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Denver Broncos stay safe during winter training thanks to new ice-melt solution

February 16, 2018

Brooks Dodson is the Director of Sports Turf & Grounds for The Denver Broncos Football Club and that is no small feat. He is responsible for approximately 26 acres of property at The UCHealth Training Center—the corporate headquarters of the Denver Broncos. Therefore, when winter rolls around, he is the one responsible for the highly valued football stars’ safety, players who cannot afford any slip-and-fall accidents and sit out the entire season. Add to that mix the amount of media, staff and fans that visit the property and come through the center’s doors—and walkway safety is a must. “Getting everyone in/out and around the facility safely is our responsibility, and we take that seriously. We don’t want anyone hurt,” said Dodson.

The UCHealth Training Center is the corporate headquarters of the Denver Broncos, where the team trains six to seven days a week. (Photo: Gabriel Christus/Denver Broncos Team Photographer)

Every year, Dodson’s facility staff would bring out the calcium chloride—various salt deicers—and apply it with a spreader or a cup to prevent slippery walkways. However, the rock-salt product residue would be dragged indoors, damaging carpets, tiles and concrete in and around the buildings. Dodson decided it was time to seek out a more environmentally friendly product—in the form of a liquid.

Environmentally friendly deicer based on BASF acid

He attended the Sports Turf Managers Association tradeshow last winter and found biodegradable non-chloride liquid deicer entry. Entry ice melt is a liquid deicer based on potassium formate, derived from formic acid, an organic acid produced locally by BASF Corp. in Geismar, Louisiana. Formic acid is a natural product that could also be used for animal feed preservatives, household and industrial cleaning, as well as pharmaceutical intermediates. The organic acid is also used to make potassium formate—a better alternative to chloride-based salts, which is what most businesses use for ice melts. Formate salts are less corrosive, and have a lesser impact on the surrounding flora which makes them both more plant and pet friendly. Potassium formate is also sprayed in liquid form instead of granular salt, so tracking into buildings is not a concern. Entry breaks down hydrogen bonds formed when water freezes. As a result, once the product is sprayed, it removes thin layers of ice and snow, and prevents new snow from accumulating or icing. Entry reduces the freezing point of water to approximately minus 63 degrees Fahrenheit.

After meeting the manufacturer of the product— SynaTek Solutions—at the tradeshow, which uses BASF’s chemistry, Dodson tried out the liquid product and never went back to the bagged granular salt again. “Entry performed exactly how we had hoped,” Dodson added. “Application is very simple and there is no residue. Entry is environmentally friendly and performs faster than the granular products we have used in the past.”

In addition to the newer liquid form of deicing being cleaner and faster acting, it is also environmentally friendlier—since potassium formate is easily biodegradable, and chloride and urea-free, so it doesn’t damage the ecosystems—which is important to the Denver Broncos facility manager.

With the amount of fans, staff and media that come through the training center, entryway and walkway safety is a must for the facilities manager. (Photo: Gabriel Christus/Denver Broncos Team Photographer)

New liquid deicer soon to be used for the Denver Broncos stadium

Entry is used all around the UCHealth Training Center, specifically at entryways, concrete steps and sidewalks, and in front of the team store that garners a high amount of traffic. In fact, although the Denver Broncos stadium is located 25 miles north of the UCHealth Training Facility, its operators caught wind of Dodson’s use of this new liquid deicer and its benefits, and now they are picking up the product to use for the stadium, according to Dodson. “Entry is a cleaner, safer, effective product that does not destroy your concrete or building interiors,” he concluded.