SIOUX FALLS — Ethanol producer Poet said Wednesday the company has created an ethanol-based sanitizer to tackle the shortage of those products in South Dakota.

Poet donated 220 gallons of sanitizer, produced at its Chancellor biorefinery, to the city of Sioux Falls and 780 16-ounce bottles to the South Dakota Health Care Coalition.

Earlier this month, Poet said it had to idle production at three ethanol plants, including the Chancellor site, and delayed opening a new plant in Indiana, due to plummeting fuel demand overwhelming the market.

These groups will then distribute to nursing homes, assisted living facilities, firefighters, EMS, and other frontline workers. Poet is also donating sanitizer to Pioneer Memorial Hospital and Health Services in Viborg, which provides health services to many of the Poet team members who work at the Chancellor facility.

“A great strength of the American economy is its ability to adapt. I am grateful Poet has shifted production to much needed hand sanitizer for first responders, including Sioux Falls police, fire rescue and EMS personnel. Sioux Falls is fortunate to have a great community partner and corporate citizen like Poet headquartered here” said Sioux Falls Mayor Paul TenHaken in a statement.

Poet said it enlisted its researchers and production staff to create the sanitizer and did so by using existing resources and expertise. The donations will go to long-term care centers in Lincoln, Minnehaha and McCook counties.

Poet partnered with local companies, including Senproco Inc. to bottle the sanitizer and Cimarron to provide the labels. The additional supply of sanitizer comes at a critical time as cases are increasing across the state.