Minnesota looks to corn-based de-icer this winter

| 11/15/2001

The Minnesota Department of Transportation is looking to a farm product this winter to fight ice and snow on the state's roadway. Instead of salt, the department will test a liquid, corn-based de-icer on roads in three metro-area test locations.

The clear, golden corn liquid is 30 percent magnesium chloride and will reportedly melt ice in temperatures as low as 40 degrees below zero. The melting power of salt stops at about minus 6 degrees.

The liquid can be applied before a snowfall, night or day, and it will stay effective for four days before it must be reapplied. MnDOT hopes the liquid will reduce black ice before snow falls and keep roads free of snow and ice for a longer time during a snowfall. Because the corn product is 70 percent less corrosive than salt, it is expected to do less damage to vehicles, bridge decks and light poles.

To verify its effectiveness, MnDOT will look to see if the product reduces the number of crashes and the time spent removing snow and ice. If the liquid proves to be effective, the department plans to expand its use every year.

The corn product will be tested on the carpool lane on Interstate 394 west of Minneapolis; on the Lafayette Bridge on Highway 52 and on the Cayuga Bridge on I-35 East - both near St. Paul. This year's application will require about 6,000 bushels of corn.