On-demand production of hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) through electrochemical oxygen reduction reaction (ORR)

Direct insights into the role of epoxy groups on cobalt sites for acidic H2O2 production
Electrochemical oxygen reduction reaction (ORR) provides a promising approach to produce the clean hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) on demand. Its commercial success relies largely on the development of electrocatalysts that can catalyse ORR selectively through a

In this newly published article through the work of our PhD student, Qingran Zhang – investigated the origin of hydrogen peroxide selectivity during ORR on the cobalt and nitrogen co-doped carbon nanotubes (CoN@CNTs) catalyst. Through a series of spectroscopic as well as electrochemical tests, it was revealed that the epoxy groups are playing an advocating role in enhancing the H2O2 selectivity on the CoN4 active sites, while the ketonic groups have a jeopardizing effect on H2O2 performance of CoN@CNTs catalyst. Density functional theory (DFT) calculations further supported the above findings, attributing the enhancement effect on H2O2 selectivity to an electron-withdrawing effect between epoxy oxygen and CoN4 moieties. In light of these results, electrochemical and chemical treatments were developed to modify the CoN@CNTs catalyst with abundant epoxy groups. Surprisingly, the epoxy-modified catalysts exhibited a record-breaking high H2O2 selectivity and productivity in acid, giving promises in generating H2O2 electrochemically for various applications, such as water treatment, disinfection and chemical synthesis.

The article was published in Nature communications, please read full article here: https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-020-17782-5