Electrodialysis Applications in Wastewater Treatment for Environmental Protection and Resources Recovery: A Systematic Review on Progress and Perspectives

Membranes (Basel). 2020 Jul 9;10(7):146. doi: 10.3390/membranes10070146.


This paper presents a comprehensive review of studies on electrodialysis (ED) applications in wastewater treatment, outlining the current status and the future prospect. ED is a membrane process of separation under the action of an electric field, where ions are selectively transported across ion-exchange membranes. ED of both conventional or unconventional fashion has been tested to treat several waste or spent aqueous solutions, including effluents from various industrial processes, municipal wastewater or salt water treatment plants, and animal farms. Properties such as selectivity, high separation efficiency, and chemical-free treatment make ED methods adequate for desalination and other treatments with significant environmental benefits. ED technologies can be used in operations of concentration, dilution, desalination, regeneration, and valorisation to reclaim wastewater and recover water and/or other products, e.g., heavy metal ions, salts, acids/bases, nutrients, and organics, or electrical energy. Intense research activity has been directed towards developing enhanced or novel systems, showing that zero or minimal liquid discharge approaches can be techno-economically affordable and competitive. Despite few real plants having been installed, recent developments are opening new routes for the large-scale use of ED techniques in a plethora of treatment processes for wastewater.

Keywords: bipolar membrane electrodialysis; brine valorisation; electro-membrane process; electrodeionisation; electrodialysis metathesis; electrodialysis reversal; monovalent selective membranes; reverse electrodialysis; selectrodialysis; water reuse.

Publication types

  • Review