16. Apr 2020

BASF makes hand sanitiser from bioethanol in Ludwigshafen in fight against Coronavirus

BASF makes hand sanitiser from bioethanol in Ludwigshafen in fight against Coronavirus

BASF is significantly expanding the production of disinfectant at its Ludwigshafen site. In addition to the isopropanol-based hand sanitizer manufactured to date, BASF has now started production of hand sanitizer based on bioethanol.

With the additional quantities of up to 100,000 liters of hand sanitizer per week, the company will support the new nationwide “Notversorgung Desinfektionsmittel” (Emergency Provision of Sanitizer) online platform of the German Chemical Industry Association free of charge.

“The chemical industry in Germany recognizes its responsibilities and is contributing towards supporting our health care system during the coronavirus pandemic. BASF is proud to also be part of the VCI initiative and distribute hand sanitizer throughout the country for free. In addition, we can now also expand our supplies to the local area,” said Michael Heinz, member of the Board of Executive Directors of BASF SE and Site Director of Ludwigshafen.

Previously, BASF had produced only hand sanitizer containing isopropanol in a pilot plant at the Ludwigshafen site. Now the conditions are in place for a further plant in which bioethanol is also to be used as a starting material. 

Ethanol was recently approved by the authorities as an additional ingredient. The majority of the resulting extra quantities will be distributed free of charge via the VCI online platform, which was launched a few days ago. This digital marketplace aims to bring together suppliers and potential consumers and coordinate the supply of materials to large-scale consumers on a nationwide scale. The platform is available online at https://notfalldesinfektion.vci.de/.

Processing via the VCI platform is supported by BTC Europe GmbH, the European distribution organization of BASF for the sale of specialty chemicals to small and medium-sized customers with its headquarters in Monheim. BTC Europe ensures that the requests submitted to the platform are processed efficiently and that the disinfectant is distributed throughout Germany. As previously, BASF will continue to provide some of the additional quantities free of charge to health care services in the Metropolitan Region Rhine-Neckar (MRN) and beyond.

More than 2,000 requests from all over Germany

BASF has gradually expanded the Helping Hands aid campaign over recent weeks. After the company initially only provided hospitals in the MRN with free hand sanitizer, the campaign was broadened to include GP doctor offices that provide local emergency care in the MRN. In addition, BASF now also supplies the disinfectants to towns, cities and administrative districts in the MRN, which in turn provide them to other local institutions, especially nursing homes.

The demand is enormous: Up to now, well over 2,000 hospitals, doctor offices and other health care institutions throughout Germany have been contacted BASF. As the production capacities of isopropanol-based disinfectant are limited to around 35 metric tons per week at the Ludwigshafen site, supplies needed to be prioritized from the very beginning. Thanks to the additional quantities of bioethanol-based disinfectant, the support of cities and municipalities in the MRN can now be expanded further. Other German BASF sites such as Schwarzheide, Münster and Düsseldorf are launching similar initiatives. There, too, BASF is playing its part in addressing the bottleneck in disinfectant supplies during the COVID-19 crisis.

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