With the increasing severity of global water scarcity, a myriad of scientific activities is directed toward advancing brackish water desalination and wastewater remediation technologies. Flow-electrode capacitive deionization (FCDI), a newly developed electrochemically driven ion removal approach combining ion-exchange membranes and flowable particle electrodes, has been actively explored over the past seven years, driven by the possibility of energy-efficient, sustainable, and fully continuous production of high-quality fresh water, as well as flexible management of the particle electrodes and concentrate stream. Here, we provide a comprehensive overview of current advances of this interesting technology with particular attention given to FCDI principles, designs (including cell architecture and electrode and separator options), operational modes (including approaches to management of the flowable electrodes), characterizations and modeling, and environmental applications (including water desalination, resource recovery, and contaminant abatement). Furthermore, we introduce the definitions and performance metrics that should be used so that fair assessments and comparisons can be made between different systems and separation conditions. We then highlight the most pressing challenges (i.e., operation and capital cost, scale-up, and commercialization) in the full-scale application of this technology. We conclude this state-of-the-art review by considering the overall outlook of the technology and discussing areas requiring particular attention in the future.

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