A team of researchers at Washington State University is working on a deicer based on concord grape skins and other agricultural waste that they claim outperforms traditional deicers like rock salt and beet juice mixes.
According to results published in the December issue of the Journal of Materials in Civil Engineering, WSU researchers derived chemicals from waste Concord grape skins through chemical degradation and natural fermentation.
The WSU researchers claim their grape extract-based product melts ice faster than traditional brine and beet-brine deicing mixtures and is less damaging to concrete and asphalt.
Beet juice, an additive popular with highway departments, can deplete oxygen and endanger aquatic organisms if it gets into bodies of water.
The core goal of this research is to utilize locally sourced agro-waste products to produce brine alternatives, according to the report. As such, the researchers report success with other materials, such as peony leaves, sugar-beet leaves, dandelion leaves, and apple waste.
Mike Zawacki is editor of Snow Magazine.