Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Perfect for Alaska: Snowfree sidewalk, under development at UAA

CFT Solutions deicing technology at work on a test sidewalk.
The University of Alaska Anchorage launched its second startup company, CFT Solutions™, a business with an innovative approach to deicing and snow removal.

CFT Solutions™, a Seawolf Holdings company, was founded on the idea of creating a cutting edge, cost-effective and environmentally friendly way to prevent snow and ice from accumulating.
CFT’s patent-pending innovation is embedding carbon fiber tapes, which are easy to install and maintain, under pavement to heat the surface. This system is ideal for high pedestrian traffic walkways, roads, high usage intersections, bridges and roofs of buildings, as well as residential homes and driveways. It was successfully tested in Anchorage during the winter of 2011-12, which had a record snowfall for the area. Learn more about the testing here.

The company, created in May 2013, was established by UAA Vice Provost for Research and Graduate Studies Dr. Helena Wisniewski and faculty inventor Zhaohui “Joey” Yang, a UAA engineering professor.

The idea for CFT Solutions™ began three years ago when Yang met his collaborator Professor Gangbing Song from the University of Houston. Song was experimenting with commercially available flexible carbon fiber that is light, strong, non-corrosive and conducts low-voltage electricity generating a certain amount of heat. Song was using these to heat surfaces in his lab.

“Knowing how dangerous a sleek sidewalk is to pedestrians in winter, I could not wait to test the material in a more challenging winter conditions like we have here in Alaska,” Yang said. With a generous grant from the Alaska University Transportation Center, their collaboration was born.

This is the second startup company for UAA since it established Zensor™ in April earlier this year.
“Creating our second startup company within a few months of our first illustrates UAA’s upward trend in commercialization and how our research can contribute solutions for local and national needs,” said Wisniewski, who develops and oversees the business infrastructure for commercialization of faculty and student research. This infrastructure led to the establishment of Seawolf Holdings and Seawolf Venture Fund, as well as a world class Board of Directors including corporate CEOs, venture firm partners and entrepreneurs.

Learn more about Yang’s research and the inception of CFT Solutions here.
Read more about Professor Yang’s work here.

For more information about CFT Solutions™, contact Dr. Helena Wisniewski at hswisniewski@uaa.alaska.edu or Dr. Joey Yang at zyang2@uaa.alaska.edu.

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