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Protecting Cargo Ships and Dock Structures from Ice Damage

Deicing system to protect dock structures from ice damages

It is possible to protect boats and industrial marine infrastructure from ice damage. Our technologies coupled with our knowledge can extend the ice-free operational period of a commercial wharf in winter. Ferry terminals can also be freed from ice. Barges required for bridge rehabilitation in winter also benefit from an ice-free environment. Several deicing projects in the US and Canada have been successfully implemented by us.

Commercial dock section deiced with Bubble Tubing® DiffuserWhether it is for a boat parked at the wharf in winter rather than in a dry dock or to protect a dock from ice damage, we suggest different approaches depending on environmental conditions. We consider water current, the thickness of the ice, predominant winds, water level fluctuations and of course, the objectives of the customer. Our de-icing systems are made up of OctoAir-10™ or OctoAir-60™ industrial diffusers or Thawline Bubblers™ that incorporate Bubble Tubing® for a temporarily or permanent installation. The fine bubbles create a vertical movement that brings warmer water from below up to the surface. The effect combines the movement and breaking of surface tension with warmer water to leave the water above the diffuser free of ice. In extreme cold situations, a thin layer of ice may form, however this temporary formation will not generate sufficient pressure to cause structural damage.

Dock deicing system with Bubble Tubing®For example, we were invited to submit work plans for a permanent installation of a Thawline Bubbler™ system to protect a large industrial wharf in Quebec in 2007. Each winter, high tides, brackish water and extreme temperatures contribute to ice formation of up to 1.8 m. (72 “) thick in cold weather. This ice could easily damage the structure of the new wharf. The customer wanted a permanent, low-maintenance solution that would thin the ice and weaken it while limiting the opening of the ice around the structure and the visual impact of the equipment.

Our de-icing system did exactly what the customer wanted. By working closely with them over a two-year period, we were able to overcome some of the complications of this facility due to site location. Moreover, this collaboration has allowed us to achieve optimal results:

  • Minimal ice formation
  • Discrete openings of the ice around the structure
  • No structural damage caused by ice during the winter season.

In another situation, we designed a de-icing system to prevent the accumulation of ice on an industrial loading dock. The massive ice build-up during the winter season hampered the unloading process for aluminum smelters. Strong tides over 6-metre-high and extreme cold created difficult conditions every winter. The previous method of removing the accumulated ice was to use heavy machinery, which damaged the wooden dock structure and also complicated the operations.

The use of existing air compressors and a Thawline Bubbler™ de-icing system with Bubble Tubing® has enabled efficient de-icing, even beyond the client’s expectations, without any interruption since 2009.