Humankind has been influencing its environment for thousands of years, but with the advancing industrialization of the 19th century, a new era also began for nature.
After the negative influences of human actions have become more and more drastic, it became obvious that damaging the environment sooner or later would also have a significant impact on humans themselves. As a result, there was a slow process of rethinking how to deal with the environment. Sustainability becomes more and more important, especially in Europe there are a number of laws designed to minimize the negative environmental impact of our actions.
There are various limit values, for example, for waste gases and wastewater, which must be complied with.At this backdrop, hydrogen peroxide and peracetic acid have been proven to be two of the most versatile, reliable and environmentally compatible oxidation agents. The relative safety and convenience of the use as an oxidizing agent opens up various application areas with a direct impact and beneficial effect on the environment, such as:
- Waste water treatment
- Soil remediation and groundwater treatment
- Treatment of recycling water
- Reduction of germs (e.g. legionella) in cooling water
- Air pollution control
Environmental benefits of utilizing hydrogen peroxide and peracetic acid
The unique chemical properties of hydrogen peroxide as well as its ecological friendliness predestinate this chemical for an extensive use in a variety of environmental applications. There are numerous examples where hydrogen peroxide helps to prevent or reduce negative impacts on the environment.
Furthermore, hydrogen peroxide is often regarded as a true “green chemical”. In contrast to many other red-ox agents, hydrogen peroxide introduces no additional substances other than water into the reaction system. An excess caneasily be decomposed into water and oxygen, not interfering with subsequent reaction steps.
In case of peracetic acid (PAA) the degradation or additionally derived product is acetic acid (AA), which is readily biodegradable in water and not bioaccumulative.
Despite its high reactivity, pure hydrogen peroxide and peracetic acid products from Evonik decompose very slowly and, if kept under optimal conditions, can be stored for years. Decomposition can be accelerated by high pH values, high temperatures, UV-irradiation, the presence of transition metal salts and other impurities. Decomposition of hydrogen peroxide and peracetic acid is a quite complex process, which involves formation of various free radicals. In some applications (soil remediation) the decomposition of these oxidizers can be used to enhance performance.