Microbial desalination cell with capacitive adsorption for ion migration control

Casey Forrestal, Pei Xu, Peter E. Jenkins, Zhiyong Ren

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

86 Scopus citations


A new microbial desalination cell with capacitive adsorption capability (cMDC) was developed to solve the ion migration problem facing current MDC systems. Traditional MDCs remove salts by transferring ions to the anode and cathode chambers, which may prohibit wastewater beneficial reuse due to increased salinity. The cMDC uses adsorptive activated carbon cloth (ACC) as the electrodes and utilizes the formed capacitive double layers for electrochemical ion adsorption. The cMDC removed an average of 69.4% of the salt from the desalination chamber through electrode adsorption during one batch cycle, and it did not add salts to the anode or cathode chamber. It was estimated that 61-82.2. mg of total dissolved solids (TDS) was adsorbed to 1. g of ACC electrode. The cMDC provides a new approach for salt management, organic removal, and energy production. Further studies will be conducted to optimize reactor configuration and achieve in situ electrode regeneration.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)332-336
Number of pages5
JournalBioresource Technology
StatePublished - Sep 2012
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Bioengineering
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Environmental Engineering
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment


  • Capacitive deionization
  • Microbial desalination cell
  • Microbial fuel cell
  • Salt management


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