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Valero Energy begins production of bulk hand sanitizer at Iowa ethanol plant

In the United States (US), Valero Energy Corporation (Valero), the world’s second-largest corn ethanol producer has announced that its ethanol operations have begun production of hand sanitizer at its Hartley, Iowa (IA), ethanol plant. Valero’s bulk production will help alleviate the supply shortages of hand sanitizer needed by health care organizations and first responders as they combat the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Acquired from VeraSun Energy in April 2009, the Valero Hartley ethanol biorefinery is a dry-mill plant that processes around  49 million bushels (≈ 1.24 million tonnes) of corn into approximately 140 million gallons (≈ 560 million litres) of denatured ethanol and 362 134 tonnes of distillers grains co-products (photo courtesy Valero).

According to a statement, Valero received registration approval from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in record time. With quick action from the government and unprecedented efforts by Valero employees, hand sanitizer is being made.

Valero expects to distribute its sanitizer to its ethanol plants and refineries and on to local hospitals and emergency care providers.

We are ready and willing to do what we can in communities surrounding our plants to help ease the nation’s critical shortage of hand sanitizer. I am proud of our employees for their innovation and efforts to make this possible, said Joe Gorder, Chairman, and CEO of Valero Energy Corporation.

With 14 ethanol plants in the US with a combined production capacity of 1.73 billion (US) gallons (≈ 6.55 billion litres) per year, Valero is the world’s second-largest corn ethanol producer and is “proactively reaching out” to hospitals, emergency responders and other organizations nearby Valero’s plants to assess their needs for hand sanitizer and evaluate similar production at its other ethanol plants.

Through its subsidiaries, Valero Energy Corporation is an international manufacturer and marketer of transportation fuels and petrochemical products. The company operates 15 petroleum refineries in the US, Canada, and the UK with a combined throughput capacity of approximately 3.2 million barrels per day.

Valero also is a joint venture partner in Diamond Green Diesel, which operates a renewable diesel plant in Norco, Louisiana. Diamond Green Diesel is North America’s largest biomass-based diesel plant.

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