green Chemistry, environmental, waste reduction, clean process, nanocatalyst
A nanotechnology platform developed at Headwaters Technology Innovation (HTI) has many applications. A case study based on synthesis of hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) from hydrogen and oxygen will be used as an example and discussed. H2O2 is a clean, environmentally friendly oxidant that can substitute for environmentally harmful chlorinated oxidants in many manufacturing operations. However, the current H2O2 manufacturing process is complex, high cost, and energy-intensive. This process uses an anthraquinone working solution containing several toxic and hazardous chemicals, which cause environmental pollution when disposed. HTI has developed a nanocatalyst technology that enables the synthesis of H2O2 from hydrogen and oxygen. This breakthrough technology eliminates all the hazardous chemicals of the existing process, along with its undesirable byproducts. It produces H2O2 more efficiently, cutting both energy use and costs, and generates no toxic-waste. The technology enables a simple, environmentally friendly, commercially viable H2O2 manufacturing process. In partnership with Evonik (a major H2O2 manufacturer), HTI successfully demonstrated its technology in a pilot plant. Tests in a commercial demo-plant are being conducted. Construction of a full-scale commercial plant is planned to start in 2009. The project received 2007 Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Award from EPA.