Article in The Albuquerque Tribune: A solution for filthy water

In the fight against grime, homeowners might have a new weapon using technology an Albuquerque company recently sold to the U.S. military.

With salt, water and electricity, MIOX Corp.’s technology creates a cleansing solution strong enough to make filthy water drinkable and to neutralize biological weapons.

In cooperation with a Seattle company, MIOX used the technology to make a water-purification backpack – closely resembling the water bladder backpacks worn by mountain bikers and hikers – that the military will buy for about 60,000 Marines at a $4 million cost.

It could also be used to make a spray-bottle cleanser for the home.

“One of the areas we’re looking at very closely is taking advantage of the miniaturization and looking at individual home users, shared wells, smaller communities,” said Carlos Perea, MIOX president and CEO.

A spray-bottle product for the home is at least one to two years away from store shelves, said Chief Technical Officer Rodney Herrington. But the company has “developed systems for some of the large corporations that are interested in using this as a surface cleaner,” he said.

“It kills things that you can’t kill with some other stuff, and it’s a very simple process,” Herrington said. “You can replenish (the cleansing solution) just by pushing the button.”

In the meantime, U.S. troops in Iraq using MIOX’s water-purification backpack will reduce the weight of a single-day water supply by about two-thirds. How? They can collect and cleanse water in the field instead of carrying it on their backs.

Perea said MIOX’s other customers could include those in rural areas around the world where obtaining clean water is a challenge.

“Water quality is an issue that is very real and meaningful for people in these very rural areas,” he said. “Those issues happen right here in our backyard.”

Reaching that market will take time, but the company is expanding, he said. In the past four months, MIOX has increased its work force by about one-third, to 45 employees.

He said MIOX has installed 1,200 large water-purification systems – such as those that cities use – in the United States and foreign countries.

Beginning in 1998, the technology driving the larger systems was miniaturized with funding from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency of the U.S. Department of Defense.

The military already uses MIOX’s pen-sized portable water purifier. Sporting goods stores also sell it.

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