Re-designing materials for desalination of unconventional water sources

Re-designing materials for desalination of unconventional water sources (Prof. Liu)

double sided arrow showing "capacitive deionization" and "performance decay" on one side and "activated carbon electrode" and "material properties" on the other. Underneath is a graph with salt adsoprtion capacity retention % on the y-axis, cycle number on the x-axis. In red, the "low surface acidity, low specific surface area" data points go from 100% to 95% over 35 cycles. In blue, the "high surface acidity, high specific surface area" goes from 100% to 60% over 35 cycles


bar chart with LCOW($/meter cubed) on the y-axis. bars are CDI MDCI and FCDI


The dwindling freshwater resources due to climate change, anthropogenic pollution, as well as rising water demand in municipal, industrial, and agricultural sectors, result in 4 billion people facing water shortage globally. In order to address the grand challenge of water scarcity, desalination technologies that harvest purified water from unconventional water sources, such as seawater, brackish groundwater, and wastewater, have become indispensable to augment freshwater supply beyond the hydrological cycle. Currently, pressure-driven and electrical field-driven processes are state-of-the-art technologies for desalinating low-salinity water, including brackish water and agricultural drainage. However, the materials (membrane and electrodes) are plagued by organic fouling, mineral scaling, and physical and chemical degradation. Professor Liu’s group is collaborating with Professor Li and Professor Shuai to understand the mechanisms underlying organic fouling, mineral scaling, and material degradation that occur on desalination membranes and electrodes, and to develop more efficient and durable materials for desalination. See Professor Liu’s group website for more details.