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MSc assignment: Electrochemical, cathodic H2O2 production

MSc assignment: Electrochemical, cathodic H2O2 production

Daily supervisor: Dr. Kasper Wenderich

Available from: 01/12/2018 

Hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) is an interesting chemical which finds its use in many applications. For instance, it is used for bleaching purposes, disinfection, detergents, semiconductor cleaning, chemical synthesis and wastewater or exhaust air treatment.1

On top of that, H2O2 is an environmentally friendly oxidant, resulting in an increase in demand of the chemical. The dominant industrial production process for producing H2O2 is the anthraquinone process, where anthraquinone molecules are used. Regretfully, such a process requires multiple stages and large amounts of volatile organic solvents and high-pressure H2 gas.1-2 Therefore, clean ways to produce H2O2 are important. 

One such way would be the electrochemical production of H2O2. In such a case, electrochemical reduction of oxygen would be employed through the following electrochemical reaction (at pH < 11.6):1, 3

The counter-reaction at the anode could be the oxidation of water, or even the production of additional hydrogen peroxide. Although studies have been performed on cathodic H2O2 production, there is still plenty of opportunity to achieve higher H2O2 production efficiencies, for instance through optimizing a reactor or through finding a suitable cathodic material.


In this MSc project, the student will try to design, set up and test a reactor which is capable of producing hydrogen peroxide efficiently through electrochemical reduction at a suitable cathode. For the latter, the student will use hollow fibers, which will amongst others allow constant supply of fresh oxygen. 


Schematic of the electro-Fenton process, where Fe2+ ion are incorporated in the electrochemical setup to produce H2O2.1 In an ideal reactor, the incorporation of Fe2+ would not be necessary.


1.     Yang, S.; Verdaguer-Casadevall, A.; Arnarson, L.; Silvioli, L.; Čolić, V.; Frydendal, R.; Rossmeisl, J.; Chorkendorff, I.; Stephens, I. E. L., Toward the Decentralized Electrochemical Production of H2O2: A Focus on the Catalysis. ACS Catalysis 2018, 8 (5), 4064-4081.

2.            Sayama, K., Production of High-Value-Added Chemicals on Oxide Semiconductor Photoanodes under Visible Light for Solar Chemical-Conversion Processes. ACS Energy Letters 2018, 3 (5), 1093-1101.

3.            Fukuzumi, S.; Lee, Y.-M.; Nam, W., Solar-Driven Production of Hydrogen Peroxide from Water and Dioxygen. Chemistry – A European Journal 2018, 24 (20), 5016-5031.