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A Transportation Department study says inexpensive feedstocks.

A Transportation Department study says inexpensive feedstocks such as cheese whey can be used to make calcium magnesium acetate (CMA), an environmentally-friendly snow and ice control material that several states use for roadway deicing and anti-icing.

The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority sponsored the research, which was conducted by Ohio State University's Department of Chemical Engineering. The project used fermented cheese whey to produce acetic acid which, in turn, reacted with lime to produce CMA.

CMA is a mixture of calcium acetate and magnesium acetate and has a deicing ability comparable to salt. Although salt is less expensive, CMA has no significant health or environmental concerns. It does not corrode vehicles or harm concrete, structural steel, vegetation, or aquatic life. FHWA said many states were interested in the study, which showed that waste liquid whey could be used to make about 1.7 billion pounds per year of low cost CMA and potassium acetate.

It said deicing tests showed the whey-based product had an equal or slightly better ice penetration rate than commercial CMA. FHWA said CMA made from cheese whey could be produced at a cost of less than 30 percent of the current market price for commercial CMA.

Researchers have also developed methods for producing CMA from sewage sludge with similar results. Separately, FHWA awarded $286 million in discretionary funds for infrastructure projects in 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico.

The FHWA allocated $20.3 million for scenic byways, $88.5 million for interstate maintenance; $42.8 million for highways on public lands; $65.3 million for major bridge repair; $21.8 million for seismic retrofitting for bridges; $15.9 million for innovative bridge research; and $31.4 million for ferry boats and terminals.

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Publication:Public Works
Article Type:Brief Article
Date:Feb 1, 2000
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