The US Army has awarded an extended contract to clean tech start-up OCOchem to further develop their formate electrolyser technology to produce an affordable and non-corrosive de-icer.

The contract is an extension of an initial deal worth $1.1m.

The de-icer will protect the Army’s bases and equipment from the damage caused by rock and road salt.

Following a US Army grant, OCOchem built the first prototype-scale Carbon Flux Electrolyzer in August to produce potassium formate de-icer in a ready-to-use liquid brine formulation.

The mobile electrolyser can be carried in a military vehicle for use at bases across the world.

The new process enables the production of de-icing chemicals on-site at US military bases, lowering logistics costs and risks.

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The chemicals will be produced using OCOchem’s Carbon Flux Electrolyzer and US-sourced recycled CO₂, water, and potassium sulphate.

The use of recycled CO₂  makes the process cost-effective and helps save the environment and water supplies.

The process is expected to decrease COemissions in the country by over 100 million tonnes per year and create an efficient US-only supply chain.

Once adopted for military and civilian purposes, the new chemical process will replace chloride-based de-icing salts.

According to the company, the chlorine-free de-icer will cut the costs on corrosion-related road, bridge, and equipment maintenance by $100bn.    

OCOchem co-founder and chief executive Todd Brix said: “The potential impact of this novel, lower-cost, carbon-neutral de-icing manufacturing process delivers a triple benefit to national defence readiness, civilian customers, and the environment.

“We are excited to continue our efforts to further scale our formate electrolyser technology to a commercial-ready system for the US Army so that the new low-cost, corrosion-free de-icer can be used at US military bases throughout the world and be deployed in the civilian sector to more affordably enhance safe travel and to protect and extend the longevity of our natural and built environment.”