Explore the Function of Ion-Exchange Membrane (IEM) in Membrane Capacitive Deionization (mCDI) Cell, an Alternative Technique in Brackish Water Desalination Field

Source: AIChE
  • Type:
    Conference Presentation
  • Conference Type:
    AIChE Spring Meeting and Global Congress on Process Safety
  • Presentation Date:
    August 21, 2020
  • Duration:
    60 minutes
  • Skill Level:
  • PDHs:

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In the arid west, the freshwater supply of many communities is limited, leading to increased interest in tapping brackish water resources. Although reverse osmosis is the most common technology to upgrade saline waters, there is also interest in developing and improving alternative technologies. Here we focus on Capacitive Deionization (CDI), which has attracted broad attention as an energy efficient desalination technology, especially for ion extraction from low salinity brackish water. The objective of this work is to explore the function of ion-exchange membrane (IEM) in enhancing the performance of CDI cell. In this study, a fully coupled two-dimensional model describing ion transport and adsorption behavior in Membrane Capacitive Deionization (mCDI) cell was developed and solved numerically, taking advantage of Darcy’s Law, Nernst-Planck equation, and Donnan equilibrium considering hydraulic dispersion in channel, non-ideal membrane, and modification of ion diffusivity in porous media. The model behavior was supported by the experimentally observed variations in transient effluent concentration under different operating conditions. The results showed that ion flux was significantly improved because of the IEM, leading to a faster desalination rate. The equilibrium adsorption amount is increased due to the permselectivity of the IEM, resulting in extra ion accumulation in electrode’s macropores during desalination process. The cut-off time (optimal time to switch polarity to generate highest energy efficiency) of mCDI was shorter with a higher salt removal percentage compared to CDI under the same operating conditions. A sensitivity study of the thickness and the fixed charge density (starting from 500mM) of the IEM was done separately, and neither of them were found to be the dominant influencing factors under a low concentration range of brackish water (below 100mM) in this study.
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