Hydrogen peroxide is typically manufactured in a multi-step auto oxidation (AO) process with the main step being the catalytic hydrogenation of anthraquinone. The leading technology is based on slurry phase batch systems, but there are an increasing number of plants running the process in fixed bed reactors. Johnson Matthey has commercialised several catalysts covering both principal technologies.
The recommended catalyst for the slurry system, is a palladium supported on silica-alumina material. This product has the required activity, product distribution and physical characteristics to carry out the AO process reliably over time. Johnson Matthey has also developed an alternative to the silica-alumina based catalysts using spray-dried silica-alumina support with defined Si:Al ratios. For slurry technologies, which utilise alumina-supported catalysts, commercial materials are available in various metal loadings and particle size distributions. The fixed bed hydrogen peroxide processes also use supported Pd catalysts and Johnson Matthey currently offers an alumina-based catalyst in spherical shape.