WO2012090062A1 - Flow-through capacitor assembly for the treatment of a fluid - Google Patents

Flow-through capacitor assembly for the treatment of a fluid

Info

Publication number
WO2012090062A1
WO2012090062A1 PCT/IB2011/003177 IB2011003177W WO2012090062A1 WO 2012090062 A1 WO2012090062 A1 WO 2012090062A1 IB 2011003177 W IB2011003177 W IB 2011003177W WO 2012090062 A1 WO2012090062 A1 WO 2012090062A1
Authority
WO
Grant status
Application
Patent type
Prior art keywords
cell
electrodes
containment structure
fluid flow
assembly
Prior art date
Application number
PCT/IB2011/003177
Other languages
French (fr)
Inventor
Mariella Servida
Original Assignee
Idropan Dell'orto Depuratori S.R.L.
Priority date (The priority date is an assumption and is not a legal conclusion. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation as to the accuracy of the date listed.)
Filing date
Publication date

Links

Classifications

    • CCHEMISTRY; METALLURGY
    • C02TREATMENT OF WATER, WASTE WATER, SEWAGE, OR SLUDGE
    • C02FTREATMENT OF WATER, WASTE WATER, SEWAGE, OR SLUDGE
    • C02F1/00Treatment of water, waste water, or sewage
    • C02F1/46Treatment of water, waste water, or sewage by electrochemical methods
    • C02F1/469Treatment of water, waste water, or sewage by electrochemical methods by electrochemical separation, e.g. by electro-osmosis, electrodialysis, electrophoresis
    • C02F1/4691Capacitive deionisation
    • CCHEMISTRY; METALLURGY
    • C02TREATMENT OF WATER, WASTE WATER, SEWAGE, OR SLUDGE
    • C02FTREATMENT OF WATER, WASTE WATER, SEWAGE, OR SLUDGE
    • C02F2201/00Apparatus for treatment of water, waste water or sewage
    • C02F2201/002Construction details of the apparatus
    • C02F2201/004Seals, connections
    • CCHEMISTRY; METALLURGY
    • C02TREATMENT OF WATER, WASTE WATER, SEWAGE, OR SLUDGE
    • C02FTREATMENT OF WATER, WASTE WATER, SEWAGE, OR SLUDGE
    • C02F2201/00Apparatus for treatment of water, waste water or sewage
    • C02F2201/002Construction details of the apparatus
    • C02F2201/005Valves
    • CCHEMISTRY; METALLURGY
    • C02TREATMENT OF WATER, WASTE WATER, SEWAGE, OR SLUDGE
    • C02FTREATMENT OF WATER, WASTE WATER, SEWAGE, OR SLUDGE
    • C02F2201/00Apparatus for treatment of water, waste water or sewage
    • C02F2201/46Apparatus for electrochemical processes
    • C02F2201/461Electrolysis apparatus
    • C02F2201/46105Details relating to the electrolytic devices
    • C02F2201/4612Controlling or monitoring
    • CCHEMISTRY; METALLURGY
    • C02TREATMENT OF WATER, WASTE WATER, SEWAGE, OR SLUDGE
    • C02FTREATMENT OF WATER, WASTE WATER, SEWAGE, OR SLUDGE
    • C02F2201/00Apparatus for treatment of water, waste water or sewage
    • C02F2201/46Apparatus for electrochemical processes
    • C02F2201/461Electrolysis apparatus
    • C02F2201/46105Details relating to the electrolytic devices
    • C02F2201/4612Controlling or monitoring
    • C02F2201/46145Fluid flow

Abstract

Through-flow capacitor assembly for the treatment of a fluid, which comprises: - a containment structure in which a cell is housed that is provided with a plurality of horizontal, superimposed electrodes susceptible to being crossed by a fluid flow containing ionized particles; - a direct current power supply mounted together with a logic control unit of the cell on a support rigidly fixed to the lower part of the containment structure and electrically connected to the electrodes by means of connection means inserted in a through opening obtained on the bottom of the containment structure. The latter also comprises a cover arranged to close an upper opening of the containment structure. Hydraulic connection means are provided for the cell which comprise a first supply connection susceptible to feeding the first cell with a first inlet fluid flow; a drawing connection susceptible to receiving an outlet fluid flow from the first cell and divided into a service branch, adapted to transport a fluid flow treated by the first cell, and an evacuation branch, adapted to transport a washing fluid flow that crossed the cell. Such connections are obtained in the thickness of the cover and are intercepted by solenoid valves inserted in seats obtained in the thickness of the same cover.

Description

FLOW-THROUGH CAPACITOR ASSEMBLY FOR THE TREATMENT OF A FLUID

Field of application

The present invention regards a flow-through capacitor assembly for the treatment of a fluid, according to the preamble of the main independent claim.

Such assembly is mainly intended to be employed in equipment or plants for removing from fluids, and more particularly usually from liquids, undesired concentrations of contaminants, e.g. constituted by salts dissolved therein; or it is employed for concentrating ionized particles within fluids, particularly for industrial processes, so as to allow a facilitated recovery or disposal thereof.

The assembly can be intended for multiple applications both in industrial and civilian fields, such as in plants for the desalination of seawater, in plants for the softening of particularly hard water, in plants for the removal (from the water) of salts (such as chlorides and sulfates), nitrates, nitrites, ammonia, heavy metals, organic substances and generally micro-pollutants, in plants for the deionization of fluids, e.g. of industrial processes or for the concentration of pollutant substances that are difficult to dispose of or advantageous to recover for reuse, or even in home environments, e.g. in drinking water softeners, in washing machines etc. as in equipment dedicated for specific functionalities that require advantageously pure liquids, such as in equipment for the production of drinks etc.

The present invention is therefore generally inserted in the industrial field of production of fluid treatment equipment or plants which have the object of filtering such fluids, i.e. concentrating several substances thereof in a reduced volume.

State of the art

The equipment or plants for the treatment (purification or concentration) of fluids by means of through-flow capacitors conventionally comprise one or more cells connected in series or in parallel with each other.

Each cell is usually formed by one or more through-flow capacitors, each of which equipped with a plurality of superimposed electrodes between which the fluid to be treated is made to pass, with the object of concentrating a solute with ionized particles, i.e. with the object of obtaining a solvent cleaned of such particles.

The electrodes of the through-flow capacitors are conventionally formed with conductive material layers facing each other and charged with opposite polarities by a direct current power supply in order to generate an electrostatic field between the contiguous electrodes. In order to obtain the electrodes, spongy activated carbon is for example employed, preferably but not necessarily associated with a semi-permeable membrane of anionic or cationic exchange type, particularly capable of selectively trapping the ions that migrate towards the corresponding electrode under the action of the electric field.

The alternated layers of electrodes are separated from each other by spacer layers, in which the fluid flow runs. The electrodes of the through-flow capacitors electrostatically absorb and release the ionic charge contaminants and actively participate in the deionization process of the liquid to be treated. The electrodes are for such purpose generally formed by conductive material porous structures.

More in detail, each cell is cyclically subjected: to a charge step, in which the contiguous different-polarity electrodes of the cell capacitors are charged and brought to an expected operating voltage; to a service step, in which with the electrodes charged, the fluid flow to be treated is forced to pass through the cell capacitors in order to clean the fluid of the polarized particles attracted by the respective electrodes with opposite polarity, determining a progressive accumulation of the ionized particles on the same electrodes; and to a regeneration step, in which with the electrodes deactivated, a washing fluid flow is forced to pass into the capacitor of the respective cell, with consequent removal of the ionized particles accumulated on the electrodes.

A logic control unit commands the cyclic repetition of the aforesaid operating steps of the equipment, in particular driving the actuation of the power supply and the solenoid valves which control the hydraulic plant connected to the cell (or to the cells). In particular, the hydraulic plant usually comprises a duct for feeding the cell with the liquid to be treated, a duct for drawing the purified liquid from the cell, and a duct for discharging the washing liquid from the cell during the regeneration step.

The voltage at the electrodes during the steps of the cell is managed by the power supply board of the control unit in a per se known manner, given that it is possible to provide for the charging of the electrodes in the step preceding the activation of the cell, as well as the deactivation of the electrodes during the regeneration, e.g. by means of short-circuiting of the electrodes, and/or charging of the electrodes with reversed polarity and/or simple disconnection of the electrodes.

Through-flow capacitors of the above-indicated known type are, for example, described in the patents US 6,413,409 and US 5,360,540.

According to the applications, purification equipment may be requested that is equipped with numerous cells for treating large fluid volumes, i.e. for lowering, in multiple successive steps, the conductivity of a fluid flow until it is brought to desired values.

In order to optimize the yield of the cell or group of cells from the hydraulic standpoint, by controlling the flows that cross the cell or cells, and from the electrical standpoint, by controlling the voltage at the electrodes, the logic control unit and the power supply electronics can be rather complex. Currently, the power supply of the cell and its electronics, as well as the control board for the actuation of the solenoid valves of the hydraulic plant, and more generally the control unit of the entire cell (or cells) that receives the signals from the diagnostic control means for the functioning of the cell and that controls both the power supply and the solenoid valves, are placed in distal position, physically separated from the cell intended as an assembly of wires.

During the charge and discharge transients of the functioning cycle, each cell substantially electrically behaves like a capacitor with large capacity that absorbs or transfers high current peaks (even on the order of several hundred amperes) and therefore is conventionally power supplied through large copper bars capable of transferring large current flows.

A first drawback of the art known up to now lies in the structural complexity, in the high obtainment costs and in the considerable bulk tied to the use of the copper bars for connecting the power supply to the electrodes of the cell, which as stated can be situated in the equipment even at fair distances from each other.

As is known, each electrical connection, especially in the presence of high currents, causes losses due to point increases of the electrical resistance; such losses are of course undesired and negatively affect the overall yield of the equipment.

In addition, as a function of the different applications in the various fields of the art, the through-flow capacitor cells are suitable for cooperating with numerous other components such as pumps, tanks etc. which require being structurally integrated in dedicated equipment, i.e. which require a customized design that goes beyond the control of the cell steps and that involves the components of the specific application designed by specialist technicians in the respective technological sectors.

In substance, there is the need to separate, both as hardware and software, the cell and its indispensable base components (i.e. the power supply, the hydraulic feed, drawing and discharge ducts with the relative control solenoid valves and with the possible diagnostic means) from the accessory hardware and software means related to the single specific applications of the cell in the various technological contexts. The latter may in fact require a dedicated design, better obtainable by the operators of such fields rather than the producers of through-flow capacitor cells.

Currently, the equipment and plants present on the market manage the cells, power supply means, solenoid valves and logic control units as separate components to be integrated with each other in the overall obtainment of the different applications. In substance, it has not been identified whether several components common to the different applications could be advantageously integrated with each other in an assembly in order to meet common design needs of the different applications in a simplified manner.

In practice, this led to the obtainment of equipment dedicated to single application needs, marked by high costs and size and rather low efficiencies.

Presentation of the invention

In this situation, the problem underlying the present invention is therefore that of overcoming the drawbacks of the abovementioned prior art, by providing a through-flow capacitor assembly for the treatment of a fluid, which can be employed in a versatile manner for the obtainment of dedicated equipment for specific applications.

Another object of the present invention is to provide a through-flow capacitor assembly for the treatment of a fluid that is entirely safe and reliable in operation.

Another object of the present invention is to provide a through-flow capacitor assembly for the treatment of a fluid that is inexpensive to make.

Another object of the present invention is to provide a through-flow capacitor assembly for the treatment of a fluid that is highly efficient.

Another object of the present invention is to provide a through-flow capacitor assembly for the treatment of a fluid that has limited size.

Brief description of the drawings

The technical characteristics of the finding, according to the aforesaid objects, can be clearly found in the contents of the claims reported below, and the advantages of the same will be evident in the following detailed description, made with reference to the attached drawings, which represent several merely exemplifying and non-limiting embodiments thereof, in which:

- Figure 1 shows a first embodiment of an assembly with a single cell for the treatment of a fluid according to the present invention, in a partially exploded perspective view;

- Figure 2 shows a second embodiment of an assembly with two cells in a single containment structure, for the treatment of a fluid according to the present invention in a partially exploded view;

- Figure 3 shows a third embodiment of an assembly with two cells in two separate containment structures, for the treatment of a fluid according to the present invention in a partially exploded view and with some parts transparent;

- Figure 4 shows a schematic side view of the assembly of figure 1 ;

- Figure 5 shows a schematic side view of the assembly of figure 2 or figure 3;

- Figure 6 shows a perspective view of a detail of the assembly of figure 1 relative to a closure cover of the containment structure with several parts transparent;

- Figure 7 shows a perspective view of a detail of the assembly of figure 2 relative to a closure cover of the containment structure with several parts transparent;

- Figure 8 shows a partially exploded perspective view of an embodiment of a detail of the assembly, object of the present invention, relative to a lower closure panel of the containment structure with electrical connection means represented;

- Figure 9 shows a partially exploded perspective view of a detail of the assembly, object of the present invention, relative to a plurality of superimposed electrodes;

- Figure 10 shows a schematic view in section of a detail of the assembly, object of the present invention, relative to several superimposed electrodes retained by conductive plates of said electrical connection means;

- Figure 1 1 shows a perspective schematic view of a detail of the assembly, object of the present invention, relative to an electrode;

- Figure 12 shows a schematic view in section of a detail of the assembly, object of the present invention, relative to a solenoid valve mounted on the cover of the containment structure;

- Figure 13 shows a variant of the assembly of figure 1 in partially exploded perspective view;

- Figure 14 shows a fourth embodiment of an assembly with two cells in two different containment structures, each equipped with a cover, for the treatment of a fluid according to the present invention, in a partially exploded perspective view;

- Figure 15 shows a plan view detail of the assembly of figure 14 relative to a closure cover of the containment structure with several parts transparent;

- Figure 16 shows the detail of figure 15 in perspective view. Detailed description of a preferred embodiment

With reference to the drawing set, an embodiment of a through-flow capacitor assembly for the purification of a fluid, object of the present invention, is indicated with 1 in its entirety.

The assembly 1 , according to the invention, is suitable for being employed in a versatile manner in equipment and plants for the purification of fluids, to remove ionized particles present therein that are susceptible to being affected by the presence of an electric field (such as ions in solution) and for their concentration in an extremely reduced fluid volume.

Below, the term "ionized particles" will generically indicate any contaminant dissolved in the fluid to be treated, capable of being attracted by an electrostatic field, as in particular the ions dissolved in a fluid.

The assembly 1 is therefore suitable for operating in different application contexts, where it is necessary to purify a fluid of ionized contaminants; as an example, it can be used in softeners (or more generally in equipment for the deionization of water), in equipment for the production of drinks (such as machines for the automatic distribution of hot drinks, or professional machines for making coffee), in water purification plants, e.g. which remove arsenic or other undesired polarized substances, etc.

The assembly 1 that is the object of the present invention is also suitable for being employed for purifying waste liquids of industrial processes, given that it is particularly capable of removing, from such liquids, salts in solution (such as chlorides and sulfates), nitrates, nitrites, ammonia, and other polarized contaminants, chemical substances, organic substances or micro-pollutants in general.

The present assembly can also be applied in industrial plants or equipment for concentrating ionized particles inside reduced volumes, such particles particularly of industrial process fluids, and facilitating the recovery or removal thereof.

In the embodiment illustrated in the enclosed schematic figures, the assembly 1 for the treatment of a fluid comprises at least one cell 2 equipped with a containment structure 3 with two or more superimposed electrodes 4 housed therein and facing each other, preferably with flat, thin shape, but also with encircling shape, e.g. to form a cylinder. Between the electrodes 4, a fluid flow to be treated can flow, which contains ionized particles.

Of course, without departing from the protective scope of the present patent, the assembly 1 can comprise a containment structure 3 for a single cell (as shown in the embodiment of figure 1 and figure 13), or a single containment structure 3 for two or more separate cells 2 (as shown in figure 2), or even multiple separate containment structures 3, each intended for a corresponding cell 2 (as shown in figure 3 and in figure 14).

Each cell 2 is electrically connected to a DC power supply 36, schematized in the figures with a dashed line, adapted to charge the electrodes 4 with different polarity in a manner so as to define a plurality of electrodes 4 facing each other, in order to form the armatures of the same number of capacitors in series among which electric fields are established for the attraction of the ionized contaminant particles.

The electrodes 4 are charged at an operating voltage (e.g. 1.6 Volt) and are obtained with superimposed, facing layers made of conductive material, separated from each other by separator layers 50 (indicated in an exemplifying manner without respecting the proportions in figure 10) within which the fluid to be treated flows, such fluid containing the ionized particles that one wishes to at least partly remove.

The conductive layers that form the electrodes 4 are advantageously obtained by means of a conductive material having a porous structure, or having a formation of surface pores that offer a large surface for exchange with the liquid.

Advantageously, in accordance with the embodiment of figure 1 1 , each electrode 4 can be obtained with a sheet made of metal conductive material 4', e.g. titanium, with a porous material 4' ' such as activated carbon superimposed on one face and preferably on both faces. A contact portion 4"', in particular constituted by a lateral edge of the sheet made of metal conductive material 4', is left free of the porous material layer 4" in order to allow the obtainment of the electrical power supply contact, as will be specified below.

The material constituting the conductive layers can more generally be any one material that is well-known to be employed in the electrochemical processes of the flow capacitors and will conventionally comprise spongy activated carbon; or it can be constituted by any one of the materials described in the patent US 6,413,409, for example, enclosed herein for reference purposes, from line 64 of column 3 to line 41 of column 4, or by conductive flexible PTFE sheets and carbon particles as described in the patent US 7,175,783 enclosed herein for reference, or by any one material described in the patent US 6,709,560, enclosed herein for reference, from line 26 of column 6 to line 23 of column 7.

The separator layers 50 can in turn be constituted, for example, by highly-porous, non- conductive materials, capable of isolating the electrodes, allowing the passage of the fluid flow, such as a porous synthetic material or other non-conductive spacer materials such as glass fiber or a nylon fabric.

The size, shape and distribution of the conductive material layers which compose the electrodes, i.e. the size, shape and distribution of the separator material layers interposed between the electrodes, are not part of the object of a specific claim and will not be described in detail since they are well known to a man skilled in the art. As a mere example, they are described in the patent US 6,413,409 or in the patent US 6,709,560, enclosed herein for reference, in particular from lines 1 1 to 23 of column 7.

The assembly 1 also comprises hydraulic means mechanically connected to the containment structure 3 intended to hydraulically connect the cell 2 to a hydraulic plant outside the cell 2 and constituting part of the plant or treatment equipment of a fluid in accordance with the different specific application needs. In accordance with the idea underlying the present invention, the assembly 1 comprises a cover 60 placed to close at least one opening 61 of the containment structure 3.

In addition, according to the finding, the aforesaid hydraulic means for connecting the cell 2 with the external hydraulic plant comprise at least one first supply connection 5 susceptible to supplying the cell 2 with a first inlet fluid flow and at least one drawing connection 7 susceptible to receiving an outlet fluid flow from the cell 2, such connections obtained in the thickness of the cover 6. More in detail, the drawing connection 7 is divided into a service branch 8, adapted to transport a fluid flow treated by the cell 2, and at least one evacuation branch 9, adapted to transport a washing fluid flow that crossed the cell 2.

Such cover 60 is advantageously obtained in a plastic material, so as to easily make the aforesaid connections 5, 7, 8 and 9 in its thickness, e.g. by means of simple removal of material or by molding (obtaining the cover 60 with two or more shells coupled together).

Once the electrodes 4 are inserted in the space of the containment structure 3, the cover 60 is rigidly closed by means of fixing means 90 constituted, for example, by screws interposing a seal gasket 80.

Inside the aforesaid connections, solenoid valves are arranged, connected to the logic control unit of the assembly 1 , as specified below. More in detail, a first solenoid valve 70 is inserted in a seat 81 obtained in the cover for intercepting the first supply connection 5, in order to intercept the first fluid flow entering the cell 2, coming from a source outside the hydraulic plant of the equipment or plant of the provided application. A second solenoid valve 71 is inserted in a seat 81 obtained in the cover for intercepting the service branch 8, in order to intercept the fluid flow that was treated by the cell 2 and that thus has a reduced number of contaminant particles, which were at least partly removed by the capture action of the electrodes 4 of the cell 2.

Such fluid flow can be employed for the specific expected needs with the residual contamination level obtained via a single passage, or it can be sent to another cell 2 for a further percentage removal of the contaminant particles.

A third solenoid valve 72 is inserted in a seat 81 obtained in the cover for intercepting the evacuation branch 9, in order to intercept the washing fluid flow that crossed the cell 2 and that, with the electrodes 4 deactivated, removed most of the charged particles deposited on the cell 2 during the service step of the same cell 2.

The fluid entering the cell 2 can therefore be constituted both by a fluid flow to be treated and by a washing fluid flow, according to the operating steps in which the same cell 2 is in operation.

Advantageously, the solenoid valves 71, 72, 73 are sealingly inserted (by means of gaskets 82) via screwing in seats 81 obtained (for the interception of the respective connections) on the cover 60 and in particular on the upper face of the cover 60, as illustrated in figures 1 , 2, 3, 6 and 7, or even on the lateral faces of the cover 60 as illustrated in figures 13 to 16.

Advantageously, one or more connections terminate at the external surface of the containment structure 3 with a check valve 83.

The direct current power supply 36 is rigidly fixed to the containment structure 3 and is electrically connected to the electrodes 4 by means of electrical connection means 73, which cross a through opening 74 obtained in the same containment structure 3.

The assembly 1 also comprises a logic control unit 100 therein, which is mechanically part of the same assembly 1 and is susceptible to controlling the power supply 36 and the solenoid valves according to pre-established operating cycles.

More in detail, the logic control unit 100 (master CPU) drives the different operating steps of the assembly 1 and in particular comprises a control board 36' of the power supply 36 with integrated circuits, which controls the voltage applied at the electrodes 4 in the various operating steps of the functioning cycle of the cell 2, typically by means of semiconductor switches.

Such cycle of the cell 2 can for example provide, in an entirely conventional, per se known manner that is well known to the man skilled in the art: a charge step, in which the contiguous electrodes 4 with different polarities of the capacitors of the cell 2 are charged and brought to an expected operating voltage, e.g. equal to 1.6 V; a service step, in which with the electrodes 4 charged, the fluid flow to be treated is forced to pass through the electrodes 4 of the cell 2 in order to remove the contaminant particles, which then are progressively accumulated on the same electrodes 4; and a regeneration step, in which with the electrodes 4 deactivated, the washing fluid flow is forced between the electrodes 4 of the respective cell 2 with consequent removal of the ionized particles accumulated on the same electrodes 4.

The functioning of such through-flow capacitor cells thus provides for the alternation of service steps, in which the ions present in the fluid are concentrated at opposite electrodes 4, regeneration steps, in which the ions accumulated on the electrodes 4 are removed by means of the aforesaid washing flow, and charge steps for restarting the service step.

Advantageously, the logic control unit 100 is connected to a conductivity sensor 75 placed to intercept the drawing connection 7, in order to verify the conductivity of the water treated by the cell 2, and is possibly also connected to a flow measure (not illustrated), placed to intercept the supply connection 5, in order to verify the water flow entering the cell 2.

Due to the assumed conductivity values (and possibly also flow rate values), the logic control unit 100 can vary its functioning in a programmable manner, for example by providing for services steps of varying lengths with respect to the regeneration steps. Advantageously, the superimposed electrodes 4 are each centrally equipped with a hole forming a conveyance channel towards the drawing connection 7.

The assembly 1 can also comprise a second supply connection 5' obtained in the thickness of the cover 60, susceptible to feeding a first cell 2 with a second inlet fluid flow, for example coming from a second cell 2 and in particular from the service branch of a second cell 2, in order to connect two cells 2 in series and to obtain an overall greater removal of the ionized contaminant particles contained in the liquid to be treated. A fourth solenoid valve 70' inserted in the second supply connection 5' is advantageously provided for intercepting the second inlet fluid flow.

Preferably, the assembly 1 also comprises at least one third supply connection, not illustrated in the enclosed figures, which is obtained in the thickness of the cover 60 and is susceptible to feeding the cell 2 inlet with a washing fluid flow.

In order to maintain the cell 2 in maximum efficiency conditions, its electrodes 4 can be cyclically subjected to cleaning steps through the insertion of a solubilizing product, which is preferably sent to the cell through a third dedicated supply connection 76 obtained in the thickness of the cover 6. A fifth valve 77 is preferably provided in a relative seat 81 of the cover 60 for the interception of the aforesaid flow of solubilizing product.

Preferably, the insertion of such solubilizing product in the cell 2 will occur through the third dedicated connection and in accordance with the teaching of the patent ITPD2010A000055, incorporated herein for reference from page 13, line 6, to page 15, line 7.

With the term "solubilizing product", it must be intended any one product, in particular advantageously available in a solution for ease of insertion in the cell 2, susceptible for increasing the solubility of the specific ionized particles with which it is intended to interact in the provided application, increasing the precipitation threshold thereof. It will therefore be constituted by a solution containing a counter-ion capable of inhibiting, within certain limits, the precipitation of the ion contained in the fluid to be treated; hence it can be constituted by an acidic solution for the solubilization of carbonates or nitrates. The logic control unit 100 can also advantageously manage insertion means provided outside the assembly 1 , which can insert in the cell (with the flow of liquid to be treated interrupted), at the electrodes 4, a quantity of solubilizing product received from a suitable tank.

Furthermore, in accordance with the patent application No. IT PD2010A000144, incorporated herein for reference from page 10, line 9, to page 18, line 14, the logic control unit 100 can also manage the steps of two cells 2, providing that starting from the charge step of a first cell, a second cell, once terminated its service step and at the start of its regeneration step, is electrically connected in series (with reversed polarity) to the first cell in order to at least partially discharge its electrodes on the first cell in an energy recovery step.

Advantageously, the containment structure 3 has the shape of a substantially box-like body, preferably parallelepiped, with the cover 60 placed at the top to close the opening 61, and preferably with size such to allow the insertion of the plurality of electrodes 4 superimposed on each other with horizontal positions.

The power supply 36 and the logic control unit 100 are mounted on a support 101 , e.g. also of box-like shape open at the top and fixed on the lower part to the containment structure 3, for example by means of screws (as illustrated in figure 8); or, in accordance with the embodiments of figures 13 to 16, the support 101 advantageously has a box-like shape open on the side and is laterally fixed to the containment structure 3, for example by means of screws. The electrical connection means 73 mentioned above advantageously comprise for each polarity of the power supply 36, a plurality of conductive plates 78 with preferably elongated shape, arranged stacked near the lateral walls 79 of the containment structure 3 with the interposition of the contact edges 4" ' of the conductive sheets 4" of the electrodes 4.

More in detail, between two conductive plates 78, multiple contact edges 4"' of the conductive sheets 4' are interposed, with a same polarity, in a manner so as to obtain a large current passage surface adapted to minimize the electrical losses of the high current coming from the power supply 36.

The same conductive plates are connected to the board 36' (e.g. by means of screws) of the power supply 36 by means of (for example) connection elements 46 placed at the respective lateral wall 79 of the containment structure 3; such connection elements are for example constituted by a cylindrical clamp with large diameter, screwed so as to cross the through hole 74 preferably obtained on the bottom or on the side of the containment structure 3 and susceptible to abut under pressure against the relative stack of conductive plates 78.

The conductive plates 78 are placed close to the opposite lateral walls 79 of the containment structure 3, and the electrodes 4 are stacked to cover the remaining planar area of the space of the same containment structure 3 with the front and rear edges arranged close to the corresponding front and rear walls 102a, 102b of the containment structure 3. Consequently, the volume of the containment structure 3 not covered by the electrodes 4 is minimized, allowing the reduction of the fluid transported in the passage from one operating step to another.

Also the vicinity of the solenoid valves to the cell 2 allows minimizing the fluid volumes transported in the passage from one operating step to another.

Advantageously, in accordance with the embodiments of the present invention illustrated in figures 13, 14, 15 and 16, the containment structure 3 comprises an upper wall 103 adapted to cover the cells 2 housed in the containment structure 3 itself and fixed to the walls 79, 102a and 102b of the latter, preferably by means of bolts or screws.

The upper wall 103 preferably has at least two openings 61 of which one is in communication with the first supply connection 5, for the feeding of fluid to the cell 2, and one in communication with the drawing connection 7, for the evacuation of the same fluid from the cell 2. Advantageously, in accordance with the embodiment of figure 14, the upper wall also has the further opening 61 (not shown) in communication with the second supply connection 5'.

Still with reference to the embodiments illustrated in figures 13 to 16, the cover 60 preferably has seats 81 provided on its upper face and on its lateral faces; in particular, advantageously, seats 81 are provided on the lateral faces that can house the second and third solenoid valve 71 and 72, and on the upper face a seat 81 is provided for the first solenoid valve 70 and (in accordance with the embodiment of figure 13) another seat 81 is provided for the fourth solenoid valve 70'.

In figure 13, the supply connections 5 and 5' and the drawing connection 7 are schematized with dashed lines. Advantageously, the dedicated connection 76, for the insertion in the cell 2 of solubilizing product, is hydraulically in communication with the first supply connection 5, and advantageously also with the second supply connection 5' when the latter is provided (as in the embodiment of figure 13). In particular, such dedicated connection 76 is in communication with the first supply connection 5 preferably downstream of the first solenoid valve 70, and with the second supply connection 5 ' (when the latter is provided) preferably downstream of the fourth solenoid valve 70'.

Otherwise, in any case still falling within the protective scope of the present patent, the dedicated connection 76 can be separated from the supply connections 5 and 5' and be in hydraulic communication directly with the containment structure 3 interior (through the cover 60), as is illustrated for example in figure 7.

In addition, in accordance with the idea underlying the present invention, the dedicated connection 76 is advantageously hydraulically connected to a tank of solubilizing product (not shown) and with means for pumping such solubilizing product from such tank to the dedicated connection 76, also not shown as they are per se conventional and known to the man skilled in the art. Advantageously, such pumping means comprise a preferably peristaltic pump, operatively connected to the logic control unit 100 in order to be actuated by the latter in a controlled manner, for inserting a measured quantity of the aforesaid solubilizing product in the cell 2.

Still with reference to the embodiments illustrated in figures 13 to 16, the cover 60 is advantageously obtained in plastic material, in a manner so as to easily obtain, in its thickness, the aforesaid connections 5, 7, 8 and 9, e.g. by means of simple removal of material or via molding (obtaining the cover 60 with two or more shells coupled together).

In the embodiments of figures 13 - 16, once the electrodes 4 are inserted in the space of the containment structure 3 , the cover 60 is rigidly closed on the containment structure 3 by means of fixing means (not illustrated in figures 13 to 16) which are preferably constituted by strips or bands, e.g. in metal material; such strips or bands mechanically lock the cover 60 to the containment structure 3 preferably by engaging slots 104 obtained on the cover 60 and on the containment structure 3. The finding thus conceived therefore attains the pre-established objects. Of course, the finding can also assume, in the practical achievement thereof, shapes and configurations that are different from those illustrated above, without departing from the present protective scope.

In addition, all details can be substituted by technically equivalent elements, and the size, shapes and materials employed can be of any type as required.

Claims

1. Through-flow capacitor assembly for the treatment of a fluid, which comprises:
- at least one containment structure;
- at least a first cell provided with a plurality of superimposed electrodes housed in said containment structure, a fluid flow containing ionized particles being susceptible to flow between said electrodes;
- a direct current power supply electrically connected to said plurality of electrodes;
- hydraulic connection means mechanically connected to said containment structure intended to hydraulically connect said first cell to a hydraulic plant;
characterized in that:
- said containment structure comprises a cover arranged to close at least one opening of said containment structure;
- said hydraulic connection means comprise at least a first supply connection susceptible to feeding said first cell with a first inlet fluid flow; at least one drawing connection susceptible to receiving an outlet fluid flow from said first cell, said drawing connection being divided into at least one service branch, adapted to transport a fluid flow treated by said first cell, and at least one evacuation branch, adapted to transport a washing fluid flow which crossed said first cell; said first supply connection and said drawing connection being obtained in the thickness of said cover;
- said power supply is rigidly fixed to said containment structure and is electrically connected to said electrodes by means of electrical connection means inserted in a through opening obtained in said containment structure.
2. Assembly for the treatment of a fluid according to claim 1 , which comprises:
- a first solenoid valve inserted in said cover to intercept said first supply connection, in order to intercept the first inlet fluid flow; - a second solenoid valve inserted in said cover to intercept said service branch, in order to intercept the fluid flow treated by said first cell;
- a third solenoid valve inserted in said cover to intercept said evacuation branch, in order to intercept the washing fluid flow of said cell.
3. Assembly for the treatment of a fluid according to claim 1, which comprises at least one second supply connection obtained in the thickness of said cover, susceptible to feeding said first cell with a second inlet fluid flow coming from a second cell, and in particular from the service branch of a second cell; a fourth solenoid valve being inserted in said second supply connection in order to intercept the second inlet fluid flow.
4. Assembly for the treatment of a fluid according to claim 1 , which comprises at least a third supply connection obtained in the thickness of said cover, susceptible to feeding said first cell with a washing fluid flow.
5. Assembly for the treatment of a fluid according to any one of the preceding claims, characterized in that it comprises a logic control unit, mechanically integral with the same assembly, electrically connected to said power supply and to said solenoid valves in order to command the charging of said plurality of electrodes and the passage of said fluids through said cell according to pre-established operating steps.
6. Assembly for the treatment of a fluid according to claim 5, characterized in that said logic control unit is mechanically integral with said power supply, in particular comprising a control board of the electronic circuit of said power supply.
7. Assembly for the treatment of a fluid according to any one of the claims from 5 to 6, wherein said power supply and said logic control unit are mounted on a support fixed to said containment structure, in particular at a lower or lateral face of said containment structure.
8. Assembly for the treatment of a fluid according to any one of the preceding claims, which comprises fixing means for rigidly connecting said cover to said containment structure.
9. Assembly for the treatment of a fluid according to claim 5, wherein said logic control unit controls said solenoid valves and said power supply, cyclically determining at least: - the charging, with different polarities, of the electrodes of said first cell; - the passage through the charged electrodes of said first cell of a fluid flow to be treated, with progressive accumulation of said ionized particles on said electrodes; - with said electrodes deactivated, the passage of a washing flow through said first cell with consequent removal of said ionized particles accumulated on said electrodes.
10. Assembly for the treatment of a fluid according to any one of the preceding claims, characterized in that said electrodes comprise a sheet of conductive material, covered on at least one face with a porous conductive material layer, in particular comprising activated carbon, and having at least one electrical contact portion, in particular obtained with a peripheral edge; and characterized in that said electrical connection means comprise two or more electrical conduction plates for each power supply polarity, electrically connected to said power supply, between which the electrical contact portions of said electrodes are interposed and compressed.
1 1. Assembly for the treatment of a fluid according to claim 10, characterized in that the conduction plates of each polarity are arranged close to opposite lateral walls of said containment structure in order to minimize the volume of the latter not covered by said electrodes.
PCT/IB2011/003177 2010-12-29 2011-12-29 Flow-through capacitor assembly for the treatment of a fluid WO2012090062A1 (en)

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ITPD20100096 2010-12-29
ITPD2010U000096 2010-12-29

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Citations (7)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
US5360540A (en) 1990-04-23 1994-11-01 Andelman Marc D Chromatography system
US5954937A (en) * 1994-05-20 1999-09-21 The Regents Of The University Of California Method and apparatus for capacitive deionization and electrochemical purification and regeneration of electrodes
US6413409B1 (en) 1998-09-08 2002-07-02 Biosource, Inc. Flow-through capacitor and method of treating liquids with it
US6709560B2 (en) 2001-04-18 2004-03-23 Biosource, Inc. Charge barrier flow-through capacitor
US7175783B2 (en) 2003-08-19 2007-02-13 Patrick Michael Curran Carbon electrode for use in aqueous electrochemical devices and method of preparation
WO2010069065A1 (en) * 2008-12-18 2010-06-24 Enpar Technologies Inc. Capacitive deionization cell with radial flow
EP2322486A1 (en) * 2009-11-04 2011-05-18 Voltea B.V. An apparatus and method for removal of ions

Patent Citations (7)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
US5360540A (en) 1990-04-23 1994-11-01 Andelman Marc D Chromatography system
US5954937A (en) * 1994-05-20 1999-09-21 The Regents Of The University Of California Method and apparatus for capacitive deionization and electrochemical purification and regeneration of electrodes
US6413409B1 (en) 1998-09-08 2002-07-02 Biosource, Inc. Flow-through capacitor and method of treating liquids with it
US6709560B2 (en) 2001-04-18 2004-03-23 Biosource, Inc. Charge barrier flow-through capacitor
US7175783B2 (en) 2003-08-19 2007-02-13 Patrick Michael Curran Carbon electrode for use in aqueous electrochemical devices and method of preparation
WO2010069065A1 (en) * 2008-12-18 2010-06-24 Enpar Technologies Inc. Capacitive deionization cell with radial flow
EP2322486A1 (en) * 2009-11-04 2011-05-18 Voltea B.V. An apparatus and method for removal of ions

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