Water Resources Research Act Program

Details for Project ID 2017LA115B

Desalination of salt water for agriculture based on a novel battery system

Institute: Louisiana
Year Established: 2017 Start Date: 2017-03-01 End Date: 2019-02-28
Total Federal Funds: $15,400 Total Non-Federal Funds: $31,454

Principal Investigators: Xiuping Zhu

Abstract: Water salinity affects plant growth and soil health, which is one issue that often affect agricultural productivity in Louisiana due to seawater intrusion or salt dome dissolution. The total dissolved salts (TDS) have increased in some major aquifer systems in Louisiana. Although several technologies have been developed for saltwater desalination such as thermal desalination, reverse osmosis, electrodialysis, and capacitive deionization, most of them are suitable for largescale seawater desalination with high cost and energy demand. More cost-effective and energyefficient desalination methods are desirable for brackish water with medium salinities in agriculture. Here, a novel battery system, called the NaCl battery, is proposed for saltwater desalination in agriculture. This system can be operated at atmospheric pressure and room temperature without using expensive membranes. During the charging (desalination) process, NaCl can be removed from salt water by intercalating with electrode materials driven by the electrical field. During the discharging (energy recovery) process, part of energy can be recovered as electrical power and even higher power could be produced than that of the charging process if wastewater with different salinities are used due to the input of salinity gradient energy. Therefore, the NaCl battery could be a cost-effective and energy-efficient method for saltwater desalination in agriculture.