Water Desalination with Wires

S. Porada, B.B. Sales, H.V.M. Hamelers, P.M. Biesheuvel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

105 Citations (Scopus)


We show the significant potential of water desalination using a novel capacitive wire-based technology in which anode/cathode wire pairs are constructed from coating a thin porous carbon electrode layer on top of electrically conducting rods (or wires). By alternately dipping an array of electrode pairs in freshwater with and in brine without an applied cell voltage, we create an ion adsorption/desorption cycle. We show experimentally how in six subsequent cycles we can reduce the salinity of 20 mM feed (brackish) water by a factor of 3, while application of a cation exchange membrane on the cathode wires makes the desalination factor increase to 4. Theoretical modeling rationalizes the experimental findings, and predicts that system performance can be significantly enhanced by material modifications. To treat large volumes of water, multiple stacks of wire pairs can be used simultaneously in a “merry-go-round” operational mode.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1613-1618
JournalJournal of Physical Chemistry Letters
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 2012


  • membrane capacitive deionization
  • seawater desalination
  • salinity difference
  • carbon electrodes
  • porous-electrodes
  • energy
  • electrolytes
  • technology
  • efficiency
  • storage


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