A Redox-Electrodialysis Model with Zero Fitting Parameters: Insights into Process Limitations, Design, and Material Interventions

26 December 2023, Version 1
This content is a preprint and has not undergone peer review at the time of posting.


Redox-Electrodialysis (r-ED) is an electrochemical desalination cell architecture that has recently received considerable interest, due to its low energy demand relative to electrochemical desalination technologies that rely on electrode-based ion removal. To further improve the energy efficiency of r-ED, we developed a lumped mathematical model with no adjustable parameters to investigate the various sources of overpotential within the cell. Existing models of electrodialysis and r-ED cells either do not accurately incorporate all phenomena contributing to the overpotential or utilize empirical fitting parameters. The model developed here indicates that ohmic overpotentials, especially in the diluate chamber, are the most significant contributors to energy losses. Based on this insight, we hypothesized that adding an ion exchange resin wafer in the diluate compartment would increase the ionic conductivity and decrease the energy demand. Experimental results showed an 18% reduction in specific energy use while achieving the same degree of salt removal (20mM to 12mM). Furthermore, the resin wafer enabled complete desalination to potable drinking levels at a current density previously unachievable within practical operating voltage limits (4.93 mA/cm2). We also expanded the model to explore differences in r-ED energy use between configurations using multiple stacks and a single stack with increased area.



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Supplementary Information
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