MN2020: The Incredible Snow Melting Machine

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Efficiency, Green Living

EDITOR’S PICK: Naysayers of global warming point to snowfall and cold weather as proof that climate change is merely a myth. However, there is a difference between the weather happening just outside our windows and the Earth’s climate—the pattern of weather measured over decades.

Additionally, there is in fact, a direct relationship between snowfall and global warming. Hotter air around the globe causes more moisture in the air than in prior seasons. Thus, when storms do occur, this added wetness within the atmosphere leads to heavier precipitation in the form of more intense rain or snow.

Minneapolis is prepared for whatever this winter’s weather has in store thanks to the city’s investment in a snow-melting machine. The trailer-mounted unit creates a hot water bath, which instantly liquefies the snow and then drains it into the storm sewer. This technology requires both less storage space and less fuel than hauling snow piles using a fleet of diesel trucks.

Minneapolis is not alone in this type of storm management. As of 2011, Chicago has about four melting machines, while New York City has thirty-six. 

Originally Submitted May 24, 2013

This is the kind of week in Minnesota, most of us would really like having a snow melting machine. Maybe if you ask the City of Minneapolis’s public works department heads, they’ll let you borrow theirs. The city’s snowmelter can liquefy 30 tons of snow per hour, which can greatly reduce snow storage needs in a city short of space. They’re still figuring out how best to utilize the three-year-old machine. While the unit consumes lots of fuel, up to 60 gallons per hour, compared to hauling snow with diesel trucks and bobcats it shows potential energy savings.

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energy efficiency, Minneapolis, minnesota, snow

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