Calcium Chloride: The future of global water supplies

April 2021

Calcium chloride (CaCl2) is a colorless salt of the ionic compounds, calcium and chlorine. It has various applications in science, engineering, and agriculture. Calcium chloride can be used as a desiccant to keep materials such as sugar dry and free of humidity during storage; it also converts rock salt into granular snow that melts at -5°C (23°F).

The future of global water supplies could be paved with this substance

Calcium chloride (CaCl2) has been identified as a potential desalination solution for water-poor regions of the world, such as parts of Asia and Africa. The results of a five-year study with Calcium chloride indicates that saltwater reserves could be used to provide enough fresh water for 20 million people in the Middle East and North Africa.

These saltwater reserves often contain large amounts of dissolved calcium carbonate as well, which is currently being dumped into landfills or waste sites where it's not doing anybody any good. Researchers found that when they evaporate out the salt water and then dissolve all components in freshwater, the calcium carbonate is removed from this solution.

This is a critical step in turning this contaminant into useful drinking water

Proceed with caution when using this substance. It's highly caustic and if ingested you'll have a chance to drown, assuming it doesn't bubble up out of your stomach and kill you first. And, as any good science lesson will tell you, if there's something that can be used to solve one problem, there's almost certain to be a new problem which cannot be solved by the same substance. In this case, the problem is that when used on a large scale, this substance has the potential to increase ocean acidity.

I'm not sure how we're going to balance all of these uses and effects. The ability to turn salty oceans into fresh water will probably outweigh the slight lowering of ocean pH. This substance may be our saving grace in the fight against water shortages and pollution. It's unfortunate that we may end up ruining our only planet in the process – but don't worry…there are plenty of other planets out there for us to colonize!

A group of scientists from the University of Calgary have discovered a new way to produce pure water for the entire world. The solution they’ve come up with is replacing traditional desalination techniques with calcium chloride, a chemical that is cheap and readily available in nature.

The process by which this works is fairly simple. The scientists start by isolating the salt crystals from seawater, then they heat them until the calcium chloride is released from it's solid form and becomes liquid again. The same method can also be used to extract salt from water in any location, not just seawater.

The team has created a prototype of a cheap and efficient water filtration plant that can be built anywhere in the world. Currently it is able to produce 2 liters of drinking water a day per rooftop, which could be enough for many people. The team is planning on improving this system in the future to make it capable of producing 50 liters of drinking water per day.

In addition to creating pure drinking water, this technology has potential to revolutionize agriculture as well. In arid regions, farmers typically have trouble irrigating crops due to the massive amounts of salt present in the soil and the poor quality of rainwater that often falls there.

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