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Electrochemical Water Oxidation to Hydrogen Peroxide

Research on converting water to fuels using sunlight has been ongoing since the 1970s, as it enables both storage and transport of solar energy in the form of chemical bonds. Conventional schemes have aimed to produce hydrogen and oxygen via water splitting within an electrochemical cell. Focusing on the anode of the cell, our group has worked toward extending this concept to produce hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) rather than oxygen gas (O2) as a product. Whereas O2 is typically an unused byproduct of water splitting, the production of H2O2 is advantageous as it can be used both as a fuel and as a water purification agent. However, the voltage necessary to generate H2O2 from water (1.76 V) is substantially higher than what is needed to generate O2 (1.23 V). Accordingly, our group is working to develop metal oxide catalyst materials that are highly selective toward H2O2 production.

Selected Publications

  1. "Understanding Activity Trends in Electrochemical Water Oxidation to Form Hydrogen Peroxide", X. Shi, S. Siahrostami, G. Li, Y. Zhang, P. Chakthranont, F. Studt, T. Jaramillo, X. L. Zheng, and J. K. Norskov, Nature Communications (2017) link
  2. "Light-Driven BiVO4-C Fuel Cell with Simultaneous Production of H2O2", X. Shi, Y. Zhang, S. Siahrostami and X. L. Zheng, Advanced Energy Materials (2018) link
  3. "ZnO as an Active and Selective Catalyst for Electrochemical Water Oxidation to Hydrogen Peroxide", S. Kelly, X. Shi, S. Back, L. Vallez, S. Y. Park, S. Siahrostami, X. L. Zheng and J. K. Norskov, ACS Catalysis (2019) link 
  4. "Electrochemical Synthesis of H2O2 by Two-Electron Water Oxidation Reaction", X. Shi, S. Back, T. M. Gill, S. Siahrostami and X. L. Zheng, Chem (2020) link
  5. "The Role of Bicarbonate-Based Electrolytes in H2O2 Production through Two-Electron Water Oxidation", T. M. Gill, L. Vallez, and X. L. Zheng, ACS Energy Letters (2021) link

Oxygen/Hydrogen Evolution Reaction

(Photo)Electrolysis of water uses electricity to split water into H2 and O2 and is an important technology for H2 production from renewable resources. Electrolysis relies on expensive noble metal (e.g., Pt, Ir, or Ru) based catalysts to accelerate their sluggish reactions. Transition metal oxides or sulfides have been widely studied as a promising alternative to Ir for oxygen evolution reaction (OER) and Pt for hydrogen evolution reaction (HER) due to its earth abundance and relatively low cost. Our research group aims to develop strategies to discover active and stable catalysts and modify those materials through combinations of vacancy, strain, and doping engineering.

Selected Publications

  1. "Activating and Optimizing MoS2 Basal Planes for Hydrogen Evolution through the Formation of Strained Sulphur Vacancies", H. Li, C. Tsai, A. Koh, L. Cai, A. Contryman, A. Fragapane, J. Zhao, H. Han, H. Manoharan, F. Pedersen, J. Norskov and X. L. Zheng, Nature Materials (2016) link
  2. "Electrochemical Generation of Sulfur Vacancies in the Basal Plane of MoS2 for Hydrogen Evolution", C. Tsai, H. Li, S. Park, J. Park, H. Park, J. Norskov, X. L. Zheng and F. Pedersen, Nature Communications (2017) link
  3. "Boosting Solar Water Oxidation Performance of BiVO4 Photoanode by Crystallographic Orientation Control", H. S. Han, S. Sun, D. H. Kim, I. J. Park, J. S. Kim, P. S. Huang, J. K. Lee, I. S. Cho and X. L. Zheng, Energy & Environmental Science (2018) link
  4. "Rapid Flame Doping of Co to WS2 for Efficient Hydrogen Evolution", X. Shi, M. Fields, J. Park, J. M. McEnaney, H. Yan, Y. Zhang, C. Tsai, T. F. Jaramillo, R. Sinclair, J. K. Norskov and X. L. Zheng, Energy & Environmental Science (2018) link
  5. "Effect of Adventitious Carbon on Pit Formation of Monolayer MoS2", S. Park, S. Siahrostami, J. Park, A. Hassan, B. Mostaghimi, T. R. Kim, L. Vallez, T. M. Gill, W. Park, K. E. Goodson, R. Sinclair and X. L. Zheng, Advanced Materials (2020) link

Interested in this research area?

Contact Lauren Vallez (, Jihyun Baek (, or Chris Barresi Mercado (