Terry Brix has a philosophy – develop businesses that are based on natural resources so the company can’t move itself, its money or its jobs out of state. Oil and natural gas probably come to mind when you think of Oklahoma businesses based on natural resources, but Brix saw something that most overlook or consider waste.
When oil and gas are extracted from the earth, a waste product called “brine” often remains. Brine is essentially salt water, and oil and gas companies must pay to properly dispose of it. Brix developed a process to extract iodine from the brine. The chemical iodine has many uses, including in pharmaceuticals that allow doctors to screen for cancers where X-rays can’t normally see, in electronics such as plasma screens and in your daily diet in the form of iodized salt.
And Oklahoma is the only state in the nation with commercial quality and quantities of iodine.
Once Brix developed the process to extract iodine from brine, his company, Brine Electric in Vici, applied for OCAST funding to build and test a mobile plant.
Brix reached out to the world’s largest privately held agrochemical company, Arysta LifeScience, because they have a product that uses iodine. He convinced Arysta to come to Oklahoma instead of Chile for their iodine. The OCAST funding helped solidify Arysta’s decision to come to the Sooner state because Oklahoma was willing to invest in the research.
The OCAST funding allowed Brine Electric and the newly formed Arysta LifeScience Technology, a sister company of Arysta LifeScience, to test and prove the mobile plant which led Arysta to build an iodine extraction plant in Alva.
The plant in Alva is the first new iodine extraction technology commercialized in the U.S. in 35 years. The estimated capital investment related to this project is $2.4 million.
“Without OCAST, we’d still be in the testing phase. OCAST enabled us to speed up our research, attract an international company to the state and create jobs. Out of all the states I’ve worked in, OCAST is the best technology-based economic developer.” – Terry Brix