The University of Nebraska-Lincoln and some partners have started producing ethanol-based hand sanitizer to distribute at no cost to hospitals.
UNL said Tuesday that Hunter Flodman, an assistant professor in chemical and biomolecular engineering at the university, worked with the Food and Drug Administration, the Nebraska Ethanol Board and others to enable ethanol producers to supply their product for hand sanitizer.
Hospitals, doctors, nursing homes, ambulance crews and others are struggling to find hand sanitizer, which is in short supply because so much is being used to combat COVID-19.
Staffers and students at the UNL Innovation Campus’ Food Processing Center mix the ingredients and dispense them into 2.5-gallon jugs for distribution. UNL said it expects to distribute thousands of gallons by the end of the week. The team completed its first full day of production Monday.
UNL said Green Plains Inc. and KAAPA Ethanol have donated ethanol. Cargill, Syngenta and BASF have provided other chemicals needed for the sanitizer. Sapp Bros. collects and stores the ethanol and delivers it in batches to UNL.
Flodman and the Nebraska Ethanol Board joined a national effort to convince the FDA to relax regulations so ethanol could be used for this purpose.
UNL spokeswoman Leslie Reed said state government will distribute the product to hospitals first and care facilities next.
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