A Circular Economy for Salt that Keeps Rivers Clean

Nov, 05 2019
A circular economy for salt that keeps rivers clean | TED@DuPont
Tina Arrowood

Physical organic chemist

During the winter of 2018-2019, one million tons of salt were applied to icy roads in the state of Pennsylvania alone. The salt from industrial uses like this often ends up in freshwater rivers, making their water undrinkable and contributing to a growing global crisis. How can we better protect these precious natural resources? Tina Arrowood shares a three-step plan to keep salt out of rivers - and create a circular salt economy that turns industrial byproducts into valuable resources.
Fun Fact:

If you were to compare the relative volume of ocean water to fresh river water on our planet, the former would be an Olympic-sized swimming pool — and the latter would be a one-gallon jug.

About the Speaker

Tina Arrowood
Salt Solver

Tina’s interest in science sparked during high school, when she first realized that each completed experiment provided clues, which served to narrow possible answers. It is just a matter of completing enough experiments, until the answers become certain. This early learning gave her confidence to take risks and think outside the box. After earning a PhD in organic chemistry, Tina began her career as a process chemist supporting world-scale amines production plants. This work grew into exploring and developing selective catalysts for amines, glycols and liquid epoxy resins.

Tina’s industrial chemical process experience has provided a unique vantage point for her current work in developing and applying polymeric membranes for recycling and reusing industrial wastewater. These technologies offer solutions to enable developing economies to grow with a reduced environmental footprint while conserving water, and thus offering her a strong motivation to drive advanced innovation.


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Helping to solve intractable water challenges: it’s our commitment.  As global leader in purification and specialty-separation technologies, DuPont Water Solutions provides state-of-the-art membrane science and ion exchange solutions that help make drinking water safer and cleaner for homes and communities; help industries and markets operate more effectively, efficiently, and sustainably; and make water-scarcity challenges more manageable, wherever they arise.

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About TED@DuPont

Transformation begins with the spark of something new.

In 2018, TED and DuPont began a partnership to do just that: TRANSFORM. As the world and our interactions grow more complex, so do our challenges. To solve for modern problems, we decided to pursue a new framework for innovation itself, one that considers all perspectives and outcomes in the calculus. This inaugural TED@DuPont event signifies a monumental step to unlock the institutional knowledge within the organization and showcase the New DuPont. Taking place in September 2019, at The Fillmore in Philadelphia, the day’s topics ranged from science, technology, and beyond. Photo: Ryan Lash / TED