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The production of hydrogen peroxide can be much safer and simpler through a process developed at Rice University.
A reactor developed by Haotian Wang and his colleagues at Rice's Brown School of Engineering requires only air, water and electricity to make the valuable chemical in the desired concentration and high purity.
Electrosynthesis - Process - Science - Carbon - Catalyst
Their electrosynthesis process, detailed in Science, uses an oxidized carbon nanoparticle-based catalyst and could enable point-of-use production of pure hydrogen peroxide solutions, eliminating the need to transport the concentrated chemical, which is hazardous.
By using a solid electrolyte instead of traditional liquid electrolyte, it also eliminates the need for product separation or purification used in current processes, so no contaminating ions will be involved.
Panel - Peroxide - Air - Water - Wang
"If we have electricity from a solar panel, we can literally get hydrogen peroxide from just sunlight, air and water," said Wang. "We don't need to involve organics or fossil fuel consumption. Hydrogen peroxide synthesis by traditional, huge chemical engineering plants generates organic wastes, consumes fossil fuels and emits carbon dioxide. What we're doing is green synthesis."
Hydrogen peroxide is widely used as an antiseptic, a detergent, in cosmetics, as a bleaching agent and in water purification, among many other applications. The compound is produced in industrial concentrations of up to 60% solution with water, but in many common uses, the solution is far more diluted.
Industrial - Hydrogen - Peroxide - Concentrations - Economics
"Industrial hydrogen peroxide has to be transported in high concentrations to maximize the economics," Wang said.
"Transportation is hazardous and costly because the concentrated compound is unstable. Hydrogen peroxide also degrades over time, and has to be stored once it gets to its destination.
Technology - Production - Hydrogen - Peroxide - Electricity
"Our technology delocalizes the production of hydrogen peroxide," he said. "As renewable electricity input gets cheaper, air is free and water is also cheap, our product should be competitive in terms of price.
"Instead of storing containers of hydrogen peroxide, hospitals that use it...
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