Long-lasting, monovalent-selective capacitive deionization electrodes

Eric N. Guyes, Amit N. Shocron, Yinke Chen, Charles E. Diesendruck, Matthew E. Suss
2021 npj Clean Water  
AbstractEmerging water purification applications often require tunable and ion-selective technologies. For example, when treating water for direct use in irrigation, often monovalent Na+ must be removed preferentially over divalent minerals, such as Ca2+, to reduce both ionic conductivity and sodium adsorption ratio (SAR). Conventional membrane-based water treatment technologies are either largely non-selective or not dynamically tunable. Capacitive deionization (CDI) is an emerging
more » ... technology that employs inexpensive and widely available activated carbon electrodes as the active element. We here show that a CDI cell leveraging sulfonated cathodes can deliver long-lasting, tunable monovalent ion selectivity. For feedwaters containing Na+ and Ca2+, our cell achieves a Na+/Ca2+ separation factor of up to 1.6. To demonstrate the cell longevity, we show that monovalent selectivity is retained over 1000 charge–discharge cycles, the highest cycle life achieved for a membraneless CDI cell with porous carbon electrodes to our knowledge, while requiring an energy consumption of ~0.38 kWh/m3 of treated water. Furthermore, we show substantial and simultaneous reductions of ionic conductivity and SAR, such as from 1.75 to 0.69 mS/cm and 19.8 to 13.3, respectively, demonstrating the potential of such a system towards single-step water treatment of brackish and wastewaters for direct use in irrigation.
doi:10.1038/s41545-021-00109-2 fatcat:ul27oovryzf3jf4zqq6vzcysoy