Emerging chemical driving force in electrocatalytic water splitting

Gao Chen, Chao Wei, Yanping Zhu*, Haitao Huang

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReviewpeer-review

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Electrocatalytic water splitting involves the breaking/formation of chemical bonds and the concomitant dynamic reconstruction of catalyst structure, both of which, in a conventional view, are directly driven by the applied bias. However, some latest reports have demonstrated that the chemical driving force can also govern electrocatalytic water splitting. This finding provides a transformative approach to designing advanced energy materials, which calls for a thorough understanding of the underlying correlation between the chemical driving force and the corresponding water splitting performance. This review timely summarizes chemical driving force in three different scenarios. Effects of chemical driving forces on surface reconstruction, reaction rate/mechanism, and interfacial redox reactions are discussed. Finally, an outlook on the chemical driving force is provided. We aim to raise the energy community's awareness of this new vision and hope it could contribute to material design for energy storage and conversion applications. 

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere12294
Issue number2
Number of pages11
Publication statusPublished - 2023


  • Catalyst–electrolyte interface
  • Chemical driving force
  • Chemical potential
  • Surface reconstruction
  • Water splitting


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