Partnership creates alcohol-free sanitisers

Article by Amanda Doyle

A PARTNERSHIP between researchers at Aston University, UK, and EcoMotive has developed alcohol-free hand and surface sanitisers for use against Covid-19, which protect the skin against the virus for up to six hours.

EcoMotive is a green motor care company that had originally partnered with Aston University to develop fuel additives to reduce emissions from vehicles. However, during the Covid-19 pandemic, the collaboration changed its research objectives to producing a hand sanitiser that could effectively kill the virus, but was alcohol-free, odourless, non-flammable, and kinder to skin.

Scientists from Aston University’s Smarterials programme, part of the Aston Institute of Materials Research (AIMR), refined the chemical formulations of the sanitiser and certified it to required standards. The sanitiser range, marketed under the name Hygiene Pro, uses benzalkonium chloride instead of alcohol. Benzalkonium chloride is an antimicrobial compound widely used in the healthcare industry.

The sanitiser creates a barrier by forming a microemulsion that has a sustained release system which keeps the sanitiser effective for hours. It will protect against the virus for six hours on hands, and 30 days on surfaces.

Paul Topham, Head of the Chemical Engineering and Applied Chemistry (CEAC) Department and Director of the Smarterials programme at Aston University, said: “This is a great example of how our strong partnerships with SMEs result in practical solutions to real-world problems. It’s incredibly satisfying to see that our work with EcoMotive has led to safer, longer-lasting sanitisers coming on stream so quickly to better protect people from Covid-19. We are excited to see how much more work we can do with companies to make real differences to our local, national and global communities.”

The partnership is currently producing 20,000 L/week and plans to scale this up to 200,000 L/w.

Article by Amanda Doyle

Staff Reporter, The Chemical Engineer

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