Historical attempts at achieving practical capacitive desalination devices have failed due to a lack of appropriate materials and suitable designs. The current invention combines a novel electrode material with microscale architecture, laminated construction, and intricate flow and electronic control to achieve capacitive desalination of water. Through the use of porous electrodes, when the ionic fluid flows in the proximity of the electrodes and a bias is applied, ions migrate toward the electrodes. The channel architecture allows purified fluid to leave one way and the higher concentration brine to leave another way. By combining multiple units in electrical and fluid communication, the system can be operated in a coordinated fashion to produce purified fluid and periodically release ions from the electrodes, at a significantly reduced energy cost compared to currently available technologies.
Features & Benefits
Background of Invention
The need for potable water is one of the most important challenges in the world. Seawater is readily abundant yet existing methods of purification are expensive and energy intensive. The three primary technologies currently used for seawater desalination (flash distillation, multi-effect desalination, and reverse osmosis filtration) all require large amounts of energy. The first two rely on thermal processes and require large amounts of heat, and the latter processes drive water through RO membranes at high pressure, also imposing a high energy demand. RO membranes are also expensive and require regular cleaning. Therefore, a need still exists for a technology capable of providing a purified fluid, especially water, while minimizing the energy required.