Research Papers

Blue Refrigeration: Capacitive De-ionization for Brackish Water Treatment

[+] Author and Article Information
Marta C. Hatzell

George W. Woodruff School of
Mechanical Engineering,
Georgia Institute of Technology,
Atlanta, GA 30332
e-mail: marta.hatzell@me.gatech.edu

Kelsey B. Hatzell

Department of Mechanical Engineering,
Vanderbilt University,
Nashville, TN 37235
e-mail: kelsey.b.hatzell@vanderbilt.edu

1Corresponding authors.

Manuscript received June 18, 2017; final manuscript received September 11, 2017; published online November 28, 2017. Assoc. Editor: Matthew Mench.

J. Electrochem. En. Conv. Stor. 15(1), 011009 (Nov 28, 2017) (6 pages) Paper No: JEECS-17-1072; doi: 10.1115/1.4037907 History: Received June 18, 2017; Revised September 11, 2017

There is a growing interest in minimizing the energy and cost associated with desalination. To do this, various new desalination systems and approaches are being explored. One growing area of interest revolves around electrochemical separations for deionization. Electrochemical separations primarily consist of technologies which either intercalate or electroadorb species of interest from a bulk mixture. This can be conducted through polarizing a battery electrode, or more commonly a capacitive electrode. One example is the technology capacitive deionization (CDI). CDI is being investigated as a means to augment the current state of the art, and as a stand-alone brackish water treatment technology. Despite the potential of this technology, there is still much that is not known regarding the energetics and efficiency of both the desalination and brine formation process. Here, blue refrigeration is a term used to broadly describe desalination cycles and processes. The analogy aims to compare the energetics associated with a desalination cycle to the energetics well studied in thermal refrigeration cycles. This perspective aims to evaluate some of the emerging energetic issues associated with CDI, and to describe how new system architectures may play a role in achieving more ideal energy and desalination performance.

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Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 1

In traditional refrigerators, work is consumed to move heat from a cold reservoir to a hot reservoir (a), whereas in a blue refrigerator, ions are transferred from a low ionic chemical potential solution to a high chemical potential solution (b)

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 2

CDI creates a de-ionized body of water during a charging step (a) and then recovers energy during a discharge process forming a brine solution (b)

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 3

Minimum energy required for desalting brine solutions (∼1 M), seawater (0.6 M), and brackish water (0.05 M). In all cases, Cd was 1 mM.

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 4

New thermodynamic cycles may be based around nonadiabatic cycles. Here, experimental data detail changes in Wact with temperature.

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 5

Flow-electrode CDI replaces the static film electrode with flowable suspensions of carbon materials to improve scalability and elecroadsorption capacity

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 6

Continuous operation can occur through the use of two flow cells. The first cell performs deionization, and the second forms brine. Continuous cycling through the flow cells allows for unique control of ion concentration, temperature, pressure, voltage, charge, and current.



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