UK-based Kilfrost, which is celebrating 66 years since it helped introduce the first in-flight de-icing systems to keep wings frost and ice free, has developed DFsustain [The initials DF stand for de-icing fluid.–Ed.] from a corn-based glycol called Susterra, developed by DuPont Tate and Lyle BioProducts, rather than the more traditional crude-oil derived glycol.
“By switching to DFsustain, our customers can make huge inroads in reducing their carbon footprints and they’ll save 9,500 air miles worth of energy and greenhouse gas emissions for every jumbo jet journey,” explained Gary Lydiate, CEO of Kilfrost. “Manufacturing the product uses 42 percent less energy than standard glycol and reduces greenhouse gas emissions by 29 percent as well.”
The company said that in addition to this, DFsustain meets and exceeds the most stringent demands of current water authority regulations and is kinder to the natural environment than traditional de-icers. But these environmental savings do not come at the cost of efficient performance, as Lydiate is keen to point out.
“As well as meeting green credentials, DFsustain performs better than all existing propylene glycol de-icers at low temperatures and can cope below -40 degrees C,” he said.
Kilfrost is the “K” in the TKS in-flight de-icing system that was ordered by the UK government in 1942 to meet operational needs of allied aircraft flying during wintry conditions. TKS systems were initially used in Lancaster bombers and were subsequently fitted to a wide range of military aircraft.
Kilfrost, along with Tecalemit (a manufacturer of lubrication equipment) and Sheepridge Stokes (manufacturer of porous metals using powder metallurgy), formed TKS Aircraft De-icing Ltd., which later became a wholly owned subsidiary of Kilfrost.
The system was subsequently updated many times for use in the general aviation and business jet communities, from the original Hawker Siddeley 125 to the contemporary Hawker 850XP aircraft of today.
Kilfrost remains at the forefront of fluid technology, working closely with the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration to ensure their safety-critical products meet or exceed regulatory requirements, including the military specification 406B.