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Rustam Gilfanov: Scientists call for diverse salt combinations in ice melts for winter road maintenance to preserve the environment and infrastructure

Industry: Science

Consumption of ice melts has increased dramatically as traffic grew exponentially. Rock salt, NaCl, remains go-to chemical for winter road maintenance while its long-term harmful effects become more evident. Scientists call for multi-component salt mixes in ice melts to reduce the impact of NaCl. Bionord is invented in Russia to comply.

Moscow, Russia (PRUnderground) January 21st, 2020

Scientists call for diverse salt combinations in ice melts for winter road maintenance to preserve the environment and infrastructure

Scientists across the globe are calling for a broader use of various salt mixtures in ice melts. Consumption of ice melts has increased dramatically over the past decades as traffic grew exponentially. The US alone now spreads over 24 millions of tons of chemicals each winter, an increase of some 24 times since 1950’s. Canada and European countries, where winter temperatures flirt with the freezing point of 0C (13F) follow the same suit. Currently salt (sodium chloride, NaCl, rock salt) remains the main go-to chemical for winter road maintenance in North America and much of Northern Europe.

While sodium chloride ultimately helps in keeping the roads clear and promotes safety in winter, it doesn’t just vanish with the ice it melts. Salty slush finds its way into soils nearby the roadways, creeps into rivers, lakes and even water supplies. Its leftovers on roadways eat into the pavement and bridges, cause corrosion of the passing vehicles, and a Washington State University study estimates the US spends $5 billion a year on infrastructure damages caused by rock salt. It harms the environment and the infrastructure, including drinking water pipes, which, in turn, causes lead contamination. Too much sodium chloride in the environment causes death to small organisms and can even change the sex of frogs. The growing excess of sodium chloride in the environment is the chief concern of scientists and environmentalists all over the world.

Canadian and European scientists have long advocated for reduced consumption of sodium chloride in ice melts by adding other kinds of salts into the mix, such as calcium chloride, formates, urea and others. When these salts applied together it reduces harmful effects of sodium chloride and boosts the efficiency. In select parts of Russia, where cold winters last for 6 months, this principle has been successfully implemented into a ready-made product line: multi-salt ice melt is already in use in over 50 regions.

“Together with the Russian Research Institute of Agricultural Microbiology (ARRIAM) we discovered that a combination of salts, instead of just sodium chloride, will actually decrease the harmful effects to the environment, to the extent that we can normalize the soil condition near the major roadway arteries, where soils are affected the most. This discovery lead us to invent a multi-component ice melt, with a combination of salts pressed in single pallets, called Bionord. It works in lower temperatures than sodium chloride and is much less harmful.”  – said Mr. Rustam Gilfanov, a Russian businessman and inventor, the founder of UZPM – the leading Russian manufacturer of the advanced and eco-friendly snow and ice melting solutions.

Moscow, the largest among northern cities globally, with 12 million people and over 6 millions of cars, has managed to decrease the sodium chloride pollution in soils over 3 times and bring it back to normal since the application of multi-component single pallet Bionord ice melt started 9 years ago.

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