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

+ Alyssa asked about opportunities for becoming more politically and socially active in the community. + We took a peek at RAD Soap Co.'s new... (more)

The office building and the air conditioner

Random Friday afternoon thing: While walking Otto at the Harriman State Office Campus, we've noticed that there's a tiny, single air conditioner that hangs from... (more)

The Empire State Plaza skating rink is open for the season

The ice skating rink at the Empire State Plaza opened for the season Friday. When we stopped by this afternoon there were a bunch of... (more)

Dead & Company returning to SPAC

The first announcement for a 2017 SPAC pop show is out: Dead & Company is set to return to SPAC June 20. Tickets go on... (more)

Stuff to do this weekend

Yep, it's the holiday season. If you can find time between the shopping and the baking and the decorating, there's plenty of stuff to do.... (more)

Recent Comments

I know some people get excited when they hear that some chain from outside the area is coming to the Capital Region, but I'm not one of them. Local businesses mean local dollars; the money stays here rather than going to a corporate headquarters far, far away. If Price Chopper is sold to an outside company - especially a company that answers to its stockholders more than its customers - that could have a huge impact.

Alicia's charming Schenectady home

...has 7 comments, most recently from Marcia

The potential sale of Price Chopper would be a big deal (and not just because of the price)

...has 19 comments, most recently from David Bauer

Paging through The Alt

...has 12 comments, most recently from LC

Day trip: New Paltz

...has 3 comments, most recently from Suburban slumming

The Empire State Plaza skating rink is open for the season

...has 1 comment, most recently from Jamie