Hydrogen peroxide as a sustainable energy carrier: Electrocatalytic production of hydrogen peroxide and the fuel cell

Shunichi Fukuzumi, Yusuke Yamada, Kenneth D. Karlin

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251 Scopus citations


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 O 2-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 O 2, 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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)493-511
Number of pages19
JournalElectrochimica Acta
StatePublished - 1 Nov 2012

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors gratefully acknowledge the contributions of their collaborators and coworkers mentioned in the cited references, and support by a Grant-in-Aid (Nos. 20108010 and 237500141 ), a Global COE program, “the Global Education and Research Center for Bio-Environmental Chemistry” from the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, Japan and KOSEF/MEST through WCU project ( R31-2008-000-10010-0 ), Korea. K.D.K. also thanks the USA National Institutes of Health for support.


  • Co complex
  • Cu complex
  • Hydrogen peroxide
  • Hydrogen peroxide fuel cell
  • Oxygen reduction


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