Jump to main content
Jump to site search

Issue 12, 2013
Previous Article Next Article

Direct prediction of the desalination performance of porous carbon electrodes for capacitive deionization

Author affiliations

Abstract

Desalination by capacitive deionization (CDI) is an emerging technology for the energy- and cost-efficient removal of ions from water by electrosorption in charged porous carbon electrodes. A variety of carbon materials, including activated carbons, templated carbons, carbon aerogels, and carbon nanotubes, have been studied as electrode materials for CDI. Using carbide-derived carbons (CDCs) with precisely tailored pore size distributions (PSD) of micro- and mesopores, we studied experimentally and theoretically the effect of pore architecture on salt electrosorption capacity and salt removal rate. Of the reported CDC-materials, ordered mesoporous silicon carbide-derived carbon (OM SiC-CDC), with a bimodal distribution of pore sizes at 1 and 4 nm, shows the highest salt electrosorption capacity per unit mass, namely 15.0 mg of NaCl per 1 g of porous carbon in both electrodes at a cell voltage of 1.2 V (12.8 mg per 1 g of total electrode mass). We present a method to quantify the influence of each pore size increment on desalination performance in CDI by correlating the PSD with desalination performance. We obtain a high correlation when assuming the ion adsorption capacity to increase sharply for pore sizes below one nanometer, in line with previous observations for CDI and for electrical double layer capacitors, but in contrast to the commonly held view about CDI that mesopores are required to avoid electrical double layer overlap. To quantify the dynamics of CDI, we develop a two-dimensional porous electrode modified Donnan model. For two of the tested materials, both containing a fair degree of mesopores (while the total electrode porosity is ∼95 vol%), the model describes data for the accumulation rate of charge (current) and salt accumulation very well, and also accurately reproduces the effect of an increase in electrode thickness. However, for TiC-CDC with hardly any mesopores, and with a lower total porosity, the current is underestimated. Calculation results show that a material with higher electrode porosity is not necessarily responding faster, as more porosity also implies longer transport pathways across the electrode. Our work highlights that a direct prediction of CDI performance both for equilibrium and dynamics can be achieved based on the PSD and knowledge of the geometrical structure of the electrodes.

Graphical abstract: Direct prediction of the desalination performance of porous carbon electrodes for capacitive deionization

Back to tab navigation

Supplementary files

Publication details

The article was received on 01 Jul 2013, accepted on 13 Aug 2013 and first published on 14 Aug 2013


Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C3EE42209G
Citation: Energy Environ. Sci., 2013,6, 3700-3712
  • Open access: Creative Commons BY license
  •   Request permissions

    Direct prediction of the desalination performance of porous carbon electrodes for capacitive deionization

    S. Porada, L. Borchardt, M. Oschatz, M. Bryjak, J. S. Atchison, K. J. Keesman, S. Kaskel, P. M. Biesheuvel and V. Presser, Energy Environ. Sci., 2013, 6, 3700
    DOI: 10.1039/C3EE42209G

    This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported Licence. Material from this article can be used in other publications provided that the correct acknowledgement is given with the reproduced material.

    Reproduced material should be attributed as follows:

    • For reproduction of material from NJC:
      [Original citation] - Published by The Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) on behalf of the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS) and the RSC.
    • For reproduction of material from PCCP:
      [Original citation] - Published by the PCCP Owner Societies.
    • For reproduction of material from PPS:
      [Original citation] - Published by The Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) on behalf of the European Society for Photobiology, the European Photochemistry Association, and RSC.
    • For reproduction of material from all other RSC journals:
      [Original citation] - Published by The Royal Society of Chemistry.

    Information about reproducing material from RSC articles with different licences is available on our Permission Requests page.

Search articles by author

Spotlight

Advertisements