CREATING SALT FROM THE SEA

Feb 12th, 2012

During the winter we are getting busier and busier trying to get some traction on the many balls we have in the air. One of those is our salt project. We’ve been interested in getting a salt product made from our ocean water for several years now.

Making sea salt from ocean water is not as simple as it sounds. But we are finally moving through some of the roadblocks that came up early on in the project. Like how do we get water off the shore of a publicly owned beach? How do we ensure the salt is being produced from clean water? Our local health department told us to write the regulation and they will evaluate it because right now they don’t have such a regulation. And if we copy the lowest fossil fuel method of extracting salt from sea water, that of evaporation, where do we do it and is there enough sun in the NW to get the job done?

Encouragement came a few years ago when we discovered a small salt company in Maine. After all their weather pattern is similar-being on the same parallel as Washington state. And they are willing to share details of their method. Lucky for them, they get their water off a privately owned beach. And they do not test for safety. My guess not many seasalt makers do. Recently when posing that question to a seasalt maker in Hawaii it was clear they thought  this was an incredulous question; afterall the waters of Hawaii are pristine!

By now we are working closely with OSU college of engineering and OHSU research. We have found our location. We are close to knowing our process. And we know where our water will come from. We even know how to collect water only when the purity levels are safe. And we can do it all, we believe, without using much in the way of fossil fuel. We may even have a by product that will be put to excellent use. The technology is something we want to share with other coastal towns. So stay tuned. More to come.