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Snow Melt Generator

Roadways cleared by direct application of heat.
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The problem with directly applying heat to melt snow accumulation from streets and roadways is that it takes a lot of calories of heat to affect the transformation from the solid to the liquid state. Accelerate the process by raising the temperature at the roadbed and you may ignite the tires of the vehicle before you achieve the desired results.

Design concept: Flat bed trailer with an under carriage snow removal vacuum/ blower being drawn along the roadway. The vacuumed snow is thrown into an accumulator where heat derived from the burning of propane is applied to the slurry. The slurry water is drained by gravity through another propane water heater and then released back into the street at a temperature raised to the point that it would drain into the curb before refreezing.

Augmenting this process, there would be blowers at the rear of the trailer directing a high volume of air across the surface of the pavement driving the remaining snow and liquid toward the curb.

The principal control parameters would be the speed of the vehicle, the water level within the accumulator and the temperature of the exaust water. It would be desirable for the Snow Melt Generator to effectively clear streets and still maintain a speed of 10 to 20 mph. The heat transfer into the accumulator would be most efficient below the liquid level. The temperature of the exaust liquid would be primary control parameter.

A liquid exaust valve would remain closed until a predetermined liquid level in the accumulator was reached. It would then open allowing water to gravity feed to the next water heater. An exit valve would be modulated through a temperature control loop to maintain a fixed exit temperature.

Load sensors measuring the weight of the accumulator would provide feedback to the driver, so that he may judge the speed at which he may operate the vehicle.

Bull Winkus, Dec 25 2004


       Only works if the drains aren't frozen. Otherwise you'll just be pooling fresh ice behind you, to the hazard of everyone following.
DrCurry, Dec 25 2004

       Or just vacuum it up and blow it off the road. Same difference as sending it into the sewer.
omegatron, Jan 02 2005

       While it is true that the snow removal would be hampered when the drains are frozen, most of the time that would not be an issue. The benefit would be to remove the snow from the street without blowing it into peoples yards and driveways, or creating piles of the nasty looking stuff everywhere.
Bull Winkus, Jan 03 2005


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