An international team has developed a simple, one-step process to produce small quantities of hydrogen peroxide, which can be used to purify water. This process could give underdeveloped regions of the world access to clean water.
Hydrogen peroxide is typically made through an energy-intensive, multistep process. For that process to be economical, the hydrogen peroxide must be made in large quantities at high concentrations, but the most common uses of H2O2 (e.g., disinfectant, hair bleach, teeth whitener) require it in dilute concentrations. Thus, the concentrated H2O2 made by the conventional industrial method must be diluted at the point of use.
A simple process that could directly produce dilute H2O2 could give communities without the infrastructure and other means to produce H2O2 at large scale access to this versatile chemical. The most promising method to date for synthesizing H2O2 from hydrogen and oxygen on a small scale involves a palladium-based catalyst. The problem with that approach is that H2O2 is very reactive, and in the presence of hydrogen, it undergoes hydrogenation and decomposition reactions to form...
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