Pair takes liquid de-icer used by airports and applies it to roads
Jeff Eaves and Michael Perovich co-own Tillsonbrands, makers of Jet Blue de-icer. (MIKE HENSEN, The London Free Press)
The cold, relentless winter has helped one local business that’s on the cutting edge of a new road salt technology take off.
Four years ago, Jeff Eaves and Michael Perovich had an idea: Could they take the liquid de-icer used by airports to de-ice planes as a form of road salt to make it a “super performer?”
The answer, it turns out, is yes.
“What we found was that we were able to cut salt usage in half,” said Eaves.
With a winter in which temperatures have plummeted below –20 C, the salt has caught the eye of large corporations across the country. It’s so popular the duo can’t keep their 15 different brands of ice melter in stock.
“If I had 100 truckloads here they would be gone,” said Eaves.
Another Tillsonburg company produces the liquid de-icer for LNT Solutions and Tillsonbrands buys that liquid de-icer from LNT as part of an exclusive licensing agreement. It then turns it into a quick-melting version of road salt.
Unlike regular road salt that needs a liquid to activate it, Tillsonbrands’ products are already pre-coated so they start working right away. They’re also less corrosive.
The company’s biggest focus is on developing more products that are smarter and safer.
The product’s success this year has been the result of a perfect storm — a long, bone-chilling cold winter that’s led to a shortage of road salt.
“It’s the perfect storm. People who have been in the industry for 25 years or more probably might remember another time it was this bad. It’s been so cold for so long,” Eaves said.
Go Transit is testing their products, as are the owners of Hwy. 407.
“For the first time in years, melting ice on the highway at –20 C is an issue,” Eaves said.