MIEX® - Good Research Commercialised

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The MIEX® DOC resin process, a brainchild of Australian water scientists and engineers, represents an exciting development in potable water treatment technology. It enables new 21st century water quality standards to be achieved with low capital and operating costs and as such has worldwide applications.

The technology was the end result of a massive research and development effort over a number of years spanning areas of product and process development, testing and scale-up by a consortium consisting of teams from CSIRO Molecular Science, SA Water Corporation and Orica. This culminated in the first commercial applications of the technology by the SA Water Corporation at Mt Pleasant (South Australia) and the Water Corporation of WA at Wanneroo (Western Australia), which are outlined here in some detail.  Under the overall coordination of Orica, each of the initial partners was very innovative in the concept development and how they went about fulfilling their roles of resin chemistry, application and process development and commercialisation.  The Water Corporation’s contribution occurred later and focused on the area of process scale-up and large scale plant design. This article provides a summary review of the reasons the parties became involved in the MIEX® project, their respective endeavours and plans for future.

CSIRO Molecular Science
• MIEX® Resin

Development
The concept of Magnetic Ion Exchange Resins was first developed at CSIRO in the 1960s, by a team led by Dr.D E Weiss. Many varieties were developed, mostly based on polyvinyl alcohol cross-linked with glutaraldehyde, but none was commercially successful despite an intensive effort over a number of years by CSIRO and its commercial partner ICI Australia (now Orica).  Magnetic ion exchange resins are attractive for two reasons:

1. they can be made very small (0.1 mm instead of 1-2 mm), and hence can adsorb unwanted species much more rapidly than conventional resins;

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