CDI

In an American-Israel-Dutch-Polish cooperation, the existing "normal" modified-Donnan model to describe the electrical double layer structure in (micro-)porous carbons, was significantly improved (ergo: the i-mD model) without jeopardizing the model's mathematical simplicity, allowing it to be incorporated in transport theory, and allowing it to be solved using simple spreadsheet-software such as Excel. This i-mD model was published in a special issue of the Journal of Solid State Electrochemistry, commemorating the late prof. V.S. Bagotsky. The i-mD model has the same advantage as the classical mD-model (developed in 2011 for CDI) namely that it is mathematically simple and can be used for transport modeling in porous carbons (note that the Gouy-Chapman-Stern theory will fail for sufficiently small pores, as the inherent pore overlap is not included in GCS theory), but in addition describes salt adsorption at high salinity much better. This was a weak point of the "normal" mD-model. The improvement consists of a slightly different formulation, not introducing more mathematical "fit"-parameters, and actually, the new model has a strong physical background, based on attractive ion-ion correlation forces. Prof. Martin Bazant (MIT), the senior author of the paper, comments "It is quite remarkable how such a simple model fits data so beautifully. I was very surprised myself. As far as I know, the simple form of the ion correlation force expression that we present, is new. Possibly in the future we will find out if we need a more accurate expression, but for the moment this simple model works like a charm, and it has a physical basis which has the advantage that further extensions such as considering the case of ionic mixtures becomes possible."

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The PhD defense of Taeyoung Kim (PhD student in SNU under supervision of Prof. Jeyong Yoon) is scheduled for 28 October 2014. The title of thesis is ‘Desalination performance and mechanism of carbon electrodes with respect to physicochemical and electrochemical properties in capacitive deionization’. After graduation, Taeyoung is going to keep working on research in various fields, thus looking for a postdoctoral position worldwide.

This year, Yoon’s group in Seoul National University, Republic of Korea, has published three papers on CDI.

Hierarchically porous carbon was synthesized and used as a CDI electrode in collaboration with Prof. Park’s group (Carbon Nanomaterials Design Lab., SNU) (Yang et al., Carbon 71 (2014) 294-302). In this paper, a novel carbon material derived from metal organic framework (MOF) was prepared and its pore structure was characterized. Unique pore structure of MOF-derived carbon (MDC) consisting of micro-, meso-, and macropores allowed for a rapid and considerable amount of desalination compared to activated carbon (microporous carbon) and carbon aerogel (meso- and macroporous carbon). Thus, this paper has successfully elucidated the role of each pore size in CDI.

In the next paper, a new method to evaluate rate capability of CDI electrodes was proposed using a potential sweep method (Kim et al., Electrochimica Acta 139 (2014) 374-380). Potential sweep method can enable sweeping of potential in various rates, thus resulting desalination performance can be an indicator for rate capability. As a result, electrode thickness, flow rate, and salt concentration were found to parameters affecting rate capability, which is in good agreement with previous CDI papers.

Recently, constant voltage and constant current operations were compared focusing on salt adsorption capacity and energy consumption (Kang et al., Desalination (2014) accepted). Results said that constant current operation is advantageous in terms of energy consumption because of its low voltage profile.