Journal of Membrane Science
Journal of Membrane Science

The research article 'Membrane-electrode assemblies for flow-electrode capacitive deionization' has been published in Elsevier's Journal of Membrane Science (Volume 605, 15 June 2020, 118095).


Scale-up of flow-electrode capacitive deionization is hindered due to the reliance on thick brittle graphite current collectors. Inspired by developments of electrochemical technologies we present the use of flexible membrane electrode assemblies (MEA) to solve these limitations. We tested different carbon-fiber fabrics as current collectors and laminated them successfully with ion-exchange membranes. The use of thinner ion-exchange membranes is now possible due to the reinforcement with the carbon fiber fabric.

Desalination experiments reveal that a MEA setup can achieve salt transfer rates equal to standard setups. Hence, we deduce that charge percolation also acts outside the electric field. In a single point of contact, ionic and electric charges are exchanged at the carbon surface of the MEA. The use of thinner membranes leads to a reduced potential drop. Together with a more homogeneous electric field across the feed water section, this can compensate for the reduction of contact surface between flow electrode and current collector.

Access the complete article on ScienceDirect.