Ice Mitigation

— New NASA-developed Anti-Icing Fluids
— Ice-Storm Mitigation Workshop

As we cool down from one of the hottest summers in several years, utilities in the north must look forward to another winter. Back in January, a note appeared in a NASA publication about a new anti-icing fluid that was developed at the NASA Ames Research Center. Midwest Industrial Supply was named as the licensee, so I contacted the company.

Midwest markets a series of glycol-based products which adhere to vertical surfaces and are more resistant to wind, snow and rain dissipation. Less of it falls on the ground and fewer reapplications are needed, so smaller quantities suffice. They call their latest formulation “zero gravity”.

(Note: “anti-ice” isn’t the same as “de-ice”. Anti-ice sets up a barrier to prevent ice formation in the first place, whereas de-ice attempts to remove ice that’s already formed, and usually requires a lot more material be used.)

Midwest’s extensive product line is getting a good reception in mass-transit (especially 3rd rails). The company also markets anti-freezing and dust control products used widely in managing coal piles and conveyors (including at least 3 UFTO utilities)– “Ice Free Conveyor” & “Freeze Free”. (These sales are generally at the plant level- -it isn’t clear if utilities are taking a corporate approach to these purchases.)

Railroads use Midwest’s “Ice Free Switch” product, which could apply just as well to utility switches. Likewise, public transit railroads need help keeping ice off overhead lines, and Midwest is working to add a product for powerlines and towers.

Contact Mr. Shannon Noble, 800-321-0699

Midwest will be participating in the upcoming “Workshop on Ice Storm Mitigation”, sponsored by the Canadian Electrical Assocation Technologies (CEATI), Oct 6,7, Monteal
Contact Ms. Laurie Lang, 514 866-5377,

The workshop will cover the following topics:
– Preparation for Extraordinary Climatic Events
– Lessons to be drawn from recent major system outages
around the world due to catastrophic ice storms;
– De-icing techniques before, during and following ice storms;
– Curent Developments in de-icing techniques;
– Cost effectiveness of load control devices;
– Improvements in design approaches and comparison of
international standards;
– Ice modelling: comparison between the Canadian and
American approaches;
– Ice storm crisis management: Emergency restoration plan
and mutual assistance agreement.

The workshop is part of an ongoing program at CEATI called the Ice Storm Mitigation Interest Group.
Contact: Ray Del Bianco, 514-866-5355,