While it is becoming increasingly well known that rare earth materials are essential in a wide variety of advanced technologies, it is far less well known that rare earths now play an important role in water purification.
Our scientists and researchers at Molycorp created a cerium-based water purification medium that demonstrated a remarkable capacity to remove a wide range of contaminants from water. The material is capable of removing heavy metals, biological pathogens, organic carbons, pesticides, herbicides, pharmaceuticals, and chemical warfare agents, and this breadth of capabilities has the potential to revolutionize water purification in industrial, municipal, and consumer applications.
In September 2010, we announced the successful commercialization of this new material as a non-toxic, water treatment product called SorbX, which has passed NSF 53 (drinking water treatment units) and NSF 61 (drinking water system components) testing protocols, and Molycorp’s testing of XSORBX™ has been verified by the Water Quality Association.
We currently sell SorbX in a liquid form for municipal wastewater, recreational water, and pool & spa treatment applications. We are also perfecting a powdered form of SorbX for use in consumer products like home water filtration pitchers and filters for camping and backpacking.
Importantly for our company, SorbX has created a high value use for the cerium that makes up nearly half of the rare earth ore at Mountain Pass, and it will help to improve the long term, global cost competitiveness of our rare earth production.