Hand sanitizer

The COVID-19 pandemic has lead to a sharp increase in demand for hand sanitizer worldwide. To meet this demand, some are making ethanol-based hand sanitizer. But Israel doesn't produce its own ethanol, and the demand for the substance has made importing it all the more difficult for the nation. So in an effort to help their country, researchers at Tel Aviv University are creating ethanol from plant and paper waste, according to news report.

To convert the waste into ethanol, the researchers use a novel lignin degradation method, which could reduce production costs, while also benefiting the environment by decreasing greenhouse gas emissions and certain pollutants, according to the university. Lignin is found in agricultural waste and is vital to the formation of cell walls in plants.

The professor leading the effort says the process could not only help to make ethanol in Israel, but other remote countries, too. Ethanol is commonly made from sugar cane or corn, but it's hard to make it this way in some areas of the world because the production requires a lot of land, water and the ability to grow the crops. 

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