The path to net carbon zero by 2050 requires changes in many aspects of energy production, storage, and consumption. Some of these changes have the potential to impact the salt market.

Recycling of salt from waste streams

An important approach towards an economical use of resources is recycling. Some recycling projects for salt from waste streams are already developed on the industrial scale – Recycling of salt from chemical waste streams, recycling of salt from industrial waste water, and recycling of salt from fly ashes. Other European projects are underway to expand this portfolio.

Seawater Desalination and “Zero Liquid Discharge”

“Zero liquid discharge” is another pillar of the sustainable use of resources. It stands for the avoidance of waste and the recycling of resources. The Saudi Arabian project Neom is a prominent example with its plan to recover minerals from seawater desalination reject. The desalination capacity at the final stage of the project shall be one million cubic meters per day. The 333,000 cubic meter per day desalination plant will produce 11 million tons of salt per year in each of the three phases.

Underground Hydrogen Storage in Salt Caverns

The path towards net zero carbon foresees an important role for green hydrogen as energy carrier. Green hydrogen is obtained through electrolysis of water from renewable energy sources. Hydrogen is best stored in underground salt caverns. H2eart for Europe, a European alliance of storage system operators in Europe, and the Hydrogen Infrastructure Map are showing about 20 new salt cavern projects for underground hydrogen storage. The carving of each of these caverns will produce millions of tons of salt in the form of brine. 

Presentation at Salt India Expo, 22-24 February 2024

I will discuss these topics, and the impact on the conventional salt market in more detail at Salt India Expo, February 22 to 24, 2024


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