Degradation of glycol based aircraft deicing fluids under anaerobic methanogenic conditions
Large quantities of aircraft deicing fluid (ADF) comprised mainly of ethylene glycol (EG) and propylene glycol (PG) are used for aircraft deicing/anti-icing during cold weather operations at airports throughout the world. Several different formulations of ADF have been developed and are used. Type I solutions are commonly employed to remove snow and ice from aircraft surfaces (deicing), and Type IV solutions are commonly applied to prevent ice from reforming (anti-icing).
The runoff from aircraft deicing operations is known to have a high oxygen demand. As a consequence, deicing wastes are often collected at airports for treatment. ADF products also contain small amounts of colorants, corrosion inhibitors, and thickeners, and these compounds may pose a greater environmental concern than oxygen depletion. Several studies have been completed to compare the relative toxicity of the pure glycols (EG and PG) vs. ADF using Microtox ® assays and other aquatic tests, and it has been reported that ADF is significantly more inhibitory than the pure glycols.
With growing concern over the environmental consequences of deicing there has been interest in developing anaerobic technology to treat deicing waste. In this dissertation a survey, a deicing waste characterization study, and research efforts employing serum bottles and bench scale laboratory reactors were used to demonstrate that ADF may be degraded effectively and efficiently in an anaerobic methanogenic environment. The factors that may affect this degradation are examined and discussed.
0538: Aerospace materials