Over the coming days, we’re going to be looking at my top 10 stories across the industrial gas year – and what a year it has been. We’re going to see hydrogen, synthetic fuels, ASU growth, medical oxygen milestones, and so much more besides.
But before we get to those top 10 stories, first we take a look at gasworld’s most-commented story of 2021 – that’s the story that you all interacted with the most across our website and social channels.
And fittingly, having revealed that our hot topic titled Understanding medical oxygen was our most-read story of 2021, it’s perhaps little surprise that our most-commented story of the year came in April, at a time when India was in the midst of a major oxygen crisis of its own.
That story was the arrival of oxygen supplies from various overseas countries, from the US to the UK and Singapore.
Countries were sending supplies to India to help improve oxygen supply there as the nation’s Covid-19 crisis intensified. It came at a time when new coronavirus infections in India had hit a record peak (352,991 new cases, 2,812 deaths) for a fifth consecutive day, with hospitals overwhelmed and fearful of oxygen shortages.
Countries around the world had offered to help and India had begun to airlift in medical supplies from abroad.
In addition to its readership online at gasworld.com, the story garnered no less than 926 reactions on gasworld’s LinkedIn platform and 18 comments of support and, it’s fair to say, almost astonishment at the scale and sight of seeing those huge oxygen-laden cryogenic tankers boarding aircraft for their onward journey to India.
The story (dated 26th April) explained how, at the time of writing, the UK had sent hundreds of oxygen concentrators and ventilators, with the first package set to arrive on 27th April.
More than 600 pieces of vital medical equipment would be sent to India to support the country in its fight against Covid-19, the UK Government announced. In total, nine airline container loads of supplies, including 495 oxygen concentrators, 120 non-invasive ventilators and 20 manual ventilators, were to be sent to the country that week.
The US Government had also said it was “pursuing options to provide oxygen generation and related supplies on an urgent basis” while four cryogenic oxygen tankers from Singapore had just arrived in India and the Indian Air Force had travelled to Dubai to pick up more empty oxygen containers.
Germany and France were among other countries which would also be sending oxygen and medical aid to India that week, reports said.
A big year for medical oxygen
Since then and after the maelstrom in medical oxygen across the globe in the first six months of 2021, it’s been a big year for medical oxygen as a whole – with positive signs of progress in ensuring future access for all.
In June, the news broke that Air Liquide and Linde had entered into unprecedented agreements to provide increased access to medical oxygen in low and middle-income countries – seen as a major milestone in both in the fight against Covid-19 and in the gases industry as a whole.
The agreements came after months intense engagement with the world’s major oxygen suppliers by the Covid-19 Oxygen Emergency Taskforce, and were lauded by the international community.