Arkema is one of the world’s leading producers of hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) since 1953. Its work in hydrogen peroxide contributes to the growth of its customers in Europe, North America and Asia. Arkema's priorities are safety, product stewardship and the protection of the environment.
Arkema has world-class production capacities in North America, Europe and Asia totaling more than 400,000 tons per year. All production facilities are ISO 9001 and ISO 14001 certified.
Anticipating and satisfying the needs of an ever-changing world
Through its worldwide presence, our group offers one of the most comprehensive services, including reliable and customized logistics, safe handling expertise and technical support for process optimization and storage practices. With research centers equipped with the most advanced technology in King of Prussia, PA, USA and in Lyon, France, Arkema is a leader in the development of new applications for growing markets and offers a comprehensive range of H2O2 market solutions including:
Pulp and paper
Currently, the two major bleaching agents used in the pulp and paper industry are hydrogen peroxide (Albone®) and sodium chlorate (Alpure®). Hydrogen peroxide is used across a wide range of pulp productions including chemical (both hardwood and softwood), mechanical and recovered fibers, in addition to the bleaching of annual plants, like bagasse and rice straws. As far as sodium chlorate is concerned, it is only used in the production of chemical pulp.
In the manufacturing process of mechanical pulps i.e. SWG pulp (Stone Wood Ground), TMP pulp (Thermo Mechanical Pulp), CTMP pulp (Chemi Thermo Mechanical Pulp) and APMP pulp (Alkaline Peroxide Mechanical Pulp), hydrogen peroxide plays a key role in the development of the optical properties. Hydrogen peroxide remains the main bleaching agent of mechanical pulps. Applied alone or in combination with other bleaching agents, it ensures optimal whitening performance.
Sodium chlorate is the main bleaching agent on ECF (Elemental Chlorine Free) sequences, whereas hydrogen peroxide is the leading chemical in TCF (Total Chlorine Free). In these two bleaching processes, these products are the key agents to ensure a high degree of brightness while minimizing the impact of wastes.
Sodium chlorate is an on-site generator for chlorine dioxide. Chlorine dioxide is an efficient delignification and bleaching agent in ECF (Elemental Chlorine Free) bleaching sequences for all types of chemical pulp, kraft or sulfite. It enables ECF pulps to reach a high and stable brightness together with excellent mechanical properties and for minimum cost and high yield.
Hydrogen peroxide is used as a bleaching agent, alone or in combination with other oxidizing or reducing agents, in the pulping stage of recovered paper, ensuring therefore a very high degree of brightening effect.
When it comes to the numerous reactions in organic chemistry, hydrogen peroxide is used in many of them and the most important include the following: peroxides (peracids, hydroperoxides, diacyl peroxides), epoxidation of olefins, hydroxylation of phenols, oxidation of amines and hydrazine hydrate.
Synthesis of peroxides
The peracids (peracetic acid, perpropionic acid) are produced by oxidation of the corresponding acids by hydrogen peroxide, in the presence of an acidic catalyst.
Epoxidation of double bounds C=C
Different routes are available to carry out epoxidation of double bond C=C: epoxidation by hydroperoxides, epoxidation by peracids and epoxidation by hydrogen peroxide.
Hydroxylation of phenols
Hydrogen peroxide is an efficient chemical for the hydroxylation of aromatic rings. Thanks to its high selectivity towards monohydroxylation, after its activation with an acidic catalyst, hydrogen peroxide is a preferred route for the production of hydroquinone and catechol.
Oxidation of amines and hydrazine hydrate
Arkema has a wide range of Albone® and Peroxal® commercial hydrogen peroxides grades, which perfectly meet the requirements of the reactions described above. Our customers may choose the hydrogen peroxide concentration, which allows them to guarantee the safety of the process and, in some cases, a distilled grade (low content of carbon and of stabilizer).
In mining applications, hydrogen peroxide is used to increase the extraction rate.
At the surface of metals, some oxides are resistant to most standard acidic treatments. In this respect, hydrogen peroxide proves to be a very effective way eliminate of these impurities.
Hydrogen peroxide is commonly used today in the bleaching of textile fibers. It can be used under very different processing conditions depending on fibers and manufacturing process. Albone® hydrogen peroxide in 35% and 50% concentrations is particularly suited to the bleaching of textile fibers (natural or synthetic).
The decomposition products of hydrogen peroxide are oxygen and water, which can reduce water consumption and improve effluent treatment.
Hydrogen peroxide bleaching improves the consistency of dye transfer to the fabric. Cotton bleached with hydrogen peroxide has a stable whiteness, a soft touch and an absorbency that improves the dyeing of the fabric.
Peroxal® hydrogen peroxide is increasingly used in household cleaning as a green replacement for chlorine based products.
It is commonly used for:
- bleaching organic stains
- removing laundry grayness
- delivering antimicrobial benefits
Hydrogen peroxide is also used in laundry prespot, auxiliary bleach, hard surface formulations, dishwashing, liquid detergents, institutional and industrial cleaning, and in the production of solid peroxygens (i.e. sodium percarbonate and sodium perborate) use in powder laundry detergents.
With changes in washing conditions (i.e. energy dependent drive to colder wash temperatures), sodium percarbonate has been found to be the product of choice for lower wash temperatures.
Formulating with hydrogen peroxide in cleaning products requires an understanding of stability and compatibility with other ingredients (i.e. surfactants, dyes, other additives and formulation pH).
Arkema offers a family of peroxygens (e.g. mild to aggressive oxidants) and a range of specialty products (e.g. alkaline stable, gel, antimicrobial and their proprietary products). Arkema also offers powerful peroxygen products. Arkema’s experienced technical staff can offer specific formulation knowledge and performance testing capabilities.
Hydrogen peroxide is widely used in pharmaceutical applications for its disinfectant and oxidative properties. Personal care products include hair bleaching and hair dyeing products.
Hydrogen peroxide is mainly used for the preparation of hair care products, for skin disinfection and cleaning. For these applications, our Peroxal® hydrogen peroxide is used in diluted solutions (3% to 12%).
It can also be incorporated in more complex products such as oxidative hair care. Dilution or incorporation of additives decreases the stability of hydrogen peroxide. Therefore, it is necessary to use a highly stabilized hydrogen peroxide grade in order to reduce the risk of decomposition of the product during storage.
Albone®, developed by Arkema as a concentrated hydrogen peroxide solution with environmental compatibility, helps customers comply with strict regulations and is able to treat pollutants in air, water and soil. Compared to other oxidizing agents used for environmental applications or existing technologies, hydrogen peroxide offers definite advantages:
- The decomposition products of hydrogen peroxide are water and oxygen. Therefore, there is no induced pollutant.
- Hydrogen peroxide is easy to use with minimum installation of equipment and thus requires less capital investment, making it competitive among the different existing technologies.
The storage and handling requirements for Albone® are no more stringent than those already followed in chemical manufacturing plants or wastewater treatment plants that use caustic soda, sodium hypochlorite, etc.
In environmental applications, hydrogen peroxide is used in particular for:
- oxidation of sulfide and mercaptans,
- chemical Oxygen Demand (COD) removal,
- elimination of sulfur dioxide,
- reduction of active chlorine,
- removal of cyanide,
- Soil and groundwater treatment.
Hydrogen peroxide is one of the most widely used disinfectants for sterilizing cardboard and plastic packaging materials intended for contact with food products. Most aseptic packaging systems use hydrogen peroxide at a concentration of 35%, more rarely at 25%. Disinfection achieved with hydrogen peroxide does not lead to any toxic by-products (only water and oxygen) and the small excess of hydrogen peroxide is removed when drying the packaging with hot sterile air. No additional rinsing with sterile water is required, unlike some other chemicals.
Arkema has developed a wide range of hydrogen peroxide solutions called Valsterane®, suitable for all aseptic technologies:
- “Bath technology”: the packaging material (cardboard rolls or plastic film) is taken from a reel and dipped into a bath of aqueous 35% hydrogen peroxide whose temperature is generally 60 to 85°C, depending of the aseptic machine. Contact time with the solution is a few seconds and excess solution is removed by squeeze rolls and/or air jets after removal of the material from the bath, which leaves a thin film of solution that is then dried by hot air. In bath aseptic technologies, hydrogen peroxide stability is the key parameter.
- “Spray technology”: this is the method for preformed cardboard containers, plastic bottles and plastic preforms whereby hydrogen peroxide is sprayed in the form of small dispersed droplets. Further hydrogen peroxide vaporization ensures the complete sterilization of the inner surface of the packaging, and further hot sterile air drying removes hydrogen peroxide residue. In spray aseptic technologies, hydrogen peroxide dry residue is the key parameter.
Valsterane® is even is versatile enough to meet the 2 technologies requirements. Furthermore, hydrogen peroxide can also be used as a bleaching agent in the food industry based on local regulations.
The electronic industry continues to demand high-purity chemicals. As a chemical manufacturer, we invest heavily in our plants and capabilities to be able to offer high purity process chemicals helping to reduce defect densities and improving yields.
The manufacture and processing of semiconductor wafers mainly involve wet chemistry steps where hydrogen peroxide is used in combination with other chemicals for cost-effective etching and cleaning.
The main use of hydrogen peroxide in electronics are:
- With ammonia in the first step of RCA cleaning (removal of organic impurities and particles on wafers)
- With hydrochloric acid in the third step of RCA cleaning (removal of metallic impurities on wafers)
- With sulfuric acid in “piranha acid” for residual organic film removal
Our dedicated offer is an excellent solution for this industry. Our high purity and environmentally friendly product (Peroxal®) ensures that our customers achieve consistent quality and process optimization. Additionally, it is an excellent precursor to produce high-purity 30% hydrogen peroxide solutions fully compliant with SEMI standards and most stringent “ship-to-control” requirements.
Oxidants beyond hydrogen peroxide
The hydrogen peroxide business unit also includes sodium chlorate (Alpure®), sodium perchlorate and specialty epoxides :
- Sodium chlorate is used in the pulp industry, the synthesis of chemical products and the production of emergency oxygen systems.
- Sodium perchlorate is used in the manufacturing of explosives for civil applications, PVC additives and fuel precursor for space launchers.
- Specialty epoxides are used in a wide variety of applications including lubricant intermediates, aviation fluids, specialty inks, surfactants, flexible PVC medical devices and cosmetics.