Improved electro-assisted removal of phosphates and nitrates using mesoporous carbon aerogels with controlled porosity
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Three-activated carbon aerogels were synthesized by CO2 activation of the materials prepared by the polycondensation of resorcinol and formaldehyde mixtures followed by supercritical drying. The obtained carbon aerogels were characterized and used as electrode materials for the electrosorption of sodium phosphate and nitrate. X-ray diffraction and Raman spectroscopy showed the dependence of the structural ordering of the aerogels with the resorcinol/catalyst ratio and the extent of activation. The electrosorption capacitance evaluated by cyclic voltammetry revealed large values for the activated samples containing a large contribution of mesopores, regardless the electrolyte salt. Due to an adequate combination of chemical and porous features, the desalting capacity of the activated carbon aerogel electrodes exceeded that of the as-prepared materials. The evaluation of the kinetic properties by chronocoulometric relaxation and impedance spectroscopy showed a decrease of time constant and resistances for highly mesoporous activated samples. A high deionization capacity and fast electrode discharge was detected for the deionization of sodium nitrate on the highly mesoporous activated aerogel. Data also showed the efficient electrosorption of ionic species on consecutive charge/discharge cycles, confirming the stability of the aerogel electrodes at the high applied potentials.
KeywordsCarbon aerogel Electrosorption Voltammetry Impedance spectroscopy
The authors are indebted to the MICINN (Contract IPT-2011-1450-310000 (ADECAR), and CTM2011/23378) for the financial support. We also thank the fruitful collaboration of Isolux Ingeniería, S.A., Fundación Imdea Energia and Proingesa.
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