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Illinois ethanol plant mass produces hand sanitizer

An ethanol plant in northwest Illinois has helped replenish hand sanitizer supplies in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Global Impact Innovation co-founder Paresh Ghelani tells Brownfield the new facility in Galva is designed to produce Zein protein.

“We quickly realized that there is a huge, huge shortage of hand sanitizer, and we’re sitting at the ethanol plant with plenty of ethanol. So we decided at that point that we had already had the technology in place (and) built a plant around using the food-grade ethanol, so we were cleaning our ethanol to the higher grade anyways.”

The plant was repurposed in April, and can now produce up to 150,000 gallons of sanitizer a week.

“For us it’s easy to do, (and) it’s almost like a duty call to say we actually need to step in and do what we can do. And we know price gouging was just crazy out there, people were just ridiculously pricing it.”

Global Impact Innovation has pledged to keep hand sanitizer prices affordable regardless of spikes in demand as the country reopens.  And Ghelani says he’s proud to support farmers and the Midwest ethanol market in the process.

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