In the realm of airport maintenance, ensuring the safety and operability of runways during winter is paramount. Among the various deicing agents available, sodium formate stands out for its efficacy and environmental friendliness. This article delves into the advantages of using Sodium Formate Runway De-Icer, comparing its performance and impact with traditional options like ice melt calcium chloride, to underscore why it has become a valuable tool for winter airport maintenance.

Advantages of Sodium Formate for Runway Deicing

Lower Environmental Impact

Sodium formate is considered one of the more environmentally friendly deicing chemicals. It breaks down into harmless byproducts that have minimal impact on soil and water sources around airports, a crucial consideration given the vast quantities of deicer required for runway maintenance.

High Efficiency at Low Temperatures

Unlike rock salt (sodium chloride), which loses its effectiveness below 20°F (-6°C), sodium formate remains active at much lower temperatures. Its ability to depress the freezing point of water makes it an ideal choice for airports in regions experiencing severe winter conditions.

Corrosion and Concrete Damage Mitigation

Sodium formate is significantly less corrosive than alternatives like calcium chloride, posing less risk to airport infrastructure, including runways and aircraft. Its use reduces the wear and tear on concrete surfaces and metal fixtures, extending their lifespan and lowering maintenance costs.

Rapid Action

The chemical composition of sodium formate allows it to act quickly upon application, rapidly melting ice and preventing the formation of new ice layers. This quick action is essential for maintaining runway safety and minimizing downtime due to adverse weather conditions.

Comparison with Traditional Deicing Agents

While calcium chloride is a potent deicing agent, its higher corrosiveness and environmental impact make it less ideal for use in sensitive areas like airports. Sodium formate offers a balanced solution, providing effective deicing capability with a lower risk profile. However, the choice between deicing agents often involves considering factors such as cost, availability, and specific environmental regulations at the airport location.

Implementation and Best Practices

For optimal use of sodium formate deicers, airport maintenance teams employ strategic application methods:

  • Pre-treatment: Applying sodium formate before snowfall or icing events can prevent ice from bonding to the runway surface.
  • Spot Treatment: Focusing on critical areas, such as takeoff and landing zones, ensures that the most crucial parts of the runway remain clear and safe for aircraft operations.


Sodium formate has emerged as a leading solution for airport runway deicing, offering an effective and environmentally responsible alternative to traditional deicing chemicals. Its low-temperature efficiency, reduced impact on infrastructure, and rapid melting action make it a valuable asset in ensuring the safety and continuity of airport operations during winter months. As airports worldwide strive for safer and more sustainable maintenance practices, sodium formate is poised to play a pivotal role in winter runway management.