Can Battery Materials Make Saltwater Drinkable?

Can Battery Materials Make Saltwater Drinkable?

Seminar Abstract 

Worldwide installed desalination capacity has been established to date primarily by reverse osmosis.  Rechargeable batteries use solid materials in which cations from liquid electrolytes, such as Li+ or Na+, can be reversibly stored and released by way of electrochemical redox, thus providing a means for the desalination of saltwater with potentially lower energy consumption, cost, and brine volume.  Accordingly, this seminar will address the question “Can Battery Materials Make Saltwater Drinkable?” by using multi-scale modeling of fluid, ion, and electron transport combined with experiments on materials and devices.  Specifically, we report on the evolution of a new desalination process conceived of in our group while answering this question.  We show that desalinated and concentrated streams are generated when Na+ions are simultaneously intercalated and deintercalated within symmetric electrodes separated by a Na-blocking membrane. Building on these predictions and subsequent experimental demonstrations we characterize the charge transport in porous electrodes containing Prussian Blue analogue nickel hexacyanoferrate (NiHCF) nanoparticles. 

Seminar Speaker(s) 

Kyle C. Smith
Assistant Professor, Mechanical Science and Engineering, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Smith joined the University of Illinois in Fall 2014, before which he attended Purdue University and obtained Bachelor’s and Ph.D. degrees in Mechanical Engineering in 2007 and 2012.  During his PhD Smith was named a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow, Purdue Chappelle Fellow, and Lambert Teaching Fellow.  Prior to joining the University of Illinois Smith was a Post-Doc at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Smith’s group at the University of Illinois utilizes computational modeling and experimental tools to develop technological solutions to societal problems at the intersection of energy and water by engineering, characterizing, and modeling transport phenomena and thermodynamics in electrochemical devices with flowing solution.


Jan 14, 2020 -
12:00pm to 1:00pm