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A new whey: Cayuga County company makes sanitizer from dairy

July 31, 2020. Summarized by summa-bot.

The hand sanitizer you use during the COVID-19 pandemic could be coming from an unlikely source: dairy byproducts.

The hand sanitizer you use during the COVID-19 pandemic could be coming from an unlikely source: dairy byproducts. If so, that sanitizer is also most likely coming from Cayuga County. New Age Renewable Energy, operating under the trade name Cayuga Ingredients, has been making BOS Hand Sanitizer at a King Ferry facility since the pandemic began.

New Age Director Eduard Zaydman told The Citizen on Thursday that BOS is made using a process developed by the company's co-founder, Joe Van Groll, over the last decade.

For every gallon of ethanol distilled at New Age, about one pound of yeast protein and five gallons of water are produced. "That's the beauty of our process," he said.

After a few years that included working with universities and building a research and development facility, they began looking to launch an industrial project. Zaydman, of Brooklyn, saw "enormous opportunity" in New York state, whose dairy production is third nationally to Wisconsin and Idaho.

Finding local dairy producers to supply byproducts was a bit easier: New Age's partners include Cayuga Milk Ingredients in Aurelius and Greek yogurt maker Chobani in Chenango County. Just when New Age was ready to begin production in King Ferry in March, the COVID-19 pandemic arrived — and with it, a spike in demand for sanitizer.

Zaydman also touted the sustainability of New Age's process, saying it uses a third as much energy as other ethanol producers. Though all the ethanol created by New Age's process is being made into sanitizer, the process still results in yeast protein for animal feed, as well as water.

He also looks forward to the day when New Age can begin producing alcohol for beverages. "It will be a particularly special moment for us, after having produced alcohol to sanitize, when we produce it to celebrate," he said.

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