April 1, 2020
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is allowing previously unapproved ethanol producers to make industrial-use product for hand sanitizer, which is in high demand amid the spread of coronavirus.
The agency released guidance and standards to produce ethanol that is to be used as an "active pharmaceutical ingredient" (API) because of inquiries from ethanol producers that are not approved to produce API grade alcohol despite possessing the capability to do so.
The FDA will not prevent or punish previously unapproved ethanol plants from producing API grade alcohol so long as it is no less than 94.9pc ethanol by volume. The ethanol must also be denatured by the producer or by the time it is an ingredient of a finished hand sanitizer product.
Production reallocated to making sanitizer products is not expected to provide notable increases to overall ethanol demand, according to the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA).
"The volume of ethanol that is being supplied for hand sanitizer and similar products is small overall, especially relative to fuel use of ethanol, so we do not expect it to be a major driver of ethanol demand in the months ahead," said RFA chief executive Geoff Cooper.
Some plants have already pivoted to producing hand sanitizer. In his 27 March earnings call, Pacific Ethanol chief executive Neil Khoeler reported that the company's sale of industrial-use ethanol had doubled (http://direct.argusmedia.com/newsandanalysis/article/2091456) to fight the spread of coronavirus.
Parties looking to produce API grade alcohol must register their facility online with the FDA but will be automatically approved to begin production.
Read the original story here: FDA Allowing More Ethanol Plants To Make Sanitizer