The new capacitive deionization system (CDI) removes ions, contaminants impurities from water and other aqueous process streams, and further selectively places the removed ions back into solution during regeneration. It provides a separation process that does not utilize chemical regeneration processes, and thus significantly reduces or completely eliminates secondary wastes associated with the operation of ion exchange resins. In the CDI, electrolyte flows in open channels formed between adjacent electrodes, and consequently the pressure drop is much lower than conventional separation processes. The fluid flow can be gravity fed through these open channels, and does not require membranes. This feature represents a significant advantage over the conventional reverse osmosis systems which include water permeable cellulose acetate membranes, and over the electrodialysis systems which require expensive and exotic ion exchange membranes. The CDI is adaptable for use in a wide variety of commercial applications, including domestic water softening, industrial water softening, waste water purification, sea water desalination, treatment of nuclear and aqueous wastes, treatment of boiler water in nuclear and fossil power plants, production of high-purity water for semiconductor processing, and removal of salt from water for agricultural irrigation. CDI accomplishes this removal of impurities by a variety of mechanisms, but predominantly by electrostatic removal of organic and inorganic ions from water or any other dielectric solvent
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