Those of us that live in the higher altitudes know what that white stuff is on the bottom of the car during the winter.  It’s salt placed on the roads to prevent icing.  Well, You might start seeing a red tinge to it soon.  Might pose a problem for me, I have a red car, how will I know when to wash it?

I live in Chattanooga, Tennessee and during the winter the roads tend to ice over frequently if no preventative treatment is applied.  For years city officials have known that pre-treating the roads with a brine solution before a storm helps to prevent the build up of ice and snow.  Recently it has been discovered that adding beet juice to the brine helps to improve the effectiveness, especially during lower temperatures and each application lasts twice as long.  It also has the effect of preventing the salt from clumping and requires 30% less salt usage, which is great considering 40% of the United States’ salt supply is used on roads.

A commercial product called Geomelt uses the beet juice mixed with salt and water.  Ohio began testing the beet juice/salt mixture last year and have seen very positive results.  Today it was announced that Chattanooga will test the mixture in my county and a few others.

It works by lowering the freezing temperature of the brine mixture, which means the temperature must get lower before ice can form, a kind of natural antifreeze solution.  Before Geomelt, beet juice was simply a waste product left over after the sugar was removed from sugar beets and flushed down the drain.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like beet growers will see a rise in demand from selling the beet juice like corn growers did from the advent of ethanol as a fuel.  The American Sugar Beet Growers Association still considers it a waste product.