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

Albany All Stars Roller Derby has a new home

The Albany All Stars Roller Derby launches into its 10th season April 15 -- at.a new home. The All Stars are moving to the new... (more)

Saratoga County ranked as the "healthiest" county in New York State

Saratoga County is the "healthiest" county in the New York State, according to rankings out this week from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Specifically, Saratoga... (more)

Air taxi

Gondola lift from the train station to downtown Albany? Pfft. Small scale. An "entrepreneur in residence" at Binghamton University is floating the idea of an... (more)

Albany County Land Bank buyer workshops

The Albany County Land Bank has a few workshops coming up for people who might interested in buying one of its properties. Blurbage: In this... (more)

What's up in the Neighborhood

Among the topics in this most recent spin around the Capital Region's online neighborhood: hope and optimism, forming a new bond, parking around Lark Street,... (more)

Recent Comments

I went to one last month. My friend took his oath of citizenship. It is a great ceremony. A local school choir sang. There was a moving speech from one of the new citizens who grew up a refugee and at the age of 21 was finally a citizen of a country for the first time in her life. The League of Women Voters give warm welcomes, flags and voter registration cards to all the new citizens. It gave me such warm fuzzies. Everyone should try to go to one of these if they get the chance.

Albany All Stars Roller Derby has a new home

...has 1 comment, most recently from Anthony

Today in America

...has 8 comments, most recently from Greg

WHAT? (airplane flies overhead)

...has 6 comments, most recently from Greg

Albany County Land Bank buyer workshops

...has 1 comment, most recently from Schenectady

A look at the plan for new bus and pedestrian amenities at Lark and Washington in Albany

...has 11 comments, most recently from Silvia M Lilly