Enabling direct H2O2 production through rational electrocatalyst design

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  • A Corrigendum to this article was published on 17 December 2013
  • An Erratum to this article was published on 23 January 2014


Future generations require more efficient and localized processes for energy conversion and chemical synthesis. The continuous on-site production of hydrogen peroxide would provide an attractive alternative to the present state-of-the-art, which is based on the complex anthraquinone process. The electrochemical reduction of oxygen to hydrogen peroxide is a particularly promising means of achieving this aim. However, it would require active, selective and stable materials to catalyse the reaction. Although progress has been made in this respect, further improvements through the development of new electrocatalysts are needed. Using density functional theory calculations, we identify Pt–Hg as a promising candidate. Electrochemical measurements on Pt–Hg nanoparticles show more than an order of magnitude improvement in mass activity, that is, A g−1 precious metal, for H2O2 production, over the best performing catalysts in the literature.

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Figure 1: Overview of different electrocatalysts for H2O2 production from the literature and from the present work.
Figure 2: Theoretical modelling of oxygen reduction to H2O and H2O2.
Figure 3: Experimental characterization of Pt–Hg on extended surfaces.
Figure 4: Experimental characterization of Pt–Hg/C nanoparticles.

Change history

  • 21 November 2013

    In the version of this Article originally published, the middle initials of the penultimate author were missing; the name should have read Ifan E. L. Stephens. In the Author contributions and Additional information sections 'I.S.' should have read 'I.E.L.S.' These errors have now been corrected in the online versions of the Article.

  • 23 December 2013

    In the version of this Article originally published, in Fig. 1, the top two values on the y axis were switched. This error has now been corrected in the online versions of the Article.


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The authors gratefully acknowledge financial support from the Danish Ministry of Science’s UNIK initiative, Catalysis for Sustainable Energy and The Danish Council for Strategic Research’s project NACORR (12-132695). M.E-E. acknowledges financial support from EU PF7’s initiative Fuel Cell and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking’s project CathCat (GA 303492). B.W. thanks Formas (project number 219-2011-959) for financial support. The Center for Individual Nanoparticle Functionality is supported by the Danish National Research Foundation (DNRF54).

Author information

J.R. and S.S. conceived the DFT calculations. S.S. and M.K. performed the DFT calculations. A.V. and I.E.L.S. designed the experiments. A.V. performed the electrochemical experiments, D.D. the TEM, P.M. the XPS and B.W. the EQCM and SEM-EDS. E.A.P. and R.F. prepared the Ag3Pt sample and performed its XRD. S.S., A.V. and I.E.L.S. co-wrote the first draft of the paper. A.V. designed the figures. All authors discussed the results and commented on the manuscript.

Correspondence to Ifan E. L. Stephens or Jan Rossmeisl.

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Patent application EP 13165265.3 ‘Alloy catalyst material’ has been filed.

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Siahrostami, S., Verdaguer-Casadevall, A., Karamad, M. et al. Enabling direct H2O2 production through rational electrocatalyst design. Nature Mater 12, 1137–1143 (2013) doi:10.1038/nmat3795

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