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New high performance electrode for capacitive deionization

Country of Origin: Spain
Reference Number: TOES20190702002
Publication Date: 2 July 2019

Summary

A non-profit Spanish research institute from Madrid has developed a cost-effective high-performance electrode for capacitive deionization in which the active phase and the current collector are included in a single element. The cooperation types are license and research cooperation agreements.

Description

Electrode for capacitive deionization in which fabrics of CNT (carbon nanotube) fibres and metal oxides hybridise forming interconnected porous networks, thus comprising a single element, i.e. a hybrid material. The fabrication of electrodes is based on the continuous impregnation of CNT fibres with metal oxide precursors in-line as they are spun from the chemical vapour deposition reaction, followed by thermal treatment (350ºC). Consequently, the electrode of the present invention has a reduced contact resistance and improved charge capacitance which leads to more efficient capacitive deionization systems.
The hybrid electrode presents a better performance as a result of the synergistic effect between both components of the hybrid material, i.e. the CNT fibres and the metal oxide coating. The fibres of CNT constitute a flexible network that guarantees not only textural and electrochemical properties of interest for capacitive deionization but also, ensures such a high electrical conductivity, that allows to discard the use of expensive current collectors and thus to stablish a direct electrical contact between the electrode and the external power source.
They are looking for potential partners from the agrofood, environmental and materials sectors to establish license agreements, preferably industry, and research cooperation agreements also open to academic and other research organisations.
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Advantages and Innovations

The remarkable efficiency obtained is due to the morphology of the hybrid electrodes, in which the CNT fibres act simultaneously as a flexible current collector, active material and support for the metal oxide i.e. the formation of interconnected CNT fibre-metal oxide networks. Such architecture leads to high capacitance performance while minimizing internal resistance. It also gets rid of the need of using expensive chloride corrosion-resistant current collectors. 
Large salt adsorption capacity of 6.5mg/g from brackish water (2.0gNaCl/L) and very high efficiency of 86%, which translates into a low energy consumption per gram of salt removed (∼0.26Wh/g). This is an 80% improvement compared with reference devices based on traditional electrode architecture i.e. activated carbon as the active material and titanium foil current collectors.
Simple fabrication process that enables fabrication of large electrode samples. The high conductivity and flexibility in bending of the CNT fibrebased electrodes open the possibility to design the next generation of CDI devices based on current collector-free electrodes with complex non-planar shapes.

Stage Of Development

Under development/lab tested

Stage Of Development Comment

First proof-of-concept of a current collector-free electrode was successfully validated in a filter-press CDI flow-cell at lab scale. Demonstrator.
They are currently working in the development of a cylindrical desalination device based on this electrode. Potential applications identified for these devices: portable desalination devices and ultra-pure water for electronics.

Requested partner

The research center is searching for potential partners from the agrofood, environmental and materials sectors to establish license agreements, preferably industry, and research cooperation agreements also open to academic and other research organisations.

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