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Seawater Mineral Extracter

Ultra filter that extracts valuable minerals from seawater.
  (+2, -1)
(+2, -1)
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I read somewhere that the oceans contain traces of gold, uranium, silver, etc. Why not extract these valuable minerals for a load of money? The SWME could be a new invention that filters out these minerals.
NHstud1216, Jul 15 2001

(?) Microbe Turns Dissolved Gold Solid http://dailynews.ya...icrobes_gold_2.html
"Extremophiles, so named because they live in extreme conditions such as hot springs and volcanic vents in the ocean, inhale dissolved gold and convert it into solid deposits." [jutta, Jul 15 2001]

(?) history of gold extraction attempts http://www.gnt-verl...6/rez_bhc2001.shtml
people have been trying for quite a while.... [pfperry, Jul 01 2002, last modified Oct 21 2004]


       If I remember corectly it costs several times more money (electricity for electrolysis and then having to separate the stuff you get) than the value of the extracted stuff...
RobertKidney, Jul 15 2001

       Thermodynamics doesn't enter into it. You're not trying to generate power by extracting gold from seawater, you're trying to make money. There is no energy==money identity that's relevant here. If the price of gold should rise enough and/or the price of the extraction process fall enough, it will be done. (Compare other marginal mining prospects.)   

       The only important points to make about this idea, of course, are that it's, well, not very new, and, well, not very specific.
Monkfish, Jul 15 2001

       And this has been halfbaked for years in various SF books...
StarChaser, Jul 15 2001

       [Monkfish], guess I got carried away there. Somehow, I don't think money, energy, and low entropy are going to be that different in the long term, but hey.
jutta, Jul 15 2001

       When you've extracted the minerals you could use sunlight to split the water into hydrogen and oxygen keeping wierdos like me an Hydrogenman happy.
st3f, Jul 16 2001

       If you split the water into hydrogen and oxygen first, the minerals will be just sitting there in a pile.
angel, Jul 16 2001

       [PeterSealy]: I realise that; I was merely simplifying things for [st3f]. (Stress the word 'first' in my anno.)
angel, Jul 17 2001

       angel: Don't worry. I'm trying to ignore him at the moment anyway.... but with those long floppy ears, furry chin and twitchy nose he's just so darn cute. No, hang on a minute, that's a rabbit. Pity you can't fishbone annotations. Oo oo, I think I had an idea (and Peter won't by up for hours).
st3f, Jul 17 2001

       New here but had to chip in. In Sydney, Australia they are going to build desalination plants on the coast because it has not rained properly for 8 years. The same on the west coast in Perth. They reckon the water will cost A$1 per cubic metre to produce. By my reckoning (half baked mental arithmetic) thats worth more than all the minerals put together. Is extracting minerals viable now that you add in the value of the water?
ijpesq, Sep 22 2005

       If the desalinization produces fresh water at an acceptable cost, anything made from the resulting residue (mostly salt) could be sold for a profit.
whlanteigne, Apr 12 2013

       The residue is brine (i.e. mostly water).
spidermother, Apr 12 2013

       Evaporate the water from the brine and you are left with sea salt.   

       Capture the evaporated water, and you have distilled water.
whlanteigne, Apr 12 2013

       Yes, but the reason they stop at brine is because it's not economic to remove the remainder of the water. Whether by reverse osmosis or distillation, it takes more energy to remove the water as the brine gets more concentrated.
MaxwellBuchanan, Apr 13 2013


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