And the roads will run with beet juice

sugar beet from groundTucked into a recent Thruway press release was this juicy bit (emphasis added):

In a continuing effort to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the Authority's winter maintenance program, the Albany and Syracuse Divisions will be using renewable sugar beet sourced liquid and salt brine mixture. The mixture will be used as an anti-icing agent in both a direct liquid application in advance of a storm, and in the pretreatment of rock salt. The new material compliments the Authority's widespread use of straight salt brine, which has proven effective and very economical as a pretreatment for rock salt.

The Thruway Authority apparently experimented with products made from sugar beets last winter in the Albany area. It reportedly worked well -- and didn't stain the roads. Midwestern states have been experimenting with beet-derived solutions for a few years now (and Maryland's using it this year, too). [AP/NCPR] [Oneida Dispatch] [USA Today]

There are even two competing beet products for road treatment: Geomelt and Ice Bite.

OK, so... why sugar beets? (That's one just out of the ground on the right.) The theory is that that that substance derive from the beets lowers the temperature at which the salt solution freezes. (A patent filed in 2000 for using a sugar beet byproduct -- "desugared sugar beet molasses" -- claims the substance remains "flowable" at below-zero temps.) That helps the solution stick to roads and continue working longer, which means less salt is required (good for saving money -- and good for the environment). [USPTO] [UPI] [Duluth News Tribune] [PNAS]

[via]

photo: Flickr user mindy.kotaska

Comments

Interesting that the Syracuse and Albany area are just beginning to use the beet juice/salt brine mixture. Here in Ohio we have been using this for awhile. Seems to really help having it down when the snow flies. You can tell when it has been applied to the road surface - it is sprayed on the road in vertical lines.

I haven't looked at the patent, but I can say that lowering the freezing point of the water (freezing point depression) is exactly why salt works on the roads. I would guess that since the sugar has a higher solubility that salt in water, you can dissolve a lot more of it and lower the freezing point more effectively.

And sugar won't rot your car's body, just your teeth. :)

They totally stole this idea from Dwight Schrute and his quest for world domination via Schrute Farms Beets.

Cue this video clip, which has been stuck in my head since approximately 1984.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KuZNSGdg2ms

This is so fabulously random. Love it.

Say Something!

We'd really like you to take part in the conversation here at All Over Albany. But we do have a few rules here. Don't worry, they're easy. The first: be kind. The second: treat everyone else with the same respect you'd like to see in return. Cool? Great, post away. Comments are moderated so it might take a little while for your comment to show up. Thanks for being patient.

The Scoop

Ever wish you had a smart, savvy friend with the inside line on what's happening around the Capital Region? You know, the kind of stuff that makes your life just a little bit better? Yeah, we do, too. That's why we created All Over Albany. Find out more.

Recently on All Over Albany

A quick recap of the week

Here are a few highlights from the past week on AOA: + That time Nellie Bly declared Saratoga "the wickedest spot on earth." + Each... (more)

North Albany Oktoberfest / Spaten Sprint 2015

The annual Oktoberfest block party in North Albany organized by Wolff's is set for September 26. The event will again include food vendors, dachsund races,... (more)

The view from atop American Pharoah

What's it like to a ride along with one of the horses as it cruises around the track at the Saratoga Race Course? The... (more)

"Troy is a magical conjunction of time and place."

Tech Valley Center of Gravity founder Laban Coblentz is moving to France for a new job, and today bid farewell to Troy in a post... (more)

Stuff to do this weekend

We hate to be the ones to say it, but it's the last weekend in August. If there are any items remaining on your summer... (more)

Recent Comments

The hoopla about American Pharoah coming to Saratoga is so over-the-top, you would think he was dragging a Wegmans behind him.

When bikes weren't just something on the side

...has 2 comments, most recently from Jason

The Grocery checks out

...has 6 comments, most recently from Hock4

Stuff to do this weekend

...has 2 comments, most recently from J

American Pharoah? Really? Please explain.

...has 7 comments, most recently from Otis Maxwell

Morning Blend for Aug 28

...has 1 comment, most recently from Bob