Urgent Evoke

A crash course in changing the world.

What are We Going to do with all this Salt?

About 70% of the planet is covered with ocean.

Around 97.2% of the earth's water is salt water.

We are facing a water crisis in many third and second world countries. In the near future the water crisis could spread into the more advanced nations; especially with the growing population. With such a small amount of water actually available and drinkable, people are looking towards the sea for more water. However, desalination takes muche energy, and to solar-power it could work, although the market for solar powered desalination plants is limited to only those countries where solar power actually works.

The desert areas are therefore out.

The very polluted areas are off the list too.

But with so many people actively looking for better desalination solutions, surely we will eventually find a way to desalinate sea water cost and energy efficiently?

But when we do - what shall we do with all of the salt?

The sea has an approximate salt-content average of 3.5%. At the amounts of water we would be 'making', we would have a huge amount of salt leftover.

The salt is toxic to most land plants, and although an important part of animal life, humans could only eat the salt produced sparingly (reccomended dose is around 4g a day). So - we still would have all this salt. What would we do with it?

According to 2002 statistics; total salt production was already estimated at 210 million tonnes. Sure, we could always ask people to 'lay off the salt production; desalination is making all the salt we need, thanks' - but it would be unrealistic to say the companies would be happy to just drop their income (as well as create a massive amount of unemployment in the process) because we 'just don't need that much salt.'

It isn't as if the large companies have ever been known specifically for their generous, environmental streak.

Chucking the salt into the sea would only generate more problems as future desalination will just take the salt out of the water again. A continuing salt cycle. Anyway - high salinity in the sea would only kill off the flora and fauna of the sea. One Dead Sea seems enough.

So yeah what are your thoughs on desalination and, well, the massive amounts of salt we will potentially produce?

Views: 27

Comment by Crystal Bellar on March 29, 2010 at 4:06am
Very very good article, thought inspiring, and good information ! +1 knowledge share
Comment by Crystal Bellar on March 29, 2010 at 4:14am
What about refilling salt domes?
People have been extracting from them for years and years and years- and they are already have tons of salt.

Also- remember- water usage does go back to its source eventually. Through evaporation, , ground water, rainstorms, sewage and greywater ends up back where it was. Will increased saliation actually be an issue long term?
Comment by Amber Sofia on March 29, 2010 at 4:24am
Salinity could be an issue in the future because with an increased population, logic tells me more water will be out of the sea at the same time than at the moment. Predicting the future would help, but as we cannot we cannot know exactly what will happen or how best to react.

Prepare for the worst. If the worst doesn't happen then it's ok, but if the worst does in fact happen atleast you will be prepared.
Comment by Megiddo Tell on March 29, 2010 at 8:43pm
I think the long term solution is to re-green the planet. I have read that by pulling the salt from the oceans, there will be a negative impact on marine life.
Comment by John D. Boyden on May 11, 2010 at 6:37pm
Water is also a growing problem in FIRST world countries. We ALL have a vested interest in solutions! Marvellous catch obn the salt problem. obviously we need to think how to use it? Fuel? Energy possibilities, Salt is NaCl ( Sodium) (Chlorine) What possibilities might exist for a useful breakdown? Great discussion possibility. +1 Collaboration


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