Green Method could enable In-house Production of Hydrogen Peroxide

Technology

In a new development, a team of researchers have developed a portable, and more eco-friendly method to generate hydrogen peroxide. With this development, hospitals could make their own on-demand supply of disinfectant and at lower costs.

The published paper of the work carried out as a collaboration between University of California, Columbia University, the University of Calgary, Brookhaven National Laboratory, and the University of California is available for access in Nature Communications.

Meanwhile, hydrogen peroxide recently made headlines as medical centers and researchers test its viability for decontaminating N95 masks due to their shortages amidst COVID-19 pandemic.

Whilst results so far have been promising, the chemical’s poor shelf life is a concern among some researchers. For this reason, the efforts for the use of the chemical for decontamination could be costly. Reason, hydrogen peroxide is not stable. Even before the bottle opened, hydrogen peroxide starts breaking into oxygen and water. The breaking of the chemical happens even more rapidly on exposure to air or light.

Short Shelf Life limits Duration of Use

“Due to this, the shelf life of hydrogen peroxide remains short, making it suitable for use only for a couple of months,” stated one of the researchers involved in the work. And, it decomposes so fast, therefore, makes shipping and storing very expensive.

Meanwhile, the team of researchers developed an in-house method to produce hydrogen peroxide which is quick, inexpensive, and simple. The method employs a small flask, air, a catalyst, electricity, and off-the-shelf electrolyte.

“The aim is to develop a portable setup, which simply can be plugged in for hospitals, and even households to produce hydrogen peroxide,” said one of the researchers. This saves shipping, saves from storing, and saves the rush to use it before it expires. This could result in 50 -70% cost savings.

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