Flow electrode deionization (FCDI) is an emerging area for continuous and scalable deionization, but the electrochemical and flow properties of the flow electrode need to be improved to minimize energy consumption. Chemical oxidation of granular activated carbon (AC) was examined here to study the role of surface heteroatoms on rheology and electrochemical performance of a flow electrode (carbon slurry) for deionization processes. Moreover, it was demonstrated that higher mass densities could be used without increasing energy for pumping when using oxidized active material. High mass-loaded flow electrodes (28% carbon content) based on oxidized AC displayed similar viscosities (?21 Pa s) to lower mass-loaded flow electrodes (20% carbon content) based on nonoxidized AC. The 40% increased mass loading (from 20% to 28%) resulted in a 25% increase in flow electrode gravimetric capacitance (from 65 to 83 F g?1) without sacrificing flowability (viscosity). The electrical energy required to remove ?18% of the ions (desalt) from of the feed solution was observed to be significantly dependent on the mass loading and decreased (?60%) from 92 ± 7 to 28 ± 2.7 J with increased mass densities from 5 to 23 wt %. It is shown that the surface chemistry of the active material in a flow electrode effects the electrical and pumping energy requirements of a FCDI system.
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