Fraunhofer USA Center for Coatings and Diamond Technologies CCD receives DOI Research Grant


East Lansing, 8/16/2018 

Bureau of Reclamation Commissioner Brenda Burman recently announced that 16 entities will receive $3.5 million for laboratory and pilot-scale research projects as part of the Desalination and Water Purification Research Program. Press Release

In collaboration with MSU, Fraunhofer CCD was selected to receive a grant from the US Department of Interior (DOI) to develop an efficient and scalable capacitive deionization (CDI) technology for water desalination using an innovative plasma-activated biochar. Biochar is a porous carbon material derived from sustainable biomass through pyrolysis. The porous structures make biochar very suitable for the CDI electrodes to electrochemically adsorb the ions. Biochar must be activated to create nano-sized pores with large specific surface areas and high-surface energies. The conventional activation requires chemical treatments at high-temperatures (500-900 ) using CO2, steam, or a strong base (e.g. KOH) for over two hours followed by washing and prolonged drying. This energy-intensive and lengthy process is expensive and has become a critical barrier to producing high-performance activated carbon for CDI desalination. This project will use a plasma to efficiently activate biochar. A plasma is an ionized gas that consists of a large number of reactive species, which can selectively etch certain carbon phases in the biochar to create nanoporous structures. The research will enhance scientific understanding of the chemical and physical reactions involved in the plasma activation process. Biochar is a sustainable material with abundant resources. Using plasma activated biochar for water treatment can significantly promote the desalination efficiency at greatly reduced materials cost and power consumption. This innovative desalination technology will have positive impact to the environment and the society.



Russell Zarras, Manager-Communications

Fraunhofer USA Center dor Diamond and Coatings Technologies CCD

email rzarras (at)