Hydrogen Peroxide: The Next Generation Water Purifier, Could Be Produced By Solar-Powered Device

By Ankan sarkar | Apr 03, 2017 08:05 AM EDT

In several developing countries people are still suffering from the various disease caused by the contamination of water. Most of the water sources are contaminated due to agricultural and industrial waste. However, Hydrogen Peroxide can eliminate pollutants and other organic wastes from water but it is very difficult to produce and distribute in some countries.

To deal with this issue, a group of scientist from SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory and Stanford University as created a small device with the collaboration of SUNCAT Center for Interface Science and Catalysis. In the journal of Reaction Chemistry and Engineering, researchers described that the device would produce Hydrogen peroxide without affecting the atmosphere, as it is powered by conventional solar panels.

Associate staff professor of SLAC, said in a report,“The idea is to develop an electrochemical cell that generates hydrogen peroxide from oxygen and water on site, and then use that hydrogen peroxide in groundwater to oxidize organic contaminants that are harmful to humans to ingest”. To reduce the production cost of Hydrogen peroxide scientists used computational modeling at the atomic scale to investigate carbon-based catalysts.

According to the report by Science Daily, scientists initially used platinum as a catalyst to decentralize the water, but that was too expensive. To catalyze Hydrogen peroxide production, scientists needed such a material with a higher number of defects because defects in a material are naturally selective for generating Hydrogen peroxide.

Graduation student of Stanford Shucheng Chen prepared the carbon catalysts and measured their properties as it has a huge number of defects that are active sites for catalyzing. The main device has total three compartments. The first partition is for oxygen intake where it interfaces with the carbon catalyst and syncs into Hydrogen peroxide. At the second chamber is for storage with a solution and at third as well as final chamber another catalyst converts water into oxygen gas.

The whole device runs on just 1.7-volt power which is equivalent to the power of a single piece AA-sized battery. However, researchers used solar panels as it is completely environment-friendly and future-proof energy source. The current prototype of the device only hold 10 microliters of Hydrogen peroxide, now they are planning to make it bigger.

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