…Some communities in North America are looking for environmentally safe alternatives to road salt.
Beet wastewater—left over from sugar beet processing—cheese brine, pickle juice, and potato juice are some of the unconventional deicers being tested.
The carbohydrates or sugars in beet wastewater make it more effective at lower temperatures than salt water or brine alone, lowering the melting point of the ice to below -20℃ from -10℃—and reducing the amount of chloride applied to the road.
But there are downsides. Some communities dislike the smell of the beet wastewater, which people have likened to soy sauce, molasses, or stale coffee. It also adds sugar to aquatic ecosystems, which may encourage bacterial growth. Instead of using salt and salt additives, some engineers are experimenting with roads that clear themselves of snow and ice. Early tests have suggested that solar panels could replace asphalt to melt ice and eliminate the need for road salt, by heating water in pipes embedded in the road…