Monday, July 22, 2024

Hydrogen Peroxide — The Household Disinfectant with Immense Export Potential

Hydrogen Peroxide has become a household chemical over the last four years. Its ready to use compositions range from antiseptics to house disinfectants to bleaching liquids comprise our daily usage essentials. However, it’s the industrial usage of Hydrogen Peroxide in industries that can be utilised as a catalyst to aid the ailing Pakistani economy.

With increasing global demand for Hydrogen Peroxide and efforts made by local companies to enhance their production capacity, Pakistan stands to benefit both economically and ecologically from its strategic utilization of this versatile chemical.

Pakistan’s export growth once again has declined by $4.6 billion or 14% in the fiscal year 2022-23, stressing the need of adding more export products along with value-addition in already existing product lines.

In addition to the earnings though direct export of the chemical with focus on Middle East and Central Asian markets, Hydrogen Peroxide also serves as a catalyst to increasing Pakistan’s textile exports — as this sector accounts for over 60% of the country’s total export volume.

Hydrogen Peroxide, chemically known as H2O2, acts as an import substitution, especially where 80% of this colourless fluid is being used as a bleaching agent in the textile industry. Hence any growth in this sector will boast the local use and with the government’s support replace significant imports coming into the country.

One of the most crucial aspects of Hydrogen Peroxide is its environmental friendliness. Unlike traditional bleaching agents, such as chlorine based chemicals, H2O2 decomposes into water and oxygen, leaving no harmful residues.

This decomposition process makes it an eco-friendly alternative that contributes to cleaner production processes and sustainable practices. By adopting hydrogen peroxide for bleaching, the textile and paper industries have drastically reduced their carbon footprint, leading to a more positive image globally and aligning with international environmental standards.

Pakistan’s total Hydrogen Peroxide demand is currently estimated between 85,000 to 90,000 tonnes per annum. Descon Oxychem, Pakistan’s biggest H2O2 manufacturers, with their increased production capacity, is meeting nearly half of this [42,000 tonnes] and plans on adding to this volume.

“Our product lines are used extensively by textile and paper processing businesses for bleaching, while mining industry uses it for effluent treatment. In addition to this the chemical is used in packaged foods and beverages, electronics, water purification, home and personal care products and cosmetics. The company prepares food grade sanitizer which is ideal for sterilization and disinfection of sensitive food packaging materials. During the covid pandemic it was being used by households to disinfect hands, surfaces and fruits & vegetables due to its safe use”, stated a representative of Descon Oxychem,” stated Descon Oxychem’s CEO.

Unfortunately, the Hydrogen Peroxide market in Pakistan faces massive challenges that limit production. These include inconsistent supply and price fluctuations due to a debilitating energy crisis.

Moreover, the establishment of production plants by various companies is also facing delays, mainly attributed to challenges in importing the necessary plant and machinery, aggravated by the ongoing foreign exchange crisis in Pakistan.

As environmental sustainability becomes an integral part of different brands’ growth strategy worldwide, the demand for hydrogen peroxide has witnessed a steady increase.

The growth in demand presents a significant opportunity for Pakistan to leverage its domestic production and potentially become a major exporter of hydrogen peroxide and reap significant economic benefits.

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