Ion-exchange membrane capacitive deionization: A new strategy for brackish water desalination

Haibo Li, Linda Zou

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

264 Scopus citations


Membrane capacitive deionization (MCDI) integrates the advantages of capacitive deionization (CDI) and ion-exchange membrane technology and has shown great potential to improve the desalting efficiency. MCDI works based on the same working principle of CDI. In addition, ion-exchange membranes are introduced in front of the electrodes so that the charged ions can be selectively passed through the membrane layer and are subsequently adsorbed by the oppositely charged electrodes without interference of co-ions and therefore improve the salt removal efficiency as well as strengthen the regeneration. In this research, electrodes made from single walled carbon nanotubes (SWCNTs) were used together with cation- and anion-exchange membranes. The correlation between solution concentration and conductivity was calibrated prior to the experiment. Through bench scale batch mode desalination experiments, a salt removal efficiency of as high as 97% was achieved with initial conductivity of 110 μs/cm and electrical voltage of 1.2. V. This efficiency is much higher than the corresponding CDI without membrane whose salt removal efficiency is only about 60%. Further, the obtained adsorption rate constant as a result of adsorption kinetics clearly demonstrated that the ion-exchange membrane can help to achieve a faster ion transfer rate in the electrosorption process due to low co-ions expulsion effect.

Original languageBritish English
Pages (from-to)62-66
Number of pages5
Issue number1-3
StatePublished - 15 Jul 2011


  • Ion-exchange membrane
  • Membrane capacitive deionization (MCDI)
  • Salt removal efficiency
  • Single walled carbon nanotube (SWCNTs)
  • Sorption capacity


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