I was looking to try to make a small setup for producing small amounts of sea salt. Ideally a series of evaporation chambers, with a heavy brine as the finished product, that could then be baked. May need one (or more) heating elements? What sort of equipment would be needed to achieve this, and how would I go about setting it up? I live in a super tiny apartment, and I don't have a whole lot of space, so the smaller the better. Trying this out as a little project, to potentially upscale in the future. Thanks so much!
Commercially, it's done by solar evaporation. Take sea water, put it in the sun, wait. In your apartment, even if you don't have direct sunlight, surely there is a warm spot somewhere. The only equipment you need is a tray to hold the water.
You should filter the water first to remove solids like sand, algae, jellyfish, etc. that no one wants in their salt.
The large operations have multiple ponds at different stages of concentration -- this reduces the number of ponds you have to mine, and allows some solids to settle out. But you can do just fine with a single "pond".
In general, commercial operations don't evaporate the water all the way to dryness, which does mean you end up throwing out some of the brine. Sodium chloride is the major component of seawater, and therefore crystallizes out preferentially compared to the unwanted stuff like magnesium, sulfate, heavy metals, marine biotoxins, fluorochemicals, etc. If you evaporate all the water, all that stuff ends up in your salt too. Maybe get your salt tested for these contaminants if you're going to eat a bunch of it or feed it to the public.