Potassium hydroxide is an inorganic compound with the formula KOH, commonly referred to as caustic potash. It is a strong base with high reactivity to acid, that is often used for its corrosive capabilities by the electronics, biodiesel and chemical soap industries. This substance should be handled with great care.
Behavior and Properties
Potassium hydroxide is formed when sodium hydroxide and impure potassium are combined.
When coming in contact with water, it reacts with carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, releasing energy to its surroundings, which can then be harnessed for the production of electricity, light, and heat. In algae production, this energy is made available to the microalgae, helping them to grow and multiply rapidly.
Because of its high affinity with water, KOH is often used to dry basic solvents from slurry. Thanks to its high stability and relatively low melting point, solid KOH does not dehydrate so easily, even at high temperatures.
The Natural Alternative to Potassium Hydroxide
Potassium hydroxide solutions with concentrations of approximately 0.5 to 2.0% are irritating when coming into contact with the skin, while concentrations higher than 2% are corrosive. Therefore, handling should be done with extra care and precaution.
In spirulina cultivation, industrial potassium hydroxide can be replaced with a natural equivalent made of wood ash and rainwater, called Lye, which is safer to use, more economically viable, and produces a cleaner end product. Click here to learn how to produce lye at home.« Back to Glossary Index