Pulp and Paper
A large part of the world’s production of hydrogen peroxide is used for pulp-bleaching. It is used both for mechanical and chemical pulps. In paper recycling plants, it finds its application as a de-inking agent.
The mining industry uses hydrogen peroxide to increase its production efficiency during the extraction and purification processes which ultimately improve yields. Hydrogen peroxide is also used to remove cyanide from process water which helps to lower the impact on the environment.
In the manufacture of chemicals, it is mainly used as an oxidizing agent but in some applications also as a reducing agent. It is soluble in several organic solvents including water and the substrate itself. The rise in demand is mainly coming from the use of hydrogen peroxide in the production of propylene oxide and cyclohexanone oxime, which are key intermediates in the production of polymers. Additionally, it can be also be used for organic peroxides synthesis.
Food and beverage
Hydrogen peroxide is a highly microbiologically safe reagent that can be used as a sterilizing agent of the processing equipment and in the treatment of food contact packaging material.
Food grade hydrogen peroxide is an effective disinfecting agent used to prolong the life of fruits and vegetables and protect them from harmful microorganisms. It can also extend product shelf life by 6-12 months and allow the ability to ship and store food without refrigeration. This helps to reduce food waste and energy consumption along the distribution chain.
Sodium percarbonate is used as mild bleaches in liquid and solid laundry detergents and in dishwashing products. When dissolved in water, sodium percarbonate releases hydrogen peroxide and sodium carbonate which adds more water softening power. Whilst the hydrogen peroxide disinfects, sanitises and removes stains.
Hydrogen peroxide’s oxidizing property makes it suitable for use in the cosmetics and medical fields as a disinfectant and a bleaching agent. For instance, it is used for hair dying and to increase the whiteness of teeth.
Pharmaceuticals and veterinary
Hydrogen peroxide is a well-known mild disinfectant for minor wounds and skin ulcers or for mouthwash. It is also commonly used for disinfection of contact lenses in two step systems.
In veterinary applications it is used in fish farms for sea lice delousing as an environmentally friendly alternative to other organic substances.
In the field of environmental applications hydrogen peroxide is used for the oxidative treatment of wastewater especially from chemical or pharmaceutical facilities. For that purpose, the product is often activated by additional components, such as iron salts (Fenton’s reagent), ozone or ultraviolet light called Advanced Oxidation Process (AOP). Additionally, the utilization of hydrogen peroxide for oxidative gas scrubbers removing e.g. sulfur dioxide from industrial off gas is pretty common.
Biocides and plant protection
Hydrogen peroxide is used as a biocidal active substance for a wide variety of disinfection uses: Human hygiene, private and public health areas, veterinary hygiene, food and feed area, drinking water, in-can preservatives, preservatives for liquid-cooling and processing systems and slimicides. The suitability of hydrogen peroxide for disinfection is based on its oxidizing properties.
It is also used as a Plant Protection Product. Hydrogen peroxide at concentration <5% is approved as a basic substance for disinfection of agricultural mechanical cutting tools and for seed treatment.