Rational design and fabrication of graphene/carbon nanotubes hybrid sponge for high-performance capacitive deionization
Capacitive deionization (CDI) is an emerging technology offering a green and efficient route to obtain clean water. Up to now, the key of CDI technology has been focused on the exploration of electrode materials with a rationally designed structure and excellent performance, because the electrosorption performance of the carbon-based electrodes reported to date cannot meet the demands of practical applications of CDI. Herein, novel graphene/carbon nanotubes (CNTs) hybrid sponge (GNS) structures were designed and fabricated via directly freeze-drying graphene oxide/CNTs mixed solution followed by annealing in nitrogen atmosphere. The morphology, structure and electrochemical performance of GNS were characterized by scanning electron microscopy, transmission electron microscopy, Raman spectroscopy, nitrogen adsorption–desorption, cyclic voltammetry and electrochemical impedance spectroscopy. The results show that GNS with 20 wt% CNTs has a maximum specific surface area of 498.2 m2 g−1 and a highest specific capacitance of 203.48 F g−1 among all the samples. When used as CDI electrode, it exhibits an ultrahigh electrosorption capacity of 18.7 mg g−1, and, to our knowledge, this value is superior to those of other carbon electrodes reported recently. GNS should be a promising electrode material for high-performance CDI.