Chemical manufacturer producing ethanol-based hand sanitizer

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Grand Rapids-based Haviland Enterprises, working with chemical supplier Rochester Hills-based Plymouth Technology, is taking advantage of a new Food and Drug Administration concession that allows the use of denatured ethanol in hand sanitizer production to make large volumes of it to help during the COVID-19 pandemic. Courtesy Plymouth Technology

A local chemical company is working to produce and sell more than 100,000 gallons of hand sanitizer it is making from denatured ethanol.

Grand Rapids-based Haviland Enterprises, working with chemical supplier Rochester Hills-based Plymouth Technology, is taking advantage of a new Food and Drug Administration concession that allows the use of denatured ethanol in hand sanitizer production to make large volumes of it to help during the COVID-19 pandemic.

While sheltering in place, Amanda Richie, CEO of Plymouth Technology, learned about the hand sanitizer shortage due to the lack of availability of alcohol, a key ingredient.

She said she also knew her company, which supplies specialty chemicals and application services to many Midwest manufacturing plants, including ethanol manufacturers, could step up and help.

Richie connected with Michael Karasiewicz, CEO of Haviland Enterprises, a chemical distribution, manufacturing and packaging company based in Grand Rapids.

Haviland had a small-scale hand sanitizer manufacturing operation underway as of March 27 but became hamstrung by a lack of alcohol for the product formula.

“In less than two weeks, we were able to work with Haviland to source the specialty denaturant and utilize our connections in ethanol to source significant volumes of product that (is allowing) us to manufacture weekly batches of hand sanitizer utilizing Haviland’s facility in Kalamazoo and Plymouth’s facility in Rochester Hills,” Richie said.

“We will donate 25% of production to frontline responders. We will continue to produce product as long as feasible and as long as there is a need.”

The portion of the product that is being made available for sale is being priced at market value in 5-gallon and 55-gallon containers and will offset the cost of manufacturing the donated goods, according to Plymouth Technology.

The hand sanitizer is being jointly labeled Plymouth Technology and Haviland Enterprises and is available now.

Haviland is fulfilling large orders, and both companies are offering pickup locations. The local one is at Haviland’s facility at 421 Ann St. NW in Grand Rapids.

Those with donation requests for the product can contact Handsanitzer@havilandusa.com.

People seeking to buy the product can contact danb@havilandusa.com.

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