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Electrochim Acta. 2012 Nov 1;82:493-511.

Hydrogen Peroxide as a Sustainable Energy Carrier: Electrocatalytic Production of Hydrogen Peroxide and the Fuel Cell.

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1
Department of Material and Life Science, Graduate School of Engineering, Osaka University, ALCA, Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST), Suita, Osaka 565-0871, Japan ; Department of Bioinspired Science, Ewha Womans University, Seoul 120-750, Korea.

Abstract

This review describes homogeneous and heterogeneous catalytic reduction of dioxygen with metal complexes focusing on the catalytic two-electron reduction of dioxygen to produce hydrogen peroxide. Whether two-electron reduction of dioxygen to produce hydrogen peroxide or four-electron O2-reduction to produce water occurs depends on the types of metals and ligands that are utilized. Those factors controlling the two processes are discussed in terms of metal-oxygen intermediates involved in the catalysis. Metal complexes acting as catalysts for selective two-electron reduction of oxygen can be utilized as metal complex-modified electrodes in the electrocatalytic reduction to produce hydrogen peroxide. Hydrogen peroxide thus produced can be used as a fuel in a hydrogen peroxide fuel cell. A hydrogen peroxide fuel cell can be operated with a one-compartment structure without a membrane, which is certainly more promising for the development of low-cost fuel cells as compared with two compartment hydrogen fuel cells that require membranes. Hydrogen peroxide is regarded as an environmentally benign energy carrier because it can be produced by the electrocatalytic two-electron reduction of O2, which is abundant in air, using solar cells; the hydrogen peroxide thus produced could then be readily stored and then used as needed to generate electricity through the use of hydrogen peroxide fuel cells.

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