What is EDI?
High purity water production has traditionally used a combination of membrane separation and ion exchange processes. EDI is a process which combines semi-impermeable membrane technology with ion-exchange media to provide a high efficiency demineralization process.
Electro dialysis employ electrical current and specially-prepared membranes which are semi permeable to ions based on their charge, electrical current, and ability to reduce the ions based to their charge. Through electro dialysis an electrical potential transports and segregates charged aqueous species. The electrical current is used to continuously regenerate the resin, eliminating the need for periodical regeneration.
The EDI process produces industrial process water of very high purity, using less than 95% of the chemical products used in the conventional ion exchange processes. With EDI system membranes and electricity replace the million gallons of acid and caustic chemicals that the old processes required daily.
How does it work?
An EDI stack has the basic structure of a deionization chamber. The chamber contains a ion exchange resin, packed between a cationic exchange membrane and a anionic exchange membrane. Only the ions can pass through the membrane, the water is blocked.
When flow enters the resin filled diluiting compartment, several processes are set in motion. Strong ions are scavenged out of the feed stream by the mixed bed resins. Under the influence of the strong direct current field applied across the stack of components, charged ions are pulled off the resin and drawn towards the respective, oppositely-charged electrodes. In this way these charged strong-ion species are continuously removed and transferred in to the adiacent concentrating compartments.
As the ions go towards the membrane, they can pass through the concentration chamber (see figure) but they cannot reach the electrode. They are blocked by the contiguous membrane, that contains a resin with the same charge.
As the strong ions are removed from the process stream, the conductivity of the stream becomes quite low. The strong, applied electrical potential splits water at the surface of the resin beads, producing hydrogen and hydroxyl ions. These act as continuous regenerating agents of the ion-exchange resin. These regenerated resins allow ionization of neutral or weakly-ionized aqueous species such as carbon dioxide or silica. Ionization is followed by removal through the direct current and the ion exchange membranes.
The ionization reactions occurring in the resin in hydrogen or hydroxide forms for the removal of weakly ionized compounds are listed below: