Chemical Generators For Water Disinfection
Tom Muilenberg, Director of Commercial Operations for MIOX, describes the Company’s on-site generation of hypochlorite and the application and residuals of other chemistries in the MIOX portfolio.
The following is an excerpt from a Q&A with Water Online Radio. Click on the Radio Player above to hear the full interview.
Water Online Radio: What does MIOX do and how do you serve the market?
Tom: MIOX is a technology company, and we manufacture a system that is loosely called, or generically called, onsite generation. It’s a piece of equipment that will process salts or other types of things in a brine solution, electrolyze it through an electrolytic cell, and turn it into a useful chemical.
We've got several different chemistries sort of related to that. One makes regular bleach, so you take just regular table salt, add some water to it, run it through the electrolytic cell, and it creates hypochlorite. You eliminate delivery of dangerous chemicals, high pH chemicals. You generate the chemistry when you need it, where you need it. It's really convenient.
We have some other chemistries that we do, too. One of our key chemistries is mixed oxidants. That's actually hypochlorite with a little bit of hydrogen peroxide. That has some really unique chemistry applications. For example, it is phenomenally effective on biofilm removal. It tends to do things like oxidize certain things like contaminants out of the water much faster than conventional bleach does. It has some really interesting applications in both drinking water, as well as industrial waters as well.
Water Online Radio: Let me put myself in the shoes of a water utility plant manager. I've had 25 years running a water utility plant. What earthly business do I have generating chemicals? That's not my expertise.
Tom: Oh sure, that's actually a great question. You hit upon something really interesting about this market. There is this misconception that I'm buying this really, really complicated factory. Now, instead of letting somebody else do my chemistry, build my chemistry, or make my chemistry, I'm going to do it on-site. Gosh, that sounds really complicated.
In reality, these systems are very simple to use. The main interface an operator would have is to make sure the salt gets in the tank. After that, it's just a very small, compact system. Some of the systems literally look like a home water softener. Our larger systems look like a refrigerator-sized piece of equipment. It automatically takes and generates that chemical.
Water Online Radio: Last time I took chemistry was, I'm not going to say what year it was. A long time ago. There are always residuals. I put X into some chamber, and out comes Y, and oh by the way, I have some of this Z. Which is nasty ugly stuff that I don't need, don't want, and I've got to dispose of. Is that an issue as well?
Tom: That's another fantastic question. For somebody that doesn't claim to know much about chemistry, that's a great question.
If you think about it, with water and salt, you've got four chemicals in there. You've got hydrogen and oxygen from the water, and sodium and chloride, literally table salt that you're eating every day. They are your other two chemicals, if you want to call them chemicals.
By running it through an electrolytic generator, you don't generate a lot of byproducts. It converts the chloride, and a little bit of the oxygen, over to your chemistry, and that's about it. It literally forms the equivalent of a lower concentration of what you would be buying stock of bleach or sodium hypochlorite. The only by-product that there is, is hydrogen gas.
Now, the nice thing with hydrogen gas is, you just pipe that right outside the building, it off-gases immediately, and we don't produce very much of it. We've had a lot of our industrial customers for example say, hydrogen gas, and when you talk about the volumes, they say, oh that's nothing, we generate way more than that in the rest of the plant.
You're right, it does generate a residual but it's a really easy to handle, harmless gas that doesn't make a waste stream. So you don't have some other noxious waste stream that you have to dump down the sewer or anything…
Click on the Radio Player above to hear the full interview.