UH Startup Receives Patent for Anti-Icing Technology

watch for ice road sign

Winter storm Uri knocked out power to much of Texas back in February of 2021. According to Brian Huskinson, CEO of Elemental Coatings, a UH startup, the loss of output from wind turbines, due to the ice, contributed to the electricity shortage.  

Elemental Coatings is a company housed at the University of Houston Technology Bridge. Elemental Coatings’ focus is an anti-icing coating that helps to minimize ice buildup on different surfaces. At the end of 2021, the company received a patent for their anti-icing technology. 

“It has obvious applications for things like aerospace and wind energy, but we’re also looking at a number of other things like ice buildup on bridges and tunnels and even on HVAC equipment. Basically, anywhere ice buildup is an issue, our product could potentially help make it less of an issue,” Huskinson said. 

This technology can help limit or even eliminate ice buildup on surfaces like wind turbines, aircraft and bridges to avoid problems and safety issues. Currently, Elemental Coatings is working with the U.S. Air Force and Boeing on a project to help reduce any ice buildup on aircraft wings.  

“The goal here is to make the aircraft much easier to prepare for missions during winter weather and reduce the amount of time it takes them to de-ice the aircraft and get them safe to fly,” Huskinson said. 

Houston doesn’t have to deal with ice very often but after the 2021 winter storm, this technology could be useful in the future. At the end of 2021, the company got coatings up on a wind turbine to monitor the performance throughout the winter.  

This test is being conducted in Maryland and, according to Huskinson, if the test is successful, the company could use this technology on turbines in West Texas, which could decrease the chance of another blackout.  

Using this technology, the company is looking for other ways to use it including, anti-scaling and anti-biofouling coatings.