Stanford researchers have developed a low cost, portable device for small scale decentralized electrochemical production of hydrogen peroxide.

About

Background:

Stanford researchers have developed a low cost, portable device for small scale decentralized electrochemical production of hydrogen peroxide. This device can be used to remove pollutants from drinking water with no harmful residues which can be particularly valuable in the developing world. In addition, coupled with an alkaline electrolyte, the product solution can directly be used in the chemical industry, e.g. pulp and processing. 
Produced at a rate of 3M tons/year, H2O2 is one of the most important industrial chemicals widely used as a bleaching and oxidation agent. While chlorine is currently the standard for water purification due to its low cost, chlorine treatment residuals (haloalkanes) are toxic and potential carcinogens. 
As a water cleaning and bleaching agent, especially in drinking water treatment, H2O2 is a superior candidate. However, currently H2O2 is produced via anthraquinone process in large commercial batches and is expensive, energy intensive, dangerous to transport.
This invention describes a new route to produce H2O2 in a manner that can be deployed on-site, as-needed, and coupled to renewable energy to make for a sustainable process. 
A prototype has been tested successfully (see video below). This device has the potential to be used in many industries and in many regions across the globe.

Stage of Research: 

Prototype successfully tested 
Continued work to improve catalyst performance 
Study to reduce the pH closer to neutral condition
Testing if circulating electrolyte system will help the long-term stability of the device


Applications:

Low cost water purification with minimum harmful residuals (can be especially useful in the developing world)
One-step bleaching agent synthesis for the chemical industry (e.g. pulp and processing)
Can be used for disinfecting surfaces, e.g. restaurants and hospitals

Advantages:

Low cost, small scale, and decentralized synthesis of hydrogen peroxide to remove pollutants from drinking water with no residues
Easy, scalable manufacturing and assembling process with no metal pieces
Operates at standard temperature and pressure
No Nafion membrane involved compared to other devices, which lowers the overall cost and increase the stability
Flexibility to run either as a fuel-cell or electrolyzer
Starting reagents are readily available, air and water
De-centralized, just in time delivery of hydrogen peroxide
 

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