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GranBio Technologies repurposes biorefinery for hand sanitizer production

In the United States (US), GranBio Technologies has via its wholly-owned subsidiary AVAPCO LLC, converted its biorefinery research facility in Thomaston, Georgia (GA) to the production of hand sanitizer to assist organizations and consumers that are experiencing difficulties obtaining hand sanitizer products during the nationwide COVID-19 Public Health Emergency.

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The AVAPCO Thomaston Biorefinery in Thomaston, Georgia (GA) produces cellulose (pulp) and ethanol from woody biomass in an integrated biorefinery application (photo courtesy AVAPCO).

Targeted customers include nursing homes, small businesses, hospitals, police and fire departments, universities, and individual consumers.

The product is sold in one-gallon (≈ 3.785 litre) bottles and 50-gallon drums. AVAPCO is registered with the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as an over-the-counter (OTC) drug manufacturer to prepare alcohol-based hand sanitizers pursuant to FDA’s Temporary Policy for the Preparation of Certain Alcohol-Based Hand Sanitizer Products During the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency declared by the Secretary of Health and Human Services.

Since 2012, our Thomaston Biorefinery has developed technologies for the production of biofuels, biochemicals, and advanced renewable materials from biomass such as wood and agricultural residues. When we learned of the unparalleled shortage at critical institutions across the US, we redeployed our unique assets for hand sanitizer production to assist our communities during this exceptional crisis. Our biorefinery is well equipped for this task, with a classified production area for handling flammable solvents (ethanol), an on-site R&D laboratory with state-of-the-art analytical equipment for quality testing, and highly trained technical operations and laboratory staff, said Ken Hill, Chief Commercial Officer for GranBio Technologies,

GranBio Technologies is a subsidiary of GranBio Investimentos S.A. (São Paulo, Brazil), an industrial biotechnology company focused on the commercial deployment of technologies for the production of biofuels, biochemicals, and advanced renewable materials, including nanocellulose.

WHO-compliant ethanol-based formulation

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), at present, alcohol-based hand sanitizers are the only known means for rapidly and effectively inactivating a wide array of potentially harmful microorganisms on hands.

In efforts to support the adoption of alcohol-based hand sanitizers as the gold standard for hand hygiene, WHO has developed recommended formulations for local preparation when suitable commercial products are either unavailable or too costly.

GranBio’s hand sanitizer utilizes the WHO-recommended ethanol-based formulation.

We are meticulous with our operating procedures and regulatory compliance across several agencies to ensure that our product is effective and widely available as we support our local institutions, said facility manager Cody Gallaher.

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