Can you boil ocean water and drink it? (7 Points)

In this brief guide, we will answer the question, can you boil ocean water and drink it? We will discuss how boiling helps to separate water from salt and some reasons in favor and against the practice to be carried out on a large scale. 

Can you boil ocean water and drink it?

You cannot boil ocean water and drink it. Boiling drives out water molecules while salt stays behind. To make ocean water drinkable, a process called desalination is needed where water is evaporated and collected. Pure water is driven out of the salty water and condensed. The salt stays behind while pure water escapes as steam and liquifies.

A desalination plant is designed to carry out the process effectively. If you boil water, the pure water molecules escape from the surface that you know and see as steam. If you put a lid over it, you will be able to see the condensed molecules of water that change back to liquid from steam. 

It is not possible to collect the condensates using ordinary kitchen utensils, as steam or vapors being a gas, escape quickly. If you can manage to collect the steam and cool it to make it revert to a liquid, only then will you be able to make saline ocean water drinkable. 

Can you make oven water drinkable on your own?

You need a distillation flask, otherwise a tumbler or a small pot to collect the distilled water. Using a distillation flask will increase the yield slightly greater than using everyday kitchen equipment would. 

While the process would produce clean, salt-free water, it can not be relied upon as the primary source of drinkable water. The distillation process is inefficient and intricate; and should be considered merely a fun experiment. If you use 8 cups of water, you will get only 1 ¼ cups of distilled water in an hour. 

  1. Add 8 cups of ocean water to a large pot and place it on the stove. Put another smaller pot or a tumbler inside the bigger pot. The smaller pot should float over the water in the big pot.
  1. Boil the water at a steady simmer at temperatures between 180 to 200 Fahrenheit. Do not turn up the heat higher than the medium flame.
  1. Place the lid upside down, on the pan. As the water condenses on the lid, the droplets trickle down the center of the lid and fall into the smaller pot inside. 
  1. The entire process is very slow; to speed it up you will need to add ice cubes on the lid. As you lower the temperature where the condensates form, a temperature difference will make the process faster.
  1. You will need to replenish the ice cubes one or two times until the entire process finishes.

Should ocean water be made potable?

Scarcity of water is a serious crisis in almost all parts of the world; especially Asia and Africa. Around 70 percent of the earth’s surface is covered with saltwater, as we know by the vast water bodies of the ocean and seawater. 

Drinkable water is not only insufficient but there is also an inadequate supply. In poor countries, women and even children walk for over three hours to get their day’s supply of water. Owing to droughts and unfair distribution of this basic requirement for many living beings all over the globe, a water shortage is a serious crisis that needs to be addressed. 

While desalination of ocean water seems like a viable option to solve the world’s water conundrum, it is not a simple process. To desalinate water, either water is boiled and the vapors are collected; or special filters help to do the job. 

The filters or membrane technology used is called Reverse Osmosis. Reverse osmosis works by passing salt water through a semi-permeable membrane to separate the water from the dissolved salt. 

Although a seemingly potentially viable solution to solve the world’s water crisis, it does come with a cost. The environmental impact is immense; much of the salt extracted is dumped back into the oceans and seas that endangers ocean creatures by drawing the fish and planktons into desalination plants. 

The process is hindered by the large amount of energy needed to make the process efficient. Impoverished countries do not even have easy access to water to sustain them, are deficient in power and electricity resources as well. 

Moreover, the erratic climate change makes the struggle even worse where people can not rely on renewable energy resources. 

In this brief guide, we answered the question, can you boil ocean water and drink it? We discussed how boiling helps to separate water from salt and some reasons in favor and against the practice to be carried out on a large scale. 

Citations

https://www.cnet.com/home/kitchen-and-household/how-to-make-distilled-water-at-home-for-free/
https://solarimpulse.com/news/elemental-water-makers-a-solution-to-make-seawater-drinkable#

Hi, I am Charlotte, I love cooking and in my previous life, I was a chef. I bring some of my experience to the recipes on this hub and answer your food questions.