1. ITV Report

Water-cleaning chemical made ‘on-demand’

Scientists in Cardiff, working with colleagues in America, have come up with a way of producing hydrogen peroxide which is used to clean water supplies.

Over four million tonnes of it are produced by industry each year, mostly using a large, multi-step process, which requires highly concentrated solutions to be transported before dilution at the point of use.

Current uses include paper bleaching, disinfecting and water treatment and in the chemical synthesis industry.

The team, led by Professor Graham Hutchings, has previously developed a catalyst (which speeds up chemical reactions) made from palladium and gold that helped to create hydrogen peroxide. Now the team's shown gold can be replaced with five different readily available metals, including tin, zinc and cobalt, to form a much cheaper and more efficient group of catalysts.

Being able to produce hydrogen peroxide directly opens up a whole host of possibilities, most notably in the field of water purification where it would be indispensable to be able to produce the chemical on-site where safe and clean drinking water is at a premium.

– Dr Simon Freakley, Cardiff Catalysis Institute.