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Bill Brownstein gets all topical about the lousy weather (it's -26°C here as I write this, with nary a letup in sight) in the Sunday Montreal Gazette:

In 83 years, technology has grown in leaps and bounds almost everywhere else. We've gone from the radio to the TV to the Internet age. We have landed humans and rodents on the moon. We have put trained chimpanzees in the White House. We can eliminate much of the planet with the pressing of a single button (which is why it will come as a relief to many that the current chimp in Washington leaves next month). And yet we get more stymied than ever by snow on our streets and sidewalks, compounded by an ever-expanding population of people and cars in our downtown cores.

I'm no physicist or chemist or engineer - as all my high-school teachers will attest - but there's got to be some brainiac working in a basement somewhere with a plan to remove snow and ice more quickly and more efficiently than we do it today.

Yo Bill! You should have checked with your sister paper in Edmonton. Meet the SNOW DRAGON! It's not only an instrument of terrifying, Godlike power, it's all, like, environmental and stuff too. Turns out it doesn't cost any more to melt the snow on the spot than it does to haul it away every time the truck's full and come back.


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Comments (8)


Cowboy-up Canucks.
This is Canada in December for f*ck sakes.
What do you expect?

Garth Wood:

Yeah, saw this on the news a few weeks ago (I think).  Love the idea, somewhat surprised that it's as fuel-miserly as it is, but what the heck — if the blasted thing works, let's get a passelful here in Calgary and start 'em up (we could certainly use the help).  And it would keep us from dumping dirty snow into areas near the Bow, which I'm led to believe is already stressed from too much raw (non-sewage) effluent.

I wonder how clean the output of this beast is — filtration is one thing, but you also gotta worry 'bout salt and other dissolved solids...



One thing: it eats around 200 liters per hour. That's enough fuel to haul 50,000 lbs of goods to Calgary and back.

For municipalities who haul snow, 200 liters is roughly three or four days worth per truck of nonstop hauling.

For municipalities such as Edmonton, who as a rule don't haul snow (they push it to the side of the roadway; shopping malls and the like who haul snow do so on their own dime, and I believe that hospitals and the like are covered largely by provincial infrastructure) this thing is a fuel-dragon.


Let me put 200 liters per hour in a little better perspective. For the last four or five years, I've done local hotshots, P&D, and home deliveries in the Edmonton area.

My truck puts on anywhere from 150 to 250 km a day, depending largely on deliveries to outlying communities such as Stony Plain, Devon, Bon Accord, Fort Sask, etc. That's on average a good six hours of driving time a day, averaging 40-50 kph on city streets plus signal wait time.

I fuel up just over once a week - maybe a week point 2 on average, to the tune of about 250-300 liters.

For a dump truck, which spends most of its time idling and doing short runs back and forth from site to site, again averaging maybe 40-50 kph, 200 liters could be as much as a week per truck of 8-10 hour operation.

200 liters per hour is a shocking amount of fuel to be spending, compared to 200 a week per dump truck.

Now, the article says that this machine will go through 24 dump truck loads per hour for that amount - you could run around 65, 70 dump trucks per hour for the same fuel cost.

Now, that's just fuel costs. Of course each dump truck earns an hourly rate far in excess of its fuel costs, and it doesn't say how much this machine runs for, but in the balance I'd think you'd probably wind up spending more money to replace a fleet of cheaply run dump trucks with a fleet of fuel-eating snow dragons.


Oh, and the article claims that the snow dragon, burning 250 liters an hour, is putting out fewer emissions than two idling dump trucks (less than 2 liters per hour between them).

Someone who believes that little factoid should probably go back to junior high.

Crid [cridcridatgmail]:

> it's -26°C here as I write this

He didn't mean that "C" part, did he? Typo city. Right? Sure.

I'm in L.A. Broken clouds are especially pretty in the low sunshine of December... As I type this, golden rays shoot over the Santa Monica bay to paint the wall behind the computer monitor. It's really the best time of year if you're a guy who likes to wear lightweight, neatly-tailored sportcoats.



Colby, once you've seen the Metromelt 500 in action, there can be no other snow melting machine for you, even if another does have the name Snow Dragon. This isn't a Shrek movie. This is street cleaning, my friend.

I have seen the Metromelt 500 at work in Toronto, and it is a cross between KITT, a Mad Max jet-car, and a train locomotive.

I was crestfallen to learn that it, too, burns gasoline instead of coal. I remain hopeful that their next-gen Metromelt will be coal-fired, or maybe just burn peat.

You can see it here: http://www.wilbarandarnold.com/metromelters.htm


(which is why it will come as a relief to many that the current chimp in Washington leaves next month)

On the contrary, the greater relief will come when our journalists must find some other cliche to indulge in.


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