What I’ve wondered for years and wish a debater would research: why not use new deep drilling technologies and geothermal energy to turn saltwater to freshwater from mountain tops?
Below is picture along California coast. Why not drill down at an angle from offshore waters to under a nearby mountain. Thermal gradient averages one degree C per 40 meters
. Drill deep enough to boil water in large chamber, then drill down from mountaintop to this chamber.
Seawater flows in, boils, and steam rises to condense in mountain-top chamber. From there fresh water flows down to once-dry inland valley. It will also be necessary to design pumps and separate channel brine (and gold) out from chamber floor. (Project developers should buy nearby property first, and charge for extra water and will likely need to establish environmental litigation defense fund).
As geothermal technology advances, this alternate application could become competitive with desalination plants. Screens and filters at the ocean opening would keep out rocks, mud and sea creatures.
Opening a chamber deep underground would be expensive and maybe prohibitively so. Plus designing a system for brine and minerals to flow out would be a expensive. Some 8 million tons of gold are dissolved in the world’s oceans, but how much in the salt water that would flow into this salt to freshwater conversion system? (“concentration of gold in seawater is only about 0.0000000006%
“) Concentrations might well be higher in waters off the California coast, not too many miles from Sutter’s Mill and home of the California gold rush.
The biggest expense for desalination plants is the energy they consume. New filtration systems are lowering the energy needed, but the earth’s heat is free and this system tapps that truly inexhaustible energy source to evaporate seawater.
Funding for the project would come from the vastly increased value of land just inland from the sea. You can see from the above picture that nearby hillsides and valleys are brown and dry. Fresh water condensed on nearby hilltops would turn these dry areas green.