March 17, 2020 / 9:43 AM / in 24 days

Cristal Union switches biofuel unit to alcohol to meet disinfectant demand

PARIS, March 17 (Reuters) - French sugar group Cristal Union will stop producing ethanol biofuel at one of its plants to switch it to alcohol as demand for disinfectants surges across the globe to counter a fast-spreading coronavirus.

Ethanol producers worldwide have experienced a rise in demand for their products due to customers stockpiling hand sanitizer as the coronavirus outbreak worsens.

“Cristal Union has decided to shut down temporarily the production of bioethanol at the Arcis sur Aube distillery to redirect its production towards ethyl alcohol,” it said in a statement.

The factory, located in northeastern France, has a capacity of 250,000 cubic metres a year, a spokeswoman said.

Cristal Union will continue to produce bioethanol fuel at Cristanol, another major distillery, but in smaller proportions, it said. (Reporting by Sybille de La Hamaide, editing by Louise Heavens)

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