Mike Ossian opens a freezer that is part of the development process for Ossian Inc.'s new patent Fusion, Wednesday, August 12, 2009. Fusion is a de-icing agent based from sugar beets that can de-ice streets and walkways. (Crista Chapman/QUAD-CITY TIMES) Crista Chapman

Davenport ice melt manufacturer Ossian Inc. has been awarded a patent on a product that is considered a major breakthrough for municipalities in the U.S. snowbelt.

Mike Ossian, whose father, Ken, bought the Davenport business 36 years ago, said the new product, called Fusion, is "huge" in his business.

"Fusion is a degraded sugar beet-based de-icer that is used in a variety of liquid formulations for de-icing roads and sidewalks," Mike Ossian said. "It has also been used as a coating agent to improve the melting performance of dry salts. It is a bio-based product that is environmentally friendly and has recently received bio-preferred status from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

"Fusion has been a viable product for a few years. No one else can make the exact product. We have our own lab here. We do more ice-melt testing here in Davenport than any other private lab in the United States."

Ossian said when sugar beets are processed, sugar is extracted for all sorts of products. Also produced is a waste stream that can be used in ice-melting products. He said sugar beets have been used in anti-icing and de-icers for years. However, the new patent improves that process.

He said an anti-icer is applied to roadways as a winter storm approaches. A de-icer is used after snow or ice is on the roadway.

The improved sugar beet material makes it safer for crews to get on the road after precipitation begins. It also saves money because less salt is needed.

Ossian Inc. is located at 635 S. Elmwood Ave., Davenport, but is in the process of a move and expansion in Walcott, Iowa.

The company purchased 88 acres of land near a rail line on the east side of Walcott. The initial plan is to develop 10 acres and eventually use up to 50 acres for the facility.