Hydrogen peroxide is a simple chemical compound that comprises two atoms of hydrogen and two of oxygen. It finds widespread use across various industrial verticals as it possesses useful characteristics such as antiseptic qualities and efficient bleaching properties.
In dollar terms, the report by Global Market Insights put the value of the hydrogen peroxide industry at USD 6.2 billion by 2026. Growth drivers are said to include rising demand from paper & pulp industry, the increasing popularity of hydrogen peroxide as a raw material for propylene oxide production (HPPO process) and the growing penetration of niche applications. Examples of niche applications include laundry and gardening.
Interestingly, the report indicates that Asia Pacific will generate the highest revenue gains throughout the assessment period. Asia Pacific will hold a market share of over 50 percent in terms of revenue in 2026, with the highest growth rate of 5.8 percent from 2020 to 2026. Rapid industrialization and urbanization in countries including India and Indonesia have driven the growth of the manufacturing sector that largely comprises chemical manufacturing and processing companies. Moreover, the increasing use of paper in hygiene tissue papers and food packaging is also likely to accelerate hydrogen peroxide market trends in paper and pulp processing over the forecast timeframe in this region. HPPO capacity additions will also positively impact product market growth in this region.
The report notes that the hydrogen peroxide industry is fairly consolidated with top companies accounting for over 40 percent share in 2019. Three key players are from India, namely Aditya Birla Chemicals Ltd, Gujarat Alkalies and National Peroxide Ltd.
As an internet search quickly reveals, materials selection for equipment to be used in service with commercial solutions of hydrogen peroxide requires care to avoid decomposition problems.
These restrictions do not necessarily apply to enduses, where contact times are short and the solution may be quite dilute and a safe method has been established. On their website, National Peroxide Limited (NPL) indicates that aluminium (99.5 percent minimum purity), fully austenitic stainless steels like 304, plastics like high density polyethylene and glass can be used. It is also worthy to note that NPL has developed detailed engineering codes and specifications covering the fabrication of storage equipment for hydrogen peroxide, and that advice and assistance is available on request.
A number of manufacturers offer purpose-built valves for use in hydrogen peroxide environments. Standard selections include ball (below DN150), butterfly (above DN150), globe (all sizes), check and safety relief valves.
As indicated above, decomposition is a concern with hydrogen peroxide. Accordingly, valves should be designed to prevent hydrogen peroxide entrapment and decomposition which could potentially cause an explosion. For example, ball valve manufacturers can drill a degassing hole into each ball. In this way, any pressure that accumulates inside the ball when in the off-position will be vented to the upstream side. Other criteria include the compatability of the valve materials with hydrogen peroxide. This can be a challenge given the multitude of parts in each valve, such as the body, the closing element, stem, gaskets, rings. However, it is imperative that all the wetted components be checked in advance. Some authorities indicate that compatible lubricants may be used, but others insist on lubricant-free valves. It may also be necessary to passivate valves before use.
Other advice typically given with respect to valves is to design systems to require the smallest number of valves possible. Where several valves in series cannot be avoided, a safety valve or rupture disc can be used to provide pressure relief in the system. And finally, avoid locating shutoff valves and bypass valves next to control valves.