As fresh, clean water become scarcer in many parts of the world, the need for cost-effective desalinization technologies increases. Such technologies enable the use of the plentiful salt water that exists in Earth’s seas and oceans. These technologies can also be adapted to other chemical separations in the quest to produce clean water from used manufacturing process liquids.
Resin Wafer (RW) Electrodeionization (EDI) (RW-EDI) is a highly energy-efficient desalination process developed by researchers at Argonne National Laboratory. Conventional electrodeionization devices insert ion-exchange resin beads into a pair of cation and anion-exchange membranes. Unfortunately, this is typically a costly, complex and inconsistent process. Consequently, its use has been largely limited to commercial applications for producing ultrapure water for high-value products in the semiconductor and pharmaceutical industries.
Argonne’s innovative resin wafer technology greatly overcomes these hurdles and enables the cost-effective application of EDI to separation and purification of commodity chemicals, water and waste water. Most commercial electrodialysis systems can be adapted to work with Argonne’s RW-EDI process, with the benefit of higher energy efficiency for desalinization.
The Argonne RW-EDI process has been demonstrated at the pilot scale to provide a low-energy and economically viable approach to chemical purification/recovery and water desalination. Most of the components used in the Argonne process are commercially available, reducing the deployment period and financial risk for commercialization.