ChemElectroChem. 2022 Feb 11;9(3):e202101692. doi: 10.1002/celc.202101692. Epub 2022 Feb 2.
H2O2 is a bulk chemical used as “green” alternative in a variety of applications, but has an energy and waste intensive production method. The electrochemical O2 reduction to H2O2 is viable alternative with examples of the direct production of up to 20% H2O2 solutions. In that respect, we found that the dinuclear complex Cu2(btmpa) (6,6′-bis[[bis(2-pyridylmethyl)amino]methyl]-2,2′-bipyridine) reduces O2 to H2O2 with a selectivity up to 90 % according to single linear sweep rotating ring disk electrode measurements. Microbalance experiments showed that complex reduction leads to surface adsorption thereby increasing the catalytic current. More importantly, we kept a high Faradaic efficiency for H2O2 between 60 and 70 % over the course of 2 h of amperometry by introducing high potential intervals to strip deposited copper (depCu). This is the first example of extensive studies into the long term electrochemical O2 to H2O2 reduction by a molecular complex which allowed to retain the high intrinsic selectivity of Cu2(btmpa) towards H2O2 production leading to relevant levels of H2O2.