Cost-optimal design of a batch electrodialysis system for domestic desalination of brackish groundwater

Sahil R. Shah, Natasha C. Wright, Patrick A. Nepsky, Amos G. Winter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

8 Scopus citations


This study presents the pareto-optimal design of a domestic point-of-use batch electrodialysis (ED) system. Specifically, the optimal geometry, flow-rates, and applied voltage for total cost minimization were explored for varying production rate (9–15 L/h) and product concentration (100–300 mg/L) requirements, while feed concentration and recovery ratio were maintained at 2000 mg/L and 90%, respectively. Capital cost dominated over energetic cost; hence, optimal designs maximized current density. Capital cost was significantly higher for 100 mg/L systems, than 200 and 300 mg/L: $141 vs. $93 and $79, at 12±0.5 L/h of production. Pumps were an important consideration, contributing up to 46% of the total cost. Large membrane length-to-width aspect ratios (3.5:1 to 6:1) and thin channels (0.30–0.33 mm) promoted high current densities, and 11–21 cm/s velocities optimized mass transfer against pressure drop. Optimal voltages were 0.9–1.3 V/cell-pair at 9 L/h, and decreased at higher rates. Lastly, higher production was obtained primarily by increasing cell-pair area rather than number of cell-pairs (36–46). It was additionally observed that active area increased linearly with feed concentration (1500–2500 mg/L), while recovery (60–90%) minimally affected design. This work also suggests that voltage control during the batch process, and less expensive pumps, can further reduce cost.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)198-211
Number of pages14
StatePublished - Oct 1 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Brackish
  • Cost
  • Electrodialysis
  • Optimization
  • Point-of-use

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Cost-optimal design of a batch electrodialysis system for domestic desalination of brackish groundwater'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • Cite this