OCOchem Wins Extension of Contract to Develop Large-scale Prototype Electrolyzer to Make Non-corrosive Deicing Chemical for U.S. Army

New chemical technology to protect roads, vehicles and the environment on military bases; could save US taxpayers hundreds of billions of dollars annually

Richland, Wash., September 19, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — Clean fuel and chemical innovator OCOchem has received a contract extension $1.1 million Contract to create a chemical process to produce a lower cost, non-corrosive, chlorine-free deicer to protect US Army and other military equipment from damage caused by rock or road salt.

Once scaled up — and with widespread application for military and civilian purposes — the new chemical would replace the use of chloride-based deicing salts and more than save US state and local governments 100 billion dollars in the annual corrosion-related maintenance costs of roads, bridges and equipment and help protect the environment and water supply.

The US military and state and local governments in cold-weather environments use chemical deicers to melt hazardous ice on roads, sidewalks, and runways. US military installations around the world rely on deicers to keep their bases operational and operational 24/7. However, the most commonly used deicing chemicals today are chloride-based salts due to their historically lower cost. These salts have negative impacts on the environment and surrounding infrastructure after they’re applied, dissolved and dispersed, he said death BrixCo-founder and CEO of kingdom-based OCOchem.

These adverse impacts include corrosion of vehicles, equipment, and metal components (such as rebar and connectors) used in bridges and transportation infrastructure, soil and drinking water pollution from chemical runoff, and damage to vegetation. Corrosion almost cost the US Department of Defense, according to a 2016 report by the General Accounting Office $21 billion in fiscal year 2011. Beyond the US Army and Department of Defense, the estimated annual economic cost of the adverse effects of chloride-based deicers exceeds 100 billion dollars in the civil economy of The United States. It is also the main cause of that $561 billion The United States spends annually on corrosion, according to NACE International, accelerating the deterioration of the infrastructure needed to move people and goods The United States.

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OCOchem has developed a cost effective process to produce a non-corrosive potassium formate deicer using low cost and recycled carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, water, potassium sulfate and clean electricity. Although other potassium formate deicers exist and are commonly used in airports and for home use, they are made from fossil fuels. OCOchem’s process significantly reduces the price by using copious amounts of recycled CO2 to make it affordable.

With a grant from the US Army, in August OCOchem prototyped the first large-scale mobile Carbon Flux Electrolyzer™ that produces potassium formate in a ready-to-use liquid brine formulation for use as a non-corrosive deicer. The Formate Electrolyser fits on the back of a military vehicle, making it readily accessible to bases around the world.

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The prototype – a marvel of electrical, chemical and mechanical engineering, invented, constructed and demonstrated at OCOchem kingdom Headquarters — is the world’s first formate electrolyzer of this size. It is 18 times larger than the original prototype developed by Brix and his team.

The new deicer – if widely adopted by military and civilian users – has the potential to save US taxpayers more than just money 100 billion dollars per year through reduced corrosion, maintenance and replacement costs currently caused by the use of chloride-based deicers, but also:

  • Improve supply chain resilience and reduce logistics costs and risks by enabling on-site manufacturing of the new deicing fluids at US military bases.
  • Reduce potassium formate costs by more than 30%, enabling expanded deployment.
  • Create a shorter and more resilient US-only supply chain that doesn’t rely on chemicals imported from abroad. Potassium formate would be produced on-site using OCOchem’s Carbon Flux Electrolyzer™ and recycled CO2, water and potassium sulfate from the USA.
  • Reduce environmental and water supply pollution and salinity by reducing runoff from chloride salt-based deicers.
  • Reduce CO2 emissions by capturing and recycling CO2 from base emission sources such as diesel generators, natural gas turbines and heaters.
  • Reduction of total CO2 emissions by more than 100 million tons per year in The United States (2% of annual US greenhouse gas emissions) if traditional rock salt deicers are fully replaced by this approach.
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“The potential impact of this novel, lower-cost, carbon-neutral deicing process offers a triple benefit to national defense preparedness, civilian customers and the environment,” said Brix. “We are pleased to continue our efforts to further scale our formate electrolyzer technology into a market-ready system for the US Army, enabling the new low-cost, non-corrosive deicer to be deployed on US military bases around the world and in the civilian sector to improve safe travel more cost-effectively and to protect and prolong the longevity of our natural and built environments.”

OCOchem is a venture-backed clean tech start-up that develops and commercializes technologies that use recycled carbon dioxide in the chemical structure of formates and formic acid, which can then be used to produce lower-cost, greener chemical solutions and also converted into green hydrogen . OCOchem has received R&D funding from the US Department of Energy and Defense, ARPA-E, and is a founding member of Halliburton Labs. Founded in 2017 in the Pacific Northwest, OCOchem operates its main R&D labs in Richland, Washington. Visit https://ocochem.com for more information.

The project shown is supported by the US Army Research Office. The information does not necessarily reflect the position or policy of the US government, and no official endorsement should be inferred.

Cynthia Blitz
[email protected]


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