You don’t need to be an expert to see that the weather is becoming more extreme.
Early winter weather warnings predict that 2021/22 could be especially hard, with a second La Niña weather system in the Pacific Ocean predicted to cause a very cold season across the US and Europe.
As a leading supplier of winterisation products, we are predicting a very busy winter. So, we recommend that you plan ahead.
This is because the availability of de-icing and anti-icing products becomes quite challenging once the bad weather hits. Our UK customers should note that this problem it’s likely to be exacerbated by the well-document logistics and supply chain issues across the country right now.
So, with that in mid, we’ve put together some advice and guidance for customers to help them develop a clear winterisation strategy and prevent their businesses from grinding to a halt.
- Early winterisation planning tips
- Choosing the right de-icing and anti-icing products
- Keeping on track during unpredictable weather
- Green de-icing for a sustainable winterisation strategy
- Aviation grade de-icing tips for airstrips and runways
Early Winterisation Planning Tips
It’s impossible to be certain about the weather.
We essentially face two choices: Prepare for every eventually by buying ahead and stockpiling the appropriate products or hope for the best.
The first strategy carries a specific and measurable cost. The second option is much riskier, as once bad weather hits you are forced to join the swarm of businesses and organisations competing for limited supplies.
De-icing salt is a classic example of this, as stocks deplete rapidly in icy weather.
Good quality products can be efficient anti-ice products as well as quickly melting ice and snow. This is much more efficient.
Ensuring you have a 10-to-15-day supply is good practice. This will cover the initial period of cold weather and give suppliers time to restock after the big rush.
Most extreme icy conditions do not last longer than this, although we can never be certain.
Choosing the right de-icing and anti-icing products
De-icers are not all made the same.
So how do you make sure that the product you are buying will work?
Let’s break down the different de-icer and anti-icing solutions available to you.
De-icers for Road
Most De-icing Salts are corrosive for vehicles.
But it’s still absolutely necessary to have powerful chemical de-icers to keep surfaces clear and ready for use at all times.
Just don’t be fooled by cheap, quick fixes.
Source better, more advanced, cleaning systems to ensure that your anti-icing system isn’t causing more harm than the weather outside.
De-icers for Rail
Rust and erosion love icy railways in the winter. But the wrong anti-icing products can cause all kinds of problems for you.
Train doors running gear can become blocked.
Anti-icing salts can blow away in the wind.
Floors and surfaces can become stained.
Concreate and steel can corrode.
With all that to worry about, it is vital that you choose a de-icer with built-in corrosion inhibitors, to prevent any long-term damage to rolling stock and stations.
De-icers for Institutions and Public Buildings
Avoid standard grade yellow salts as these can be both staining and corrosive.
Instead look for safer, less harmful alternatives that have good general-use qualities.
While some of these products may at first seem more expensive than standard grit and salts, they are often far more efficient with lower re-application rates.
So, in the long run you could save both time AND money.
Many of the cheaper alternatives listed above have the potential to cause long-term damage to buildings and the surrounding environment.
Water courses, vegetation and wildlife can all suffer if you apply the wrong product, so be very careful if you are looking to protect any of these.
De-icers for Aviation
Here’s the problem:
Too many aviation grade de-icing and anti-icing products are toxic, so it is essential you look for ones that are not.
It has been found that run-off from airport de-icers is the cause of much contamination of nearby streams and environments.
Airports use thousands of litres of anti-freeze and de-icer on a single aircraft, much of which isn’t recaptured.
It can build up in substantial quantities in the soil or in streams. And this build-up of chemicals is highly toxic to animals and plant life.
Ethylene glycol has been the standard for anti-freezes and de-icer for years because of its low cost. It is a liquid with a freezing point of -13 C, and it can lower the freezing point of water to about -50 C, depending on dilution.
But Ethylene glycol is highly poisonous.
Propylene glycol, on the other hand, is essentially non-toxic. It is similar in appearance but actually outperforms ethylene glycol in several ways. For example, it can lower the freezing point of water to about -60 C.
Green de-icing for a sustainable winterisation strategy
Environmental Impact of De-icing and Anti-icing
Some chloride-based products have also been found to be toxic to humans, animals, and plants.
Sodium chloride products, for example, can cause irritation when they come in contact with the skin.
Calcium chloride-based products can burn human skin and if the particles are inhaled, they can cause serious irritation.
When spread on to vegetation, calcium chloride products can have a defoliating effect.
Another key consideration is the effect that de-icers and anti-icers can have when they build up in waterways.
Even essentially non-toxic products can cause a huge amount of harm to aquatic life.
If it builds up in meaningful quantities, they can reduce the waters oxygen level.
ICEBLAST SF – 898
An aqueous solution of potassium acetate that is designed to be safe for the environment – especially when used in quantities near waterways.
It is an efficient anti-ice as well as quickly melting ice and snow. IceBlast Plus works down to -37°C (salt works down to -7°C).
It conforms to AMS 1435A aerospace material specification for fluid de-icers for use in airports on runways and aprons and stations, on bridges, car parks, pavement, roads, and other public areas.
Green De-icing for Aircraft and Runways
To comply with safety standards aviation-grade de-icers have to be strong. You can’t simply go down to the garage and pick out a bottle of de-icer or use gritting salt like you would have seen on the roads.
However, making these products effective and compliant with aviation safety standards comes with additional problems. Not least of which, is that the chemicals used in many de-icers can have a negative impact on the local environment.
Before we get into that though, we want to highlight another couple of issues. First, that chloride salts – which are widely used in road de-icers – can be corrosive, which for obvious reasons is a big no when it comes to aircraft de-icing.
Secondly, the holdover time is another serious consideration. This is the time after the initial de-icing that ice may start to form again.
As this is generally something you would want to avoid there are additional procedures and products, including anti-icing products, that are necessary and again have to comply with aviation-grade safety standards.
Why use a green de-icer?
It has been found that run-off from airport de-icers have been the cause of the contamination of nearby streams and environments.
Green de-icers take this into account and utilise specially formulated products to have as minimal an environmental impact as possible.
How do I choose the right de-icer?
Careful research is required before the purchase of any de-icing products to ensure that the product is CAA approved. On top of this, you should always purchase from reputable suppliers and trusted brands.
Your key considerations when choosing which product is the right one for your needs should be:
- Does it come from a reputable and well-established supplier?
- Is it environmentally friendly?
- Does it comply with aviation safety standards?
What makes de-icing products so toxic?
The key active chemicals in many aviation de-icers are glycols. Glycols and other de-icing chemicals work by forming a solvent and essentially lowering the freezing point of the water they come into contact with. The main components are usually propylene glycol or ethylene glycol.
Ethylene glycol has been the standard for anti-freezes and de-icers for years because of its low cost. It is a liquid with a freezing point of -13°C, and it can lower the freezing point of water to about -50°C, depending on dilution.
Ethylene glycol is highly toxic when ingested. It depresses the central nervous system and can be fatal to animals and even humans in small quantities.
Airports use thousands of litres of anti-freeze and de-icer on a single aircraft, much of which isn’t recaptured, and can build up in substantial quantities in the soil or in streams.
Propylene glycol, on the other hand, is essentially non-toxic. It is similar in appearance but actually also outperforms ethylene glycol in several ways. For example, it can lower the freezing point of water to about -60°C, again depending on dilution.
Green Chela aviation-grade de-icing products
For all aviation standard liquid de-icers, Chela designs and manufactures everything you need. These products are designed to help the aviation and transport industry operate optimally even in severe weather conditions.
Clearway 3 is an aviation approved non-corrosive and environmentally friendly de-icer/anti-icer liquid. It has been tested to comply with AMS 1435a aviation standards.
Clearway 3 can even be applied in close proximity to water run-offs as its low BOD qualities make it non-hazardous to aquatic life.
Iceblast SF is an environmentally safe anti-icing and de-icing aviation approved runway solid.
It is an effective high-performance deicer that can also be used other specialist applications, for example, road bridge de-icing.
IceBlast SF is a solid sodium formate based de-icer and anti-icer. It contains no glycols, urea or triazoles. It is formulated with corrosion inhibitors and conforms to material compatibility tests according to AMS 1431.
Clearway 6s is industry-leading and widely used throughout the UK aviation industry. The Clearway 6s combines exceptional de-icing performance while retaining all-important positive environmental qualities.
Clearway can even be applied in close proximity to water run-offs as its low BOD qualities make it non-hazardous to aquatic life.
Ready for Winter?
We hope you have found some of the information here useful. Don’t forget you can get in touch anytime if you have any questions.
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