Oxygen scavengers are irreversible chemical absorbers which belong to molecular oxygen that are used to prevent or to control oxygen deterioration rate and to prevent spoilage in packaged foods, beverages, pharmaceuticals and in medical devices. Oxygen scavenger are also used to prevent metal and alloy fabricated equipment from corrosion caused by dissolved oxygen in steam boiler at atmospheric condition, as well as to control corrosion of industrial liquid separation process such as in distillation, extraction and in wastewater treatment plants where salt water are generally produced in large quantity.
However, in industrial applications, it may create several difficulties. Boiler corrosion is a major problem in steam generation systems. It is capable of damaging equipment as well as increasing downtime and replacement rate of equipment and piping. Corrosion can take place in pre-boiler feed water systems. The primary cause of corrosion is the presence of dissolved oxygen and carbon dioxide.
The partial amount of oxygen present is removed through thermal de-aeration and the rest of the corrosion can be controlled by adding oxygen scavengers, which absorb dissolved oxygen. Additionally, oxygen present in food products packaging creates problems for food products. Oxygen present can deteriorate food products either directly or indirectly, thereby removing or reducing oxygen content level from packaged food.Oxygen scavengers are used to maintain products and equipment safety and extend the shelf life of products simultaneously.
Oxygen scavengers are available in the sachet form and are essentially a mixture of iron powder, sodium and activated charcoal, in which, iron powder acts as a primary component, sodium acts as an activator and activated charcoal acts as a gas absorbent. Iron can effectively reduce the oxygen content level of the surrounding atmosphere by 0.01%. Other than iron powder, many other chemicals are also used as oxygen scavengers to reduce the oxygen content of products. These include photosensitive polymers, ascorbic acid, enzymes, etc.
These chemicals can reduce the oxygen level to 0.3%–3% in the conventional system of modified atmosphere. The oxygen scavenger packets are made from materials that allow oxygen and moisture to enter but do not allow the iron powder to leak out. Sodium is an extensively used material in oxygen scavenger pouches. Hydrazine (N2H4) and Sodium sulphite (Na2SO3), both of which are sold as catalysed systems to enhance reactivity with oxygen at lower pressures and temperatures.
Oxygen scavengers have numerous applications in the industrial sector. They not only help to retain the fresh-roasted flavour of coffee and nuts but alsohelp in avoiding oxidation of oleoresins existing in spices and in seasoning foods. Theyalso help in extending life of pharmaceutical drugs. Oxygen scavengers can provide several benefits such as enhancing production efficiency, improving operational reliability and ensuring safety compliance along with environmental regulations. They also help to issues arising out of dissolved oxygen and provide continuous and trouble-free steam production through boilers.
Innovative technologies and sustainable developments are expected to lead to a significant increase in demand for oxygen scavengers market during forecast period. Oxygen scavenger products maximise product life and improve product safety. They improve water quality for boiler feed water by reducing its oxygen content. Food packing sector is expected to drive the demand for the oxygen scavenger market. Various trends are expected to drive the demand for oxygen scavengersmarket. For instance, manufacturers are planning to replace iron powder with other materials to improve the quality of oxygen scavenger products. They are also putting efforts to improve equipment quality and extend the shelf life of products.
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