Home Chemistry Can You Extract Salt From Saltwater?

Can You Extract Salt From Saltwater?

Indonesia Bali Amed Salt Extracted From Saltwater Stock Photo Getty


Indonesia is a tropical country surrounded by oceans. The abundance of seawater makes it one of the largest salt producers in the world. However, not all water is drinkable, and seawater is one of them. Seawater contains a high concentration of salt, which makes it unsafe for human consumption. But, can we extract salt from saltwater? In this article, we will explore the possibility of extracting salt from saltwater.

The Science Behind Saltwater

Seawater contains approximately 3.5% salt by weight. This means that for every 1 liter of seawater, there are 35 grams of salt. The salt in seawater is a mixture of different salts, with sodium chloride being the most abundant. To extract salt from saltwater, we need to remove the water and leave the salt behind.

The Process of Salt Extraction

The process of salt extraction from saltwater is called desalination. There are different methods of desalination, but the most common are distillation and reverse osmosis. In distillation, seawater is heated to boiling point, and the steam is collected and condensed into freshwater. The salt is left behind in the boiling chamber. In reverse osmosis, seawater is forced through a semi-permeable membrane that filters out the salt, leaving freshwater behind.

The Advantages and Disadvantages of Salt Extraction

Extracting salt from saltwater has its advantages and disadvantages. The advantage is that we can produce freshwater from seawater, which is essential for areas with limited freshwater resources. It can also provide a source of salt for industrial and agricultural purposes. However, the process of salt extraction is energy-intensive and expensive. It also produces a lot of waste, which can harm the environment.


In conclusion, extracting salt from saltwater is possible through the process of desalination. However, it is not a simple or cheap process. It requires significant investment in infrastructure and energy to produce freshwater from seawater. Nevertheless, it is a viable solution for areas with limited freshwater resources, and it can provide a source of salt for industrial and agricultural purposes.