The anthraquinone process is a process for the production of hydrogen peroxide, which was developed by BASF. The industrial production of hydrogen peroxide is based on the reduction of oxygen, as in the direct synthesis from the elements. Instead of hydrogen itself, however, a 2-alkyl-anthrahydroquinone, which is generated before from the corresponding 2-alkyl-anthraquinone by catalytic hydrogenation with palladium. Oxygen and the organic phase react under formation of the anthraquinone and hydrogen peroxide. Among other alkyl groups (R) ethyl- and tert. Butyl are used, e.g., 2-ethylanthraquinone.
The hydrogen peroxide is then extracted with water and in a second step separated by fractional distillation from the water. The hydrogen peroxide accumulates as sump product. The anthraquinone acts as a catalyst, the overall reaction equation is therefore:
2 + O
2 → H