We examine water desalination processes based on the electrosorption of ions onto activated carbon electrodes (capacitive deionization, CDI). A flow-by operation mode was used (solutions flows within channels in the separator, parallel to the electrodes) in both continuous and stopped flow experiments. The different response of solutions containing more than 5000 ppm NaCl and dilute solutions (e.g., 1000 ppm NaCl) to the applied potential is discussed. The electrical current transients on potential steps were faster by two orders of magnitude than the resulting concentration transients due to the dynamics of these deionization processes and the properties of the cells used herein. Guidelines for the practical development of capacitive water deionization processes are discussed herein. It is assumed that for brackish water containing several thousands ppms of NaCl, CDI may be advantageous over competitive methods (e.g., reverse osmosis). © 2009 American Institute of Chemical Engineers AIChE J, 2010
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