Quebec company converts self-serve windshield washer fluid dispenser into hand sanitizer pump

Quebec-based company Station Lave-Glace has converted some of its windshield washer fluid pumps to dispense disinfectant amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Two self-serve pumps have been put into operation on Montreal’s south shore.

The dispensers, originally made to produce jug-free windshield washer fluid, now provide a 70 per cent alcohol-based disinfectant.

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One has been installed outside an IGA grocery store in the town of Chambly. The second is located outside Station Lave-Glace’s office in Saint-Bruno.

At a cost of $2.00 for 100 millilitres, customers can fill up their reusable containers with the liquid sanitizer.

“It works exactly like a fuel pump — there is not much difference,” said Pierre Néron, Cristal Innovation president and creator of the self-serve stations.

“People come with everything from Tupperwares, jugs to Coke bottles.”

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Néron says he got the idea after hearing about the shortage of hand sanitizer on the market.

Since it’s usually made in a gel format, Néron said the windshield washer fluid pumps would not be able to handle the thick substance.

But by using the liquid alcohol-based product, not much needed to be done to convert the 800-litre pumps.

The machine handles the liquid as it would the windshield washer fluid, Néron said.

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The machines were installed two weeks ago and already customers have been flocking to use them, Néron said.

“This is a great idea during emergencies when you can’t find any hand sanitizer in stores,” Jamie Patenaude said after filling up her jug for the first time.

Patenaude said she was curious when she heard about the novel pump and was surprised by the price, only filling half of her four-litre container.

“I can tell you, the price goes up faster than you think,” Patenaude said.

Néron blames the high prices on the demand for sanitizer on the market.

He agrees the price is higher than he would like.

“I know it’s expensive. It cost a lot to fill this 800-litre tank,” he said.

With growing interest in the technology, Néron says he is working to develop plans for a modified version of the dispenser.

He aims to make the pumps smaller and adapted to filling up containers.

In the meantime, Néron is looking into converting six more stations to be distributed throughout the Greater Montreal area.

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