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Waynes solar salt factory

 
wayne fajkus
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I put a meat thermometer in the seawater. 134 degrees f. I put it on the bottom ss basin. 160 degrees f. Full sun outside temp is 91.
 
wayne fajkus
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I found this on amazon while looking for gallon jars. Brilliant idea. I think its made for kombucha. In winemaking you have to separate the pulp. Same with natural sodas.  This allows me to keep the pulp separated from the beginning. Just put the fruit in the filter.

With seawater i filter it to get any particles out. Its ackward to balance a filter over the one gallon jar, then pour it in over the filter. This should solve that issue.
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Michael Cox
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If you don't want to use paint, then maybe consider grinding some biochar and spreading it on the bottom tray to darken it.
 
wayne fajkus
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Update. I had 2 gallons of the original batch left. As it evaporated i kept pouring from one to keep the other one full. The smaller quantity popped its crystals to slightly more than 1/4 cup. One more to collect for the full batch to get done. So far its 1_1/3 cup plus 1/4 cup.

I have another batch going. 50 quarts.  Id say water levels are about half gone with that batch. This one is in all glass. No stainless. Should be very clean.

Not sure if i mentioned it, but i did add black granite slab to bottom. 19" x 48" x 3/4" thick. It covers the entire bottom except a few inches where the drain is.

I still have dreams of converting this to collect distilled water but other projects are priority right now.
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wayne fajkus
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Here's the latest batch showing progress,  they were all full. I'll start condensing them soon. The ones that look gold is rusty muck on botton outside of the glass jars. I'll clean them off when i condense.
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Michael Cox
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Wayne,

In my time wasting on youtube I stumbled on this:

 
wayne fajkus
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Wow. Low tech genius right there. Very impressive.

Ive had this idea of having a true water flush toilet in remote areas using evaporate/condense technology. Envision a large water trough,  maybe 500 gallons, under a solar collector that can catch and collect the vapor. Now add a 500 gallon storage tank that is plumbed to a conventional commode.

Fiush the toilet, the water goes into the trough. where it evaporates, condenses, and is sent back to other storage tank. The waste  as well as water to the commode would be gravity fed. Getting the distilled water back to tank would either be carried by buckets or use a sump pump if electricity is available.

It would be a 1:1 system. It should never need water added. Actually the water should grow as the urine added did not come from the original water supply. Technically, anything flushed into the system would donate its moisture and the end result would be distilled water, regardless of what it "was".

The question is how long to recharge. Starting with 500 gallons gives you ruffly 500 flushes. So amping it so that water flows back in before you run out would be important. Geography comes into play. Think of Paul's pdc course. How big would the system need to be to last the week. Then you have 6 months for it to "recharge" until the next event. In his case, with lack of use for extended periods, the dried remains could be scooped out easily.

If not solar,  how bout a rocket based water distiller to provide a true water flushed toilet.  Still using pauls pdc as an example,  things can be planned for the use. Hold enough water for 1 days flush and run the rocket at night.  Who knows. Once you know the amount returning, you can plan the size.

Rocket mass heater flushing toilet in remote areas. How many would come to the pdc just to see that!
 
Michael Cox
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That sounds interesting if very smelly!

Unfortunately quite a lot of the stuff excreted in urine is volatile and would evaporate with the water, ending up in your "distilled" water.
 
wayne fajkus
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Not optimal (i need a screened container for airflow), but i added some goji berries to dry.
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wayne fajkus
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I misstated earlier about the golden color in some jars. It seems to be algae in the seawater. It progressively goes away. I keep pouring water to the right to get it denser(as it evaporates). The golden color at left is straight seawater, not condensed. As you go to right it dissapears and is condensed.
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wayne fajkus
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Started a second box with stuff laying around. Only purchase so far was a glass frame from storm door ($2 at habitat restore).

Just a box with ply bottom and 1x12 sides. I'll use the storm door mechanism to allow it to open, something my first one doesn't have.

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Roney Chagas
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About the rocks, I think you should weight them before and after if you have access to a nice scale. You should also completely dry them before weighting. This way you can see how much rock mass is going down the drain with the distilled water. If I'm not wrong, it "rains" and wets the rocks before going down the drain. Is that right?
 
wayne fajkus
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I dont have the distilled water set up. I will some day though.  I have to rebuild the top part. I put a vent hole in top and bottom so vapor could exit. While i can't distill, i can dehydrate foods with this set up.
 
wayne fajkus
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Made progress on new box. The $2 storm door panel made it easy. I was able to use mending plates for the hinge and the latch. Inside is flat black. Outside is white. Silicone weatherstrip on top to seal glass. Pretty easy.

I'll put a gallon of water in to see what temp it reaches (closed sealed box). For dehydrating i would leave gap in lid. I probably need to add a heat sink in bottom.
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wayne fajkus
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I was condensing the water in the original box today. It was hot. I put the meat thermometer in the water. It stopped at 139.9 degrees f. 140 wpuld have been nice. Not bad for having vent holes so vapor can escape. Outside temp is 99f. Full sun.

 
wayne fajkus
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I put some shallow dishes in to increase surface area. The salt forming in those is cool looking. They are squares.

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wayne fajkus
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Just updating.  The project is going good. The biggest issue has been turning the salt rocks into useable salt. I tried 2 different coffee mills to grind, used a vitamix(blender) and finally settled on a final solution.  A mortar and pestle (sp?)

Getting it to the consistency of store bought salt is hard. Mine ends up being slightly smaller particle sizes with the coffee grinders. Mortar gives me some input on the final size.

The other issue is fully drying it. It can get clumpy in the shaker,  sticking to the sides. Drying it further helps a bunch with this. But i think some store bought salts have anti clumping ingrediants added.

As we move forward with "scratch " cooking, the amount of salt adds up. While a person may not use a lot of salt, i think they are intaking a lot. A loaf of bread is probably 4 teaspoons. Multiply that by how many loaves you buy a year.  I started making my own bread and tortillas. I no longer buy either. A homemade loaf twice a week is probably 60 teaspoons a year for just that one item.

Anyway, its easy enough. I no longer buy salt, bread, tortillas, meat, fish, poultry, eggs, canned veggies, pasta, broth, other stuff I'm forgetting. The list grew a little this year. Shopping list is pretty much flour, salsa, spaghetti sauce, milk, rice.
 
Mike Haasl
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We buy Sea-90 agricultural salt and just put it in a large pepper grinder.  The grinder we have is adjustable and we set it a bit coarse but it may be an option for you?
 
Dale Hodgins
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I think starting with liquid slows the whole process down because of the limited surface area. And the way it's set up, the humidity is always very high, which limits evaporation speed. Consider this. Start with a bunch of granular salt,  either stuff you've made or stuff you bought. Let's say we start with 20 lb. Lay it out roughly in the bottom of your evaporation container with lots of humps and bumps. You want most of it to rise above the surface of water that you're adding. Now instead of trying to reach a high temperature, use a flat plate collector and send lots of warm air over the granular material. The air will pick up lots of moisture and the granular material will continue to wick water from beneath until it's all gone. Top up regularly. If your pile of salt eventually settles into a relatively smooth shape, break it up to maintain the high surface area. You might want to filter incoming air so it doesn't give you a mixture of salt, dust and bugs.

You wouldn't have to start with salt. You could start with a pile of really nice clean black basalt pebbles. They would get covered in salt crystals soon enough and you would have the rough surface without having to start with any salt.
 
Michael Cox
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Salt shakers are a fairly modern invention that go hand in hand with commercially produced - and hence consistently grain sized - salt. You might look at using a "salt pig" and a small wooden spoon.

Salt pigs
 
Michael Cox
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Dale Hodgins wrote:I think starting with liquid slows the whole process down because of the limited surface area. And the way it's set up, the humidity is always very high, which limits evaporation speed. Consider this. Start with a bunch of granular salt,  either stuff you've made or stuff you bought. Let's say we start with 20 lb. Lay it out roughly in the bottom of your evaporation container with lots of humps and bumps. You want most of it to rise above the surface of water that you're adding. Now instead of trying to reach a high temperature, use a flat plate collector and send lots of warm air over the granular material. The air will pick up lots of moisture and the granular material will continue to wick water from beneath until it's all gone. Top up regularly. If your pile of salt eventually settles into a relatively smooth shape, break it up to maintain the high surface area. You might want to filter incoming air so it doesn't give you a mixture of salt, dust and bugs.

You wouldn't have to start with salt. You could start with a pile of really nice clean black basalt pebbles. They would get covered in salt crystals soon enough and you would have the rough surface without having to start with any salt.



My chemical engineer training tells me this is sound advice - although you would probably end up with larger crystals as they keep on growing.
 
wayne fajkus
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The thing has been producing fast in our hot summer. I just added a solar vent. I think it is marketed for rv's. No battery. It just runs when sun is out.

I think with this addition i can use it for dehydrating also.

Oh, i added a door. Not done but you can see it in pics.
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wayne fajkus
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I converted this to grow lettuce and added a removable coldframe. Its pretty cool cause the excess water drains out the bottom spigot. I can collect it in a bucket and dump it in flower beds. We had some rain and the bucket was full. Coldframe was off.

I built a more appropriate solar dehydrator. I hope to ramp up the salt for cows and sheep instead of buying salt blocks. I'll be updating stats (temps, etc) on this new thread:

https://permies.com/t/136478/solar-dehydrator-build#1069263
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Lee Gee
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Great job Wayne.

May I mention a couple of thing?

They have found plastic in seawater, micro particles. I read somewhere in the thread the concern about plastics and not wanting to introduce them into the mix. Did you know about this? If not, how might you filter them out?

I was wondering about incorporating a Fresnel lens to heat things up? It would need to be out of focus or it would melt the mason jar.

Next concern, if you use the Fresnel lens, at some point when heating sodium chloride, it ceases to be usable by the body in the same way. Not a chemist, not sure what that temp might be.

Just some thoughts for your brilliant mind to consider.
 
wayne fajkus
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Lee, my first attempt was boiling it. Call that proof of concept. It did create a problem in that the stainless steel pot rusted. Thats why i switched to glass vessels. Past that, boiling did work so a frensel should work. Simply setting it on the counter will work also, as well as setting it outside. Biggest issue is putting a screen on it so debris and bugs don't get in. Evaporation is going to happen, how you speed it up is up to you.

On the micro particles,  there are things i can control and things i can't.
 
Chris Kott
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Hey Lee.

One of the biggest issues with plastic pollution is that they break down to microplastics, which are, at this time anyways,  considered virtually impossible to remove from water or soil.

I don't even know if those newer desalination plants can do anything about it, PEM, I believe the acronym is, for Proton Exchange Membrane, but I might be futzing it up.

There's a water scientist who recently gave a TEDx in Guelph, Ontario,  where he described some unique molecular properties of water,  wherein the positive and negative charges in the water were separated from eachother in the presence of a hydrophilic substance on the other side of a glass barrier. The layer of water molecules nearest the hydrophilic substance were all negative, and all the positively charged particles, including non-water contaminants, had separated out taway from it.

Theoretically, one could create a filter which siphoned off the negatively charged water, leaving all contaminants behind, even microplastics.

I would love to hear from anyone more knowledgeable on the subject, as I only watched the TEDx.

-CK
 
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Do you have a method of filtering out microplastics from the seawater? Depending on where you get the seawater, there may be trace ammounts of microplastics. You should probably filter the seawater through a few layers of fine mesh cloth to remove larger microplastics before evaporating the sea water.
 
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Lee Gee wrote:Great job Wayne.

May I mention a couple of thing?

They have found plastic in seawater, micro particles. I read somewhere in the thread the concern about plastics and not wanting to introduce them into the mix. Did you know about this? If not, how might you filter them out?

I was wondering about incorporating a Fresnel lens to heat things up? It would need to be out of focus or it would melt the mason jar.

Next concern, if you use the Fresnel lens, at some point when heating sodium chloride, it ceases to be usable by the body in the same way. Not a chemist, not sure what that temp might be.

Just some thoughts for your brilliant mind to consider.



I guess you already adressed this issue. I'm certain though that there may be practical methods for filtering out microplastics, or at least larger microplastics.
 
Ryan M Miller
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wayne fajkus wrote:I found this on amazon while looking for gallon jars. Brilliant idea. I think its made for kombucha. In winemaking you have to separate the pulp. Same with natural sodas.  This allows me to keep the pulp separated from the beginning. Just put the fruit in the filter.

With seawater i filter it to get any particles out. Its ackward to balance a filter over the one gallon jar, then pour it in over the filter. This should solve that issue.



I hope this filter can filter out most of the microplastics from seawater. I would've suggested filtering the seawater through several layers of T-shirt fabric since this type of filter is also used to strain water from earthenware clay.
 
wayne fajkus
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I started adding cloths over the filter. I filter it first, then again after it condenses to about 50%. I read that the first minerals to form are bitter and to filter it after the water turned cloudy. Also, any algae is dead at that point and settled to the bottom.

All is going good with the system except the wood shrinking on the collector.  It makes sense that the wood will shrink as this dries everything. I have had to recaulk it several times.

I was getting 200 degrees F regularly in the collector and 150 F in the box. I do wonder what the box temps would be if I totally sealed it off since I have to vent it to remove the moisture. Like could it cook a turkey? Maybe next summer I will try that.
 
Kenneth Elwell
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Wayne, technically, yes you could cook, although you might want some control over the temperature. Look into "sous-vide" cooking... meat (usually) sealed in a bag immersed in water at the desired temperature for "doneness".
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