Hydrogen peroxide is an important chemical of increasing demand in today’s world. Currently, the anthraquinone autoxidation process dominates the industrial production of hydrogen peroxide. Herein, hydrogen and oxygen are reacted indirectly in the presence of quinones to yield hydrogen peroxide. Owing to the complexity and multi-step nature of the process, it is advantageous to replace the process with an easier and straightforward one. The direct synthesis of hydrogen peroxide from its constituent reagents is an effective and clean route to achieve this goal. Factors such as water formation due to thermodynamics, explosion risk, and the stability of the hydrogen peroxide produced hinder the applicability of this process at an industrial level. Currently, the catalysis for the direct synthesis reaction is palladium based and the research into finding an effective and active catalyst has been ongoing for more than a century now. Palladium in its pure form, or alloyed with certain metals, are some of the new generation of catalysts that are extensively researched. Additionally, to prevent the decomposition of hydrogen peroxide to water, the process is stabilized by adding certain promoters such as mineral acids and halides. A major part of today’s research in this field focusses on the reactor and the mode of operation required for synthesizing hydrogen peroxide. The emergence of microreactor technology has helped in setting up this synthesis in a continuous mode, which could possibly replace the anthraquinone process in the near future. This review will focus on the recent findings of the scientific community in terms of reaction engineering, catalyst and reactor design in the direct synthesis of hydrogen peroxide.
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