TxDOT Awards UTA Prof $743K for Geothermal De-Icing Project

The researchers are working on de-icing geothermal technology that could be installed on existing infrastructure.


University of Texas at Arlington researcher Xinbao Yu, assistant professor of civil engineering, and his team have been awarded $734,000 from the Texas Department of Transportation to start the second phase of their bridges and overpasses de-icing project using geothermal technology, according to release.

Geothermal energy is used to de-ice bridges during cold winter months, but the existing technology is installed during construction. TxDOT is seeking a solution for existing infrastructure, and Yu’s team is focused on finding a geothermal solution that could be installed to the undersides of bridges and overpasses. 

“We are looking for an alternative for de-icing solution or sand. Those are costly, troublesome to use, and hard on roads and vehicles,” Yu said in a release. “We will look at the long-term cost benefits of using geothermal energy to melt icy roads, as well as the initial costs and environmental impact.”

Anand Puppala, a professor in the Civil Engineering Department and associate dean of research in the College of Engineering, is the co-principal investigator on the project, which also includes Arvin Pedarla, post-doctoral fellow, and two of Yu’s doctoral students. 

The project began in 2015 with a $193,000 phase I award. The latest award will enable researchers to build models to test their technology, according to a release

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