An AC-Driven Desalination/Salination System Based on a Nafion Cationic Rectifier

Frank Marken, Budi Riza Putra Putra, Elena Madrid, Omotayo Arotiba, Luthando Tshwenya

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Citations (SciVal)


Cationic diodes based on Nafion ionomer coated microhole array substrates are combined with an anion conducting membrane to give an AC-electricity driven desalination or salination system. The combination of cationic diode with anionic resistor allows a 3D-printed four-chamber system to be configured with two internal chambers to extract and/or accumulate salt. Three configurations are demonstrated combining desalination and salination for an aqueous 250 mM NaCl solution. For a proof-of-concept device, 50% desalination/salination is demonstrated. The charge efficiency is estimated to be only 12%, limited mainly due to (i) resistivity lowering rectification, (ii) rectification ratio limitations for the array of microholes, (iii) insufficient stability of ionomer membranes under AC-pulse-driven operation. Perspectives for improvements and for future desalination/salination applications are given.
Original languageEnglish
Article number114351
Early online date6 Feb 2020
Publication statusPublished - 15 Apr 2020


  • Ionic diode
  • Ionomer membrane
  • Iontronics
  • Rectification
  • Salt removal
  • Voltammetry

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Chemical Engineering(all)
  • Materials Science(all)
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Mechanical Engineering


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