At Wageningen Food & Biobased Research (part of Wageningen University & Research) a new process is being developed for local and sustainable production of hydrogen peroxide without the use of chemicals. This hydrogen peroxide can be used for disinfection or oxidation purposes, for example in the food and water sector. It is produced from water and oxygen using a special electrochemical cell.

By extracting oxygen from air, the basic ingredients of the process are therefore only air, water and electricity. This means that the production of hydrogen peroxide not only takes place where it is used, but can also be adjusted to the desired concentration and quantity. This no longer requires the transport and storage of hydrogen peroxide and thus significantly improves the safety of its use. This patented technology can also be used as an alternative for in situ chlorine electrolysis systems, which are widespread in the market for oxidation and disinfection purposes.

The challenge in the process development is to produce hydrogen peroxide at a competitive price. This depends, among other things, on the efficiency of electricity consumption in the conversion from water and oxygen. The choice of materials and the design of the electrochemical cell are crucial and therefore the subject of the research.

This development started at WUR a number of years ago and has taken shape in a number of successive projects. The most recent developments have been carried out in projects under an arrangement of the Topsector Agri & Food.

A project that has been running since the beginning of 2020, is looking in particular at the selection of materials for a high electrical efficiency and – due to the highly oxidizing nature of hydrogen peroxide –stable process conditions.

A new project has recently been started, where the development is further shaped in collaboration with the industrial partners ACN Water Treatment, Royal Avebe, Pure Water Group and W&F Technologies by working on a higher purity of the hydrogen peroxide produced. With a different design of the electrochemical cell, the use of salt solutions is avoided. The final goal is to demonstrate the technology on a small scale in a practical application in 2022.

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