Process Economics Program Report 68
Hydrogen Peroxide and Peracetic Acid
Published: February 1971
This report addresses itself to the technology and cost of producing hydrogen peroxide and peracetic acid. Both of these chemicals are the source of active oxygen, and they are in direct competition in various epoxidation processes.
Hydrogen peroxide is sold as an aqueous solution and is exhausted to water in oxidation processes. Peracetic acid, on the other hand, is marketed as an approximate 25% solution in an organic solvent and yields acetic acid as a by-product of oxidation processes. The added handling of acetic acid and solvent has limited the use of peracetic acid in textile and pulp bleaching; therefore, hydrogen peroxide is largely unchallenged in these fields.
In the area of epoxidation, various organic hydroperoxides produced via the Halcon-Arco process may bid for a share of the epoxidation market already divided between hydrogen peroxide and peracetic acid. The cost of organic hydroperoxides is outside the scope of this report, since it is discussed in PEP Report No. 2B1. The cost of active oxygen is, however, compared for three sources: hydrogen peroxide, peracetic acid, and tertbutyl hydroperoxide.
Two processes for producing hydrogen peroxide were evaluated in detail:
- Anthraquinone process
- Isopropanol autoxidation process.
The three processes studied for producing peracetic acid are all acetal-dehyde based:
- One-step liquid-phase oxidation of acetaldehyde
- Two-step liquid-phase oxidation of acetaldehyde
- Vapor-phase oxidation of acetaldehyde.
Production of peracetic acid by acetylation of hydrogen peroxide was reviewed in PEP Report No. 62 and is not discussed.
Information contained in this report was collected from patents, technical papers, and trade journal publications that appeared between 1947 and May 1970. Data received from Wacker Chemie has greatly aided the evaluation of the one-step liquid-phase oxidation process.
Equipment costs are based on literature data except for a few key items where budget costs received from suppliers were used. The cooperation of the following companies is greatly acknowledged: Kaiser Aluminum Co. for clad aluminum plates, Luwa Corp. for wiped film evaporators, Niagara Blower Co. for evaporative condensers.