June 24, 2021

The authorization of the use of bioethanol will multiply the manufacture of gels and disinfectants




The Business Federation of the Spanish Chemical Industry (Feique), together with the Association of Detergents and Cleaning, Maintenance and Related Products (Adelma) and the National Association of Perfumery and Cosmetics (Stanpa), have collaborated with the Administration, from the declaration of the alarm status, to promote the authorization of the use of bioethanol as an alternative alcohol for the manufacture of gels and disinfectant products for hands and surfaces, a measure that has finally been adopted by the Ministry of Health in successive ministerial orders that have ended today.

This authorization will allow the availability of alcohol in Spain to be multiplied by ten for the manufacture of these products, which will lead to covering all the demand of the national market. Spain is one of the largest European producers of bioethanol, through the company Vertex Bioenergy, a member of the Spanish Bioethanol Association (Bio-E), which has three facilities: Biofuels from Castilla y León (Salamanca), Ecocarburantes Españoles (Cartagena ) and Bioethanol from Galicia (A Coruña). In this way, the pressure on the market for alcohols, also used for the manufacture of medicines and multiple industrial products, will be greatly alleviated.

Since bioethanol is not registered as an active substance for the manufacture of biocides or hydrogels, Feique requested the Ministry of Health and the Spanish Agency of Medicines and Health Products (AEMPS), authorization, exceptionally, of this alcohol for the formulation of different types of disinfectant products, giving its authorization to the Ministry of Health, firstly, on March 26, for its use as an active substance for surface disinfectants; Subsequently, on April 7 as a surface disinfectant for the food industry, culminating today April 11 with the publication of the technical specifications for use in solutions and hydroalcoholic gels for hand disinfection -products in contact with the skin-, through of the AEMPS.

In the absence of alcohols as they are ethanol and isopropanol, which are practically not produced in Spain and whose availability in the international market is almost nil Due to the high global demand, the chemical sector has worked intensively since the start of the state of alarm on bioethanol as an alternative, a product obtained from the fermentation of different raw materials. It is also a product of which Spain has an installed capacity of more than 500,000 tons per year, of which 30% can be used for sanitary use, which would mean having 285 million liters of hydroalcoholic gels and disinfectants.

The relevance of the authorization of bioethanol as an alternative alcohol It lies not only in making it possible to manufacture and supply these disinfecting and virucidal products, but also in allowing ethanol and isopropanol to be released for the production of other types of cleaners, pharmaceuticals, printing inks, solvents and others that were in difficulties in supplying and for which bioethanol is not the most suitable solution.

In addition to the support of ADELMA and Stanpa, Feique is counting on the maximum involvement of other sectors such as the transformation of plastics, which, through its association ANAIP, is playing a fundamental role in guarantee the supply of packaging, caps and dosing systems, indispensable for the distribution of these gels and disinfectant products.


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