The Department of Science and Technology (DST), with the backing of the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), has sanctioned the production of oxygen concentrators from one of its science incubators at IIT-Kanpur. The startup Indeema Fibres Pvt Ltd in Kanpur, along with its sister concern ChemDist Membrane Systems Pvt Ltd based out of Pune, will roll out its first batch of 5,500 oxygen concentrators by May 25.
Over the past year, the startup has been working on light-weight oxygen concentrators for Indian Army soldiers posted at high altitudes. “While we have been working on these concentrators for a year now, it really received momentum with escalating tensions with China. But when the oxygen shortage started escalating across the country, we decided to divert attention to making concentrators for Covid which requires 90 percent concentration – we had the technology and know-how, so we managed to do this in ten days,” Dr Sunil Dhole, one of the founders of the startup, said.
The company has been credited with making international standard N-95 masks last year, when the pandemic began. Partner Sandip Patil’s personal struggle triggered the change towards oxygen concentrators — his mother was hospitalised with Covid-19 in March and spent weeks in the ICU at a hospital in Maharashtra’s Dhule district.
“This was at a time when the rush of Covid patients from the (second wave) had not yet begun, and the oxygen shortage hadn’t hit. Even then we knew,…