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Arkema awarded 2011 Potier prize for Hydrogen Peroxide, a clean and ecological solution for effluent treatment


Created by Union des Industries Chimiques (UIC – French Chemical Industries Association) and Fédération Française des sciences pour la Chimie (FFC – French Federation for Chemical Sciences) under the aegis of the French Ministry for Industry, the Pierre Potier prize rewards companies that bring out innovations in the field of sustainable development. This year, Arkema has won the 2011 prize with an innovative process that uses hydrogen peroxide to eliminate sulfur residues from industrial effluents. The ultimate clean reagent, with water and oxygen as its only by-products, hydrogen peroxide has the advantage of generating neither sewage sludge nor toxic by-products.

Arkema places innovation at the heart of its development strategy, and invents solutions to meet the challenges of sustainable development. Since the turn of the century, Arkema has been developing the ecological applications of hydrogen peroxide. With its good reactivity and ease of application, hydrogen peroxide offers a cost-effective solution to eliminate certain pollutants. The solution rewarded this year, developed by Arkema at the CRRA (Centre de recherche Rhône Alpes, dedicated to energy management and eco-efficient processes), entails the desulfurization (elimination of sulfur compounds) of industrial effluent and urban wastewater.

The refining, petrochemicals, agro-food and urban water treatment sectors generate liquid and gas effluents that contain sulfur compounds (hydrogen sulfide, sulfide, mercaptans, etc.), which build up in water treatment plants, and so produce foul odors for both personnel and local people, generate equipment corrosion problems, and impair biological purification operations.

Accordingly, the innovation consists in using hydrogen peroxide – via an instantaneous oxidation reaction – to effectively eliminate these sulfur compounds, with the added benefit of generating neither sewage sludge nor toxic by-products; this marks this process out from others that can also be much less effective and highly energy-intensive. With this hydrogen peroxide treatment, the sulfur compounds reduction rate exceeds 90%, making the liquid waste suitable for biological treatment and the gas emissions compliant with regulations. Easy to use and cost-competitive, hydrogen peroxide requires no modifications to existing plant and equipment.

This solution is perfectly in line with Arkema’s process expertise, as well as the topics supported by the Axelera Chemistry-Environment competitiveness cluster, of which Arkema is a founding member, which aims to develop new processes with a low environmental impact.

Arkema is the world’s third leading producer of hydrogen peroxide with five production sites around the world, two in Europe (Jarrie - France and Leuna - Germany), two in North America (Becancour - Canada and Memphis - USA / Tennessee), and one in Shanghai - China.

Hydrogen Peroxide is used primarily in paper pulp bleaching, as an oxidizing agent in the chemical industry, in the disinfection of food packaging, and in cleaning formulations for its bleaching and disinfectant properties

A global chemical company and France’s leading chemicals producer, Arkema is building the future of the chemical industry every day. Deploying a responsible, innovation-based approach, we produce state-of-the-art specialty chemicals that provide customers with practical solutions to such challenges as climate change, access to drinking water, the future of energy, fossil fuel preservation and the need for lighter materials. With operations in more than 40 countries, 14,000 employees and 8 research centers, Arkema generates annual revenue of €5.9 billion and holds leadership positions in all its markets with a portfolio of internationally recognized brands. The world is our inspiration.


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