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: + Here's the full music schedule for this weekend's LarkFest. + A map of... (more)

Movies that filmed in -- or were set in -- the Capital Region

In a comment earlier this week, s asked about list of movies that have been filmed in -- or set in -- the Capital Region.... (more)

LarkFest 2016 parking restrictions

Here's the list or parking restrictions and road closures from the Albany Police Department for LarkFest this weekend. (There's also some info about residents of... (more)

Graphic novelist Raina Telgemeier will be in Saratoga Springs for a Northshire event

Best-selling, award-winning cartoonist/author Raina Telgemeier will be in Saratoga Springs for an illustrated talk and Q&A October 21. The Northshire Bookstore-organized event is at the... (more)

Stuff to do this weekend

Welcome to the first weekend of autumn and a fall bounty of stuff to do. It's a busy weekend, with Larkfest, Balloon Fest, the Collar... (more)

Recent Comments

... Nano has been great for Albany and upstate, but the ends just don't justify the means. This was public money being steered in exchange for political donations and bribes. It didn't need to happen for those businesses to come here. (In fact we might have gotten better deals if it hadn't.) ...

Movies that filmed in -- or were set in -- the Capital Region

...has 4 comments, most recently from Paula

Morning Blend for Sep 19

...has 7 comments, most recently from JayK

Morning Blend for Sep 23

...has 3 comments, most recently from jay pea

Looking through the federal and state accusations involving SUNY Poly and Alain Kaloyeros

...has 10 comments, most recently from Rich

Donating hair for charity?

...has 16 comments, most recently from chrisck