(733c) Modeling Faradaic Capacitive Deionization with Redox Active Porous Electrodes

Authors: 
He, F., MIT
Biesheuvel, P. M., Wageningen University
Hatton, T. A., Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Capacitive deionization (CDI) is an attractive technology for brackish water treatment, due to the low energy consumption at low source water salinity level compared to conventional water treatment technologies such as reverse osmosis or distillation.

It has been shown that the surface charge on the porous carbon electrodes has significant impact on CDI performance. By introducing immobilized chemical groups, the point of zero charge of carbon materials can be tuned, thus enhanced or inversed CDI performance could be obtained. Redox active electrodes have been investigated in CDI applications recently. The Faradaically induced chemical charges add to electronic charges within the electric double layers formed at the electrode surfaces to provide a much higher adsorption capacity than attained in purely capacitive processes, which is denoted as Faradaic capacitive deionization (FaCDI) here. The redox active ligand can be considered as variable chemical charges that depend on the cell voltage, as opposed to the fixed charges introduced by chemical modification.

Here, we developed a model which incorporates the effect of variable chemical charge due to general faradaic reactions of redox species immobilized on the electrode surfaces. The theory describes the variable chemical charge by the generalized Frumkin-Butler-Volmer equation across the stern layer as an extension of current electrosorption theory. As a first approximation, the model assumes the spacer channel is well-mixed with uniform electrosorption in each electrode. The model is able to predict the experimentally observed enhanced and inverted performance of CDI cells. Furthermore, the deionization performance of FaCDI cells is shown to be superior to that of CDI and enhanced-CDI systems with equilibrium adsorption capacities 50-100% higher than attained with CDI systems. By properly choosing the equilibrium potentials of the redox active material, FaCDI is able to achieve the same ion adsorption capacity at smaller voltages compared to conventional CDI, which indicates the promise of obtaining higher salt adsorption capacity with lower energy input through the use of FaCDI materials.

The model enables us to optimize the operation parameters of the process, such as flow rate, applied voltage as well as the design of CDI cells, such as the surface to volume ratio of the device, in order to obtain the optimal deionization performance.