Low Energy Desalination Using Battery Electrode Deionization

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New electrochemical technologies that use capacitive or battery electrodes are being developed to minimize energy requirements for desalinating brackish waters. When a pair of electrodes is charged in capacitive deionization (CDI) systems, cations bind to the cathode and anions bind to the anode, but high applied voltages (>1.2 V) result in parasitic reactions and irreversible electrode oxidation. In the battery electrode deionization (BDI) system developed here, two identical copper hexacyanoferrate (CuHCF) battery electrodes were used that release and bind cations, with anion separation occurring via an anion exchange membrane. The system used an applied voltage of 0.6 V, which avoided parasitic reactions, achieved high electrode desalination capacities (up to 100 mg-NaCl/g-electrode, 50 mM NaCl influent), and consumed less energy than CDI. Simultaneous production of desalinated and concentrated solutions in two channels avoided a two-cycle approach needed for CDI. Stacking additional membranes between CuHCF electrodes (up to three anion and two cation exchange membranes) reduced energy consumption to only 0.02 kWh/m3 (approximately an order of magnitude lower than values reported for CDI), for an influent desalination similar to CDI (25 mM decreased to 17 mM). These results show that BDI could be effective as a very low energy method for brackish water desalination.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)444-449
Number of pages6
JournalEnvironmental Science and Technology Letters
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 10 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Ecology
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Pollution
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis

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