Investigation of patterned and non-patterned poly(2,6-dimethyl 1,4-phenylene) oxide based anion exchange membranes for enhanced desalination and power generation in a microbial desalination cell

Francisco Lopez Moruno, Juan E. Rubio, Carlo Santoro, Plamen Atanassov, José M. Cerrato, Christopher G. Arges

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations

Abstract

Quaternary ammonium poly(2,6-dimethyl 1,4-phenylene oxide) (QAPPO) anion exchange membranes (AEMs) with topographically patterned surfaces were assessed in a microbial desalination cell (MDC) system. The MDC results with these QAPPO AEMs were benchmarked against a commercially available AEM. The MDC with the non-patterned QAPPO AEM (Q1) displayed the best desalination rate (a reduction of salinity by 53 ± 2.7%) and power generation (189 ± 5 mW m− 2) when compared against the commercially available AEM and the patterned AEMs. The enhanced performance with the Q1 AEM was attributed to its higher ionic conductivity and smaller thickness leading to a reduced area specific resistance. It is important to note that Real Pacific Ocean seawater and activated sludge were used into the desalination chamber and anode chamber respectively for the MDC – which mimicked realistic conditions. Although the non-patterned QAPPO AEM displayed better performance over the patterned QAPPO AEMs, it was observed that the anodic overpotential was smaller when the MDCs featured QAPPO AEMs with larger lateral feature sizes. The results from this study have important implications for the continuous improvements necessary for developing cheaper and better performing membranes in order to optimize the MDC.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)141-148
Number of pages8
JournalSolid State Ionics
Volume314
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Chemistry
  • General Materials Science
  • Condensed Matter Physics

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