Icephobic coatings could revolutionize aviation and wind power generation industries.

In February 2021, an ice storm and extreme cold weather hit the south-central US resulting in over 4.5 million people being without power for more than a week. Many factors contributed to the power outage, including a lack of winterization of natural gas supply lines. The ice buildup on wind turbines was also a factor in the power failure as wind generation dropped by almost 50% over the entire state of Texas.

Ice and freezing rain are dangers to the aviation industry and limit renewable energy production from wind turbines. Some technologies currently used to mitigate ice buildup include passive heating, which requires energy, and chemical sprays that can lead to environmental damage.

We believe our patent-pending, graphene-based technology can be an environmentally friendly solution to reduce the problem of ice buildup for aviation (including drones) and wind energy applications through a passive icephobic coating. Our proprietary coating enhanced with graphene reduces the adhesive bond at the surface to promote ice removal by aerodynamic, vibration, and other forces.

To date, various Zentek icephobic coatings have been tested at a third-party lab for adhesion strength, as measured by pressure in kilopascals (kPa) required to dislodge ice from the surface. Zentek’s coatings have demonstrated an adhesion strength repeatedly around 20 kPa (results under 100 kPa are considered to demonstrate low adhesion), a significant improvement over the current commercial products. Testing at the National Research Council (NRC) and Anti-icing Materials International Laboratory (AMIL) in Quebec is ongoing.

These initial results have the potential to significantly increase safety for vehicles such as drones, aircraft, ocean vessels, wind turbines, and other applications where, in cold weather climates, there is the potential for ice to accrete on surfaces, causing hazardous breakdowns in function.

With excellent and consistent ice shedding results, Zentek aims to optimize its icephobic coatings and develop additional applications.

Commercial applications of our patent-pending coating could be used in drone technologies allowing for efficient all-weather operation. Other additional applications include powerlines, large wind turbines, ship structures (railings, etc.), and oil rigs, especially in Arctic operations, along with tall buildings where ice buildup could pose a public hazard.