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Minneapolis Digs Out with Biodiesel-Powered Snow Melter

Winter weather is wreaking havoc in many parts of the country, but city officials in Minneapolis have found a unique way to help battle the huge mounds of snow plaguing a city with limited snow storage options – a biodiesel-powered Snow Dragon that can melt 30 tons of snow/hour. After the collapse of the city’s Metrodome, home of the Minnesota Vikings, the Snow Dragon helped clear the outdoor field at the University of Minnesota that the team would use for their postponed game.

Biodiesel blends are standing up to frigid temperatures and helping residents manage snow removal as well. The snow melter’s 9-million-BTU boiler separates pollutants and trash from the water, which is then sent down a storm drain cleaner than when it was snow.

The melter is being used primarily around parking meters and intersections. The only municipally owned snow melter in Minnesota, the city received federal funds to help purchase it as part of a transit upgrade. In addition, New York City, the largest municipal user of biodiesel, finds ways to use biodiesel year-round. They, too, use biodiesel for snow removal.

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