CropEnergies supplies ethanol for use in disinfectants

By Erin Voegele | March 25, 2020

European ethanol producer CropEnergies has announced plans to alter its operations and partially shift production from fuel ethanol to neutral alcohol in order to help meet the need for disinfectants during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The company issued a statement on March 18 announcing its plans and urging the German Federal Ministry of Finance to immediate remove the alcohol tax hurdles for the use of undenatured fuel ethanol as a disinfectant.

The company also said it is examining all possibilities to maintain high levels of production during the pandemic, but cautioned the general curfew imposed in Belgium on March 17 will delay the timely completion of maintenance work at its ethanol plant in Wanze, Belgium.

"We are monitoring the current market situation and will react promptly,” said Joachim Lutz, CEO of CropEnergies. "We would like to thank all our employees who are doing an excellent job in this absolutely exceptional situation. Our thanks also go to our customers and suppliers for their uncomplicated and flexible cooperation.”

CropEnergies released a follow-up statement on March 22 announcing it is expanding production volumes of neutral alcohol “as far as technically possible” and is asking customers who are not in the disinfection market to “make arrangements in the current situation.”

The statement also indicates authorities in Germany, France and Austria have approved technical alcohol for use in disinfections, subject to certain quality requirements. CropEnergies said its technical alcohol meets those requirements and can be used to make disinfectants.