Water Desalination Using Capacitive Deionization with Microporous Carbon Electrodes

S. Porada, L. Weinstein, R. Dash, A. van der Wal, M. Bryjak, Y. Gogotsi, P.M. Biesheuvel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

300 Citations (Scopus)


Capacitive deionization (CDI) is a water desalination technology in which salt ions are removed from brackish water by flowing through a spacer channel with porous electrodes on each side. Upon applying a voltage difference between the two electrodes, cations move to and are accumulated in electrostatic double layers inside the negatively charged cathode and the anions are removed by the positively charged anode. One of the key parameters for commercial realization of CDI is the salt adsorption capacity of the electrodes. State-of-the-art electrode materials are based on porous activated carbon particles or carbon aerogels. Here we report the use for CDI of carbide-derived carbon (CDC), a porous material with well-defined and tunable pore sizes in the sub-nanometer range. When comparing electrodes made with CDC with electrodes based on activated carbon, we find a significantly higher salt adsorption capacity in the relevant cell voltage window of 1.2–1.4 V. The measured adsorption capacity for four materials tested negatively correlates with known metrics for pore structure of the carbon powders such as total pore volume and BET-area, but is positively correlated with the volume of pores of sizes
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1194-1199
JournalACS Applied Materials and Interfaces
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2012


  • carbide-derived carbon
  • activated carbon
  • brackish-water
  • seawater desalination
  • aerogel electrodes
  • charge efficiency
  • aqueous-solutions
  • electrosorption
  • technology
  • adsorption

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