The global chemical industry is stepping up to battle the coronavirus outbreak with a massive pivot towards the production of key raw materials for hand sanitizers as well as the finished product itself.
Much of the hand sanitizers will also be distributed free to hospitals and healthcare institutions to address shortages.
As of March 20, Dow began producing hand sanitizer at its site in Stade near Hamburg, and first deliveries began on Tuesday, it confirmed. Production will be ramped up to 300 tonnes/month of hand sanitizer, equivalent to 600,000 standard bottles (500ml each). The disinfectant is filled into intermediate bulk containers (IBC) and will then be made available to government authorities for distribution to pharmacies and hospitals free of charge.
Huntsman will produce 50 tonnes of hand sanitizer at its Monthey, Switzerland facilities to be donated to hospitals and pharmacies as the country tries to contain the coronavirus pandemic.
BASF is set to begin production of hand sanitizers at its Ludwigshafen petrochemicals hub in Germany and will distribute them for free to nearby hospitals in the Rhine-Neckar region to help alleviate supply bottlenecks. The company has obtained quick regulatory approvals to begin the production, and several tonnes of isopropanol have already been re-allocated to enable hand sanitizer production at the site. So far, BASF has been producing certain raw materials that can be used to make disinfectant products, but not hand sanitizers.