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ExxonMobil steps in with key hand sanitiser ingredient

Oil major ExxonMobil has stepped in to help a firm in New Jersey pivot its production away from personal care items to medical-grade hand sanitiser, which is currently in high demand.

ExxonMobil is well known as an oil producer and a downstream operator making products like the Mobil 1 passenger car engine oil, but it also makes most of the world’s isopropyl alcohol (IPA), which, like ethanol, is necessary for making hand sanitiser. In fact, the process for making IPA was pioneered by ExxonMobil’s predecessor Standard Oil in 1920.

When E.T. Browne decided to switch its production over to making medical-grade hand sanitiser, it needed to source IPA in quantity quickly. While there is nothing new about ExxonMobil supplying IPA, the oil major acted quickly when the Chemistry Council of New Jersey alerted its members to E.T. Browne’s needs.

The company had been looking at shutting down and sending its 300 factory workers home, but E.T. Browne and its employers can now look forward to a more secure future. E.T. Browne’s director of special projects, Jordan Nissensohn, had this to say:

“Our business was facing extreme uncertainty—we had never seen anything like this. Pivoting to produce hand sanitizer, and securing the IPA that goes into it, is the biggest source of optimism we have today.”

The first shipment of the company’s hand sanitiser went out before the Easter weekend to the Lehigh Valley Health Network and the Army and Air Force Exchange Service.

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