EVOO, a cooking school in Cannon Beach, Ore., wants to produce gourmet sea salt from the Pacific Ocean, so they enlisted the help of three senior chemical engineering students — Austin Danielson, Cameron Oden, and Paul Robideau — to develop a sustainable technology to achieve their goal. Besides producing salt products that can be variously flavored, the team wants to create a potable water byproduct that can be used to irrigate a community garden and provide a water source for animals.
The team’s design includes a rainwater catchment that uses solar radiation to take advantage of naturally occurring condensation and evaporation. Through convective mass transfer in a unit of stacked and adjustable trays, it harnesses the natural byproducts of salt and water. The yield from 40 gallons of water can be harvested within 14 days.
The final processing facility will be located at a cooperative on the Oregon coast. The team is working to minimize the design’s carbon footprint and the time required for batch processing, and they continue to explore the effect of various tray configurations and the ideal angle for the adjustable roof. Among their remaining challenges is to discover a method for removing a bitter taste from the water.