A leading regional business is making a big contribution to the fight against COVID-19, producing millions of litres of a crucial hand sanitiser ingredient.

The family-owned Manildra Group has announced it is expanding its state-of-the-art regional distillery to produce an additional 90 million litres of ethanol.

“We’ve been operating our world-class distillery round-the-clock to increase the production of pharmaceutical-grade ethanol, the active ingredient in hand sanitisers and surface disinfectants. The use of these products has skyrocketed as a result of coronavirus,” Manildra Group managing director John Honan said.

“This product is vital in the frontline fight by NSW Health and essential services workers – who we have been able to equip with hand sanitiser for the safety of patients, workers and communities.”

Hand sanitiser with at least 60 per cent alcohol as the active ingredient is recommended by the World Health Organisation as part of the global fight against the coronavirus pandemic.

“This investment will provide more than one hundred jobs during construction as well as provide additional ongoing employment opportunities at Manildra Group’s ethanol plant. This further investment will provide a much-needed boost to the local community and the NSW economy,” Mr Honan said.

Manildra’s seven-column, grain-neutral ethanol distillery – the largest in Australia – distils premium ethyl alcohol into a range of grades for food and spirits, pharmaceuticals and personal care products, industrial applications and transport fuels.

Located in Nowra Manildra Group uses only premium GMO-free wheat as a feedstock in the fermentation process.

“We’re proud to be able to assist the nation during this crisis – working with government, frontline agencies, hand sanitiser and cleaning product manufacturers to meet the demand for locally- produced ethanol,” Mr Honan said.

“Manildra Group has been producing ethanol since 1992 and we’ve never experienced such an unprecedented level of demand.

“The coronavirus pandemic has highlighted the importance of local-manufacturing and we would encourage the nation to continue to support Australian manufacturing, local jobs and buy Australian made.”

Working with NSW’s Rural and Remote Medical Services, Manildra Group has been able to provide thousands of litres of ‘Stay Safe’ hand sanitiser for delivery to rural, remote and indigenous general practices, pharmacies, aged care homes, ambulance, police and other essential services who need it.