Snow Manager Issue #2 2017

Page 14

What’s the

beet idea? New deicer made of sugar beet molasses making roads safer By Bailey Hildebrand-Russell A naturally-derived deicing product is offering government departments and snow and ice removal companies an environmentally-friendly option to deal with slippery roads in Canada. Beet 55, an anti-freezing and deicing agent derived from leftover sugar beet molasses after the by-product’s edible sugars have been removed, has been around in North America for a while. Inventor Todd A. Bloomer applied for the patent in 1999. Smith Fertilizer and Grain in Iowa has been one of the product’s distributors since 2000, with president Max Smith holding a license to sell it. Smith said, like most inventions, it was discovered by accident as the sugar beet industry was looking to be less wasteful. “As in any company that makes any product today there’s always other products that come with it and the object of the game is to find value for those other products so that they can overall cheapen the products that they make,” Smith said. “So they just kept experimenting as they went through this process and they found that when they mixed a salt product with this material, that it would lower the freeze point of the product and it would work in colder temperatures.” Smith said the results led to further development of the product that not only lowered the freeze point of salt materials but also reduced highway corrosion by 30 to 50 14

per cent. This also meant it was less harsh on bridges and even vehicles. LuGr Enterprises Inc. introduced Beet 55, its flagship product, to the Alberta and Saskatchewan markets in 2014. Owner Luke Grayston started the company in spring of that year after hearing about the deicer and how it works. “The organic component of it helps salt brine do its job better. Traditional salt brine is effective on snow and ice up to about -12 C in ideal conditions. The beet portion of the product helps the salt work to a much lower temperature.” Grayston said Beet 55 doesn’t give off heat in an exothermic reactionary way like calcium chloride does. Instead, it disrupts the bonding of snow and ice crystals, which in turn keeps them in a liquid state and allows for runoff and evaporation. ISSUE 2 - 2017 | SNOW MANAGER