Sustainable “green” Chemistry


What is the role of aqueous hydrogen peroxide as a green reagent?

Hydrogen peroxide, or H2O2, is an ideal choice for a green oxidant because it reacts with high atom efficiency and can react to produce water as the only byproduct. To be a particularly clean oxidant, hydrogen peroxide can be used in aqueous solvents, allowing chemists to avoid the use of any organic solvents. Fortunately there exist catalysts capable of making hydrogen peroxide behave as an efficient oxidant in aqueous conditions, producing products with excellent purity. There are also other reasons that hydrogen peroxide is an ideal green reagent, including the fact that it is relatively inexpensive and is produced in mass quantities. In fact, 2.4 million metric tons of hydrogen peroxide are produced each year. One matter of concern is that high concentrations of hydrogen peroxide can be dangerous, so reactions should be run at concentrations of less than about 60% H2O2.


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