Novel Composite Electrodes for Selective Removal of Sulfate by the Capacitive Deionization Process
journal contributionposted on 24.07.2018, 00:00 by Kuichang Zuo, Jun Kim, Amit Jain, Tianxiao Wang, Rafael Verduzco, Mingce Long, Qilin Li
Capacitive deionization (CDI) can remove ionic contaminants from water. However, concentrations of background ions in water are usually much higher than target contaminants, and existing CDI electrodes have no designed selectivity toward specific contaminants. In this study, we demonstrate a selective CDI process tailored for removal of SO42– using activated carbon electrodes modified with a thin, quaternary amine functionalized poly(vinyl alcohol) (QPVA) coating containing submicron sized sulfate selective ion exchange resin particles. The resin/QPVA coating exhibited strong selectivity for SO42– at Cl–: SO42– concentration ratios up to 20:1 by enabling preferential transport of SO42– through the coating, but had no negative impact on the electrosorption kinetics when the coating thickness was small. The cationic nature of the coating also significantly improved the charge efficiency and consequently the total salt adsorption capacity of the electrode by 42%. The resin/QPVA coated CDI system was stable, showing highly reproducible performance in more than 50 adsorption and desorption cycles. This work suggests that addition of selective ion exchange resins on the surface of a carbon electrode could be a generally applicable approach to achieve selective removal of target ions in a CDI process.