Sustainable processing of electrodes for membrane capacitive deionization (MCDI)

Robert McNair, Gyorgy Szekely, Robert A.W. Dryfe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Membrane capacitive deionization has been explored as an alternative desalination technique which can lower the voltage requirement and the ability to regenerate the electrodes. Traditional materials used in electrode processing can lead to various environmental problems related to toxicity, biodegradability and depletion of natural resources. Herein the use of sustainable alternatives to electrode components is reported, focusing on the implementation of bio–derived and F–free binders and green solvents, respectively. These sustainably processed electrodes display improved hydrophilicity (water contact angles of between 6° and 36°), higher values for internal surface area (between 1640 m$^2$g$^{–1}$ and 2025 m$^2$g$^{–1}$) and improved gravimetric capacitance (up to 82 Fg$^{–1}$) compared to activated carbon electrodes prepared with polyvinylidene fluoride binder. Green solvents such as γ-valerolactone and Agnique AMD 3L (N, N-dimethyl lactamide) were able to produce stable dispersions, demonstrating the feasibility of replacement of N-methyl-2-pyrrolidone solvent in electrode processing. The resultant electrodes were successfully employed in membrane capacitive deionization using various cell configurations, achieving high values of salt adsorption capacity (0.0147) and charge efficiency (94%). The implementation of cellulose acetate, carboxymethyl cellulose and polyacrylic acid binders, prepared in green solvents, has shown potential to increase salt removal and decrease the energy consumption of membrane capacitive deionization.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)130922
JournalJournal of Cleaner Production
StatePublished - Feb 15 2022

Bibliographical note

KAUST Repository Item: Exported on 2023-02-27
Acknowledgements: The authors would like to thank Paige Kent (University of Manchester) for assisting with contact angle measurements. The authors would also like to thank Andrew Forrest (Department of Materials, University of Manchester) and Jie Yang (University of Manchester) for performing nanoindentation and BET measurements, respectively. The authors acknowledge the UK's Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) under grant code EP/L01548X/1 for funding Robert McNair's doctoral studies through the University of Manchester's Graphene NOWNANO CDT account. Further equipment funding via EPSRC grants EP/S019367/1 and EP/P025021/1 to the Royce Institute is also gratefully acknowledged. The research reported in this publication was supported by funding from King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST). The graphical abstract and Fig. 1 were created by Heno Hwang, scientific illustrator at KAUST.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Environmental Science
  • Strategy and Management
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment


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