European ethanol producers CropEnergies and Cristal Union last week said they will switch some production to provide an ingredient for disinfectant products needed in the fight against the novel coronavirus.

CropEnergies of Germany said that to respond to the growing demand for ethanol for disinfectants, it will shift part of its production from fuel alcohol to neutral alcohol. The company called on the country’s finance ministry to eliminate the alcohol tax hurdles for using undenatured fuel ethanol as disinfectant.

Cristal Union of France will stop making bioethanol in its distillery in Aube and will instead produce alcohol intended for the pharmaceutical industry and biotechnologies in response to “the explosion in demand” for this type of alcohol, especially for disinfectants. Cristal Union’s Cristanol distillery will keep producing bioethanol, but in a smaller proportion.

Petrochemical market information provider ICIS reported that spot prices for Europe industrial ethanol are spiking and that biofuel producers, gin distillers and perfume makers are moving to ethanol production. At the same time, there could be a big fall in demand for fuel ethanol because of the increasing movement restrictions across Europe.

Provided by Renewables Now exclusively for Essentica.

Image by CropEnergies, Photo: Martin Jehnichen