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Swansea University Manufactures Hand Sanitiser for the NHS

Ella Newington
29 April 2020

Specific Hand Sanitiser

A solar tech lab at Swansea University has temporarily switched to producing 5000 litres of hand sanitiser a week, to help the NHS fight the coronavirus outbreak. The sanitiser, which meets the standard set by the World Health Organization, is already in use in the Welsh NHS.

The team is made up of over 30 volunteers from three different Swansea University Colleges and Schools whose mission is to support Wales’ NHS heroes whilst they fight the global pandemic on the front line.

Manufacturing is being led by SPECIFIC Innovation and Knowledge Centre, who specialise in solar research and in developing?buildings that generate, store and release their own solar energy.

The team is working closely with local manufacturers to procure the vast quantities of ingredients needed. One of the largest rum distillers in Wales, Coles Brewery, have diverted their rum production to ethanol in order to produce the hand sanitiser, as well as upscaling their production in a very short time to meet the demand. Swansea University spin-out, Hexigone Inhibitors, has also lent their staff and manufacturing expertise to the project during its set-up.

The manufacturing process has also been tweaked and refined throughout the week with new equipment being built-in house. The team devised a multi-head bottling apparatus which can fill a 5L bottle in 20 seconds rather than 60 seconds.

Following production, with the help of Chemcycle, the hand sanitiser is delivered to NHS distribution networks so that it can feed into the existing supply chains at the two local health boards.

Professor Dave Worsley, Vice President of Innovation at Swansea University, said:

“We’ve got a rich heritage of manufacturing in South Wales, and as a University, we were eager to adapt our skills and facilities to help protect our NHS heroes. The long-term supply chain will replenish stock eventually but making hand sanitiser locally is a great way to fill the gap. We’ve worked incredibly hard to get to this stage so quickly and, as a team, we’re excited to be at a point where we are distributing the sanitiser locally.”

Read the full SPECIFIC IKC blog here.

Swansea University would like to thanks the following local businesses that have also been instrumental in getting the sanitiser to the front line. A true collaborative effort…

Fluid Power Solutions Wales: Supplied a variety of dispensers and pipe fittings, at very short notice, to enable the  team to connect the pieces of equipment together and transfer the sanitiser effectively. 

Roberts Direct Ltd: Has helped with daily deliveries and unloading the enormous mixing vessels for the sanitiser. Without their equipment it would have been an impossible task! 

Perkin Elmer: Have assisted the team in setting up quality control checks and have prepared an application note on hand sanitiser analysis 

Greenbuild Consult: Worked with the facilities team as consultants on health and safety, as well as keeping the team up to date with regulations as they have changed during the crisis.

Hybrisan: Sourced and donated the first 600 bottles for free in order to get the santiser to the front line quickly.

Centregreat: Also supplied bottles and screw caps for free in order to keep up with NHS demand.