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article imageBeating the icy winter roads with beet juice

By Milton Este     Dec 31, 2012 in Technology
With the declining supply of road salt and the higher prices, many communities are switching to a more cost efficient, and yet environmentally friendly solution.
Beat juice, apparently, is a very eco-friendly solution to deicing the dangerous winter road conditions, not to mention cost efficient as well. Although this concept isn't new, more and more communities are adapting to this method.
Road salts, originally thought to be cheap, come with many consequences such as the damage done to wildlife including poison to fish, damage to aquatic wildlife, and harmful to sensitive vegetation. Other detriments include damage to concrete and metals. (TheDailyGreen)
On the other hand, beet juice can provide an effective performance to temperatures dropping as low as minus 25 degrees Celsius or approximately minus 13 degrees Fahrenheit. provides some key figures to understanding the effectiveness better:
1. Adding beet juice to salt brine — even at a 20% concentration — does not increase the salt brine’s ice-melting properties or decrease the temperature at which it is effective.
2. Beet juice reduces the friction of a salt brine solution by 10% – 20%. This translates to slicker roads and more dangerous driving conditions.
3. 25% beet juice concentration is required to lower salt brine’s corrosion score to meet PNS specifications. However, it will also reduce the brine’s ice melting properties. So when beet juice is used as a corrosion inhibitor, application rates should be increased in direct proportion to the amount of beet juice added. Higher concentrations of beet juice also mean higher costs.
This method of road deicing is not actually that new. Many locations have already switched away from road salt to beet juice. Akron, Ohio used beet juice approximately six years ago, with other states following suit. However, this is not just used in the States, but in Canada, specifically the Niagara region, as well.
It is important to note that beet juice is not a substitute for road salt, but serve as a complimentary resource. Beet juice can reduce the salt usage from 85kg per lane kilometer to just 79 kg per lane kilometer, which can effectively save about $2 per lane kilometer according to the Niagara Region site.
It has just been announced that New York State is proposing to beat the icy road conditions with beets. However, the beet solution only works effectively in a specific temperature range if the past is any indication. This means the extreme cold Northern New York probably won't be receiving any deicing treatments any time soon. (DVICE)
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