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A carbon-based catalyst used in the production of electrochemical hydrogen peroxide is developed

A team led by Professor Joo Sang-hoon of the Department of Chemistry at UNIST has developed a carbon-based catalyst used in the production of eco-friendly electrochemical peroxide. This catalyst has the highest activity and reaction efficiency among carbon-based catalysts reported so far. In particular, it is expected that the core design elements of the catalyst will be identified and the direction of catalyst development will be presented in the future.

The electrochemical hydrogen peroxide production method is simple and does not emit pollutants, unlike the conventional hydrogen peroxide production method, which undergoes a complex process. The development of cheap and high-performance catalysts was the key to commercializing this method. Carbon-based catalysts are very inexpensive and attracting attention. However, it was difficult to experimentally identify key factors for catalyst performance and there were restrictions on catalyst development due to indiscriminate changes in catalyst structure during “catalyst activation” work to improve the performance of carbon-based catalysts.

The research team identified key catalyst design elements that improve the performance and efficiency of carbon-based catalysts using a synthesis method that can precisely control the structure of carbon catalysts and developed high-performance nanoporous carbon catalysts.

The performance of catalysts with large amounts of catalytic activity points was the highest among carbon-based catalysts reported so far. In addition, hydrogen peroxide was stably produced without performance degradation for 168 hours, and the efficiency was close to 100%. Electric energy is not wasted on making water (H2O), a by-product, but is highly efficient as it generates almost 100% hydrogen peroxide.

Hydrogen peroxide production, which is widely used from wound disinfection to semiconductor cleaning, relies on anthraquinone method. This method not only requires an expensive palladium catalyst, but also releases organic contaminants. On the other hand, the electrochemical production method has no reaction by-products other than water (H2O), and if used in combination with renewable energy production electricity, the production cost can be lowered.

Reference: June Sung Lim, Jae Hyung Kim, Jinwoo Woo, Du San Baek, Kyuwook Ihm, Tae Joo Shin, Young Jin Sa, Sang Hoon Joo, Designing highly active nanoporous carbon H2O2 production electrocatalysts th
Chem, 2021,ISSN 2451-9294, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chempr.2021.08.007.
(https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2451929421004162)

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