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Desalination and separation of amino acids by ELECTROSSORPTION using electrodes of activated graphene

Grant number: 17/19838-5
Support type:Regular Research Grants
Duration: April 01, 2018 - March 31, 2020
Field of knowledge:Engineering - Chemical Engineering
Principal Investigator:Luis Augusto Martins Ruotolo
Grantee:Luis Augusto Martins Ruotolo
Home Institution: Centro de Ciências Exatas e de Tecnologia (CCET). Universidade Federal de São Carlos (UFSCAR). São Carlos , SP, Brazil
Assoc. researchers:Francisco Guilherme Esteves Nogueira


In the last few years has being growing the interest by the technology called capacitive deionization (CDI) or electrosorption due to its low cost and application for desalination and water softening. In the Brazilian context, the development of CDI would be of great importance for brackish water desalination to provide drinkable water to the semiarid in order to promote the economic and social development. Another CDI application of great industrial importance would be the separation and purification of amino acids and enzymes, whose molecules can present positive or negative charges, thus allowing them to be separated by electrosorption. The CDI technology is based on the concept of charge storage on the electric double layer developed when electrodes are positively and negatively polarized, hence the development of electrode materials with high specific surface area (SSA) associated with a desired morphology and pore size distribution (PSD) is of prime interest. In this proposal, concepts of electrochemistry and materials science will be used to the development of new electrodes based on activated graphene in order to provide SSA and facilitate the mass transport, thus improving the kinetics. Different activation strategies will be studied in order to analyze its effect not only on the textural characteristics (SSA and PSD), but also to verify the effect of functional surface groups on the electrode characteristics such as wettability, surface resistivity, and capacitance. The best carbon materials will be used in a second step in which concepts of chemical and electrochemical engineering will be applied to study two electrosorption processes (desalination and amino acid separation) employing a CDI cell operating under potentiostatic and galvanostatic conditions in order to obtain the optimized process variables that maximize the desalination kinetics and charge efficiency, besides minimizing the specific energy consumption. (AU)