: As the state is battling the shortage of oxygen in hospitals to treat rising Covid patients, a Taiwan-based company is planning to set up a manufacturing plant to produce oxygen concentrators in Tamil Nadu, according to Dr E Prakash Associate Vice President, Guidance Bureau, Tamil Nadu-Taiwan desk.

Speaking to The New Indian Express during a webinar organised by Inspiredge, Prakash said that land has been identified for setting up the plant by Taiwan-based EMG Technology Co. Ltd and hunt is on for Indian partners. He said the oxygen concentrators are much in demand following the oxygen crisis faced by India during the second wave of pandemic.

Roger Huang, chief executive officer of EMG Technology Co. Ltd, told Express that the plant could be set up in India immediately but the hitch is the availability of raw material zeolite, a petrochemical product which has to be imported from abroad. Zeolite, is an essential component imported for oxygen generation. Currently, the Union government is in the process of importing Zeolite from different parts of the world, for use in Pressure Swing Absorption (PSA) plants to boost oxygen supplies in the country.

Zeolite-based oxygen concentrator systems are widely used to produce medical-grade oxygen. The zeolite is used as a molecular sieve to create purified oxygen from air using its ability to trap impurities, in a process involving the adsorption of nitrogen. Currently, there are only three to four suppliers of Zeolite across the world.

When asked about Chinese made oxygen concentrators being available at a cheaper rate, Roger said that the concetrators filters can't last and could prove risky in the longer run.

The proposed investment by Taiwan based company also comes as the state has also called for Indian and overseas firms to manufacture Covid-related high-end medical technology devices, oxygen plants, oxygen concentrators, vaccines and covid-related drugs through a joint venture with Tamil Nadu Industrial Development Corporation. The minimum investment should be Rs 50 crore, according to Tidco sources. It is learnt that the state is keeping the infrastructure ready to tackle the third wave of pandemic being predicted by the experts.

Even the state government in its Government Order last week has stated that it will offer a capital subsidy of 30per percent of investments if the investor can establish a manufacturing facility and commence production of oxygen concentrators, oxygen cylinders and medical oxygen in Tamil Nadu.

Sumit Bothra, Chief executive officer of Inspiredge told Express that he is scouting for Indian partners for a joint venture with the Taiwanese firm. "We have nearly identified them," he says.

Dr Vinod Kumar, Professor of Pulmonary Medicine, Stanley Medical College, has welcomed the initiative of setting up a oxygen concentrator plant. He says that during the oxygen crisis faced by the state, oxygen concentrators were used by hospitals to save lives. He says that currently there are 250 oxygen concentrators which are being put into use in hospitals in Chennai.

The need for oxygen was never felt until the second wave of pandemic hit India. The oxygen concentrators are being used at the triage also, says Dr Kumar. He said in hospitals there are six non-oxygen and six oxygen beds in a room. During an emergency when a non-oxygen bed patient requires oxygen, he is provided with an oxygen concentrator. This is a cheap and easier way to manage the oxygen crisis. However, hospitals are using a single oxygen concentrator for multiple patients during emergencies. Dr Kumar says that new masks are being used so that patients don't get infected while using the same.

Taiwan artist paints up for a cause

Taiwan-based Painter philanthropist Lihquan Li has sold her seven paintings to raise funds for 26 oxygen concentrators for India of which some will be offered to Tamil Nadu.

Painter philanthropist Lihquan Li 

Li told Express during a webinar that she raised 713,000 new Taiwan dollar by selling her seven painting and brought the 26 oxygen concentrators. "This will help the needy in India and also highlight the technology prowess Taiwan has in manufacturing oxygen concentrators, '' she said.



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