Farnborough Air Show

Kilfrost Introduces Sustainable De-icing Fluid

 - July 8, 2012, 5:10 AM

Kilfrost (Hall 4 Stand G4) is introducing what it claims to be the first aircraft de-icing fluid made from sustainable sources. The new corn-based DF Sustain fluid is an environmentally friendly alternative to monopropylene glycol and it has already been approved by aviation authorities in the U.S. and Japan.

All Nippon Airways successfully tested the fluid over the winter of 2011/12 and Air New Zealand has ordered some supplies. According to Kilfrost CEO Gary Lydiate, DF Sustain can operate at much lower temperatures than traditional fluids, having been tested down to minus-40-deg C in the north of Finland. It also allows aircraft to hold on the ground for longer times before having to be de-iced again. The raw material used to make DF Sustain has been developed by a joint venture of DuPont and Tate & Lyle.

UK-based Kilfrost has been producing de-icing and anti-icing fluids for more than 80 years and is one of a small number of suppliers. According to Lydiate, the barriers to entering the market are quite high because of the burden of regulatory approval by the authorities in the home countries of its client airlines, as well as by the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration. The price of fluids fluctuates with the cost of monopropylene glycol, which is largely dependent on the state of crude oil markets.

Kilfrost is continuing research-and-development efforts to find more efficient and cost- effective fluids. At the same time, the company has established production facilities in North America and may yet establish a permanent base in China, where it sees air transport expanding fast. “We are already assisting Chinese customers with training and want to keep pushing the green agenda,” concluded Lydiate.

The privately owned company has increased its workforce by 100 percent in the past three years, having enjoyed a 93-percent annual profit growth since 2008. Last year, 76 percent of its sales were overseas; it supplies de-icing and anti-icing fluids to operators in 63 countries across five continents.