How the Snow Dragon Works - a machine for digesting huge mountains of snow in urban areas

by | Feb 4, 2011 11:16 AM ET

Imagine that you are a city manager in one of the cities that have experienced huge amounts of snow this winter. The problem with snow in urban areas is that, in order to get the snow off the streets, you have to put it somewhere. In suburbs and rural areas you can simply plow or blow the snow off to the side of the road. But with heavy snow in a city, the "side of the road" is often a row of parked cars, and then the sidewalk.

So in many urban areas, the snow gets moved with front end loaders either into huge mountains of snow in parks, parking lots and vacant lots, or it gets put into dump trucks and shipped somewhere else.

In this kind of situation, there is now a new tool. It is called the Snow Dragon, and it gives city managers another option. A Snow Dragon (and machines like it from other manufacturers) are giant, snow-melting machines that will melt snow on the spot. You can see one of the machines in action here, along with the mountains of snow common in an urban area:

This video mentions that Snow Dragons cost about $300 per hour to operate. Compared to trucking the snow, that's a small price to pay. This video mentions that one Snow Dragon costs about $250,000, burns 40 to 50 gallons of Diesel fuel per hour to generate the heat, and can process 30 tons of snow per hour.

Here you can see the snow-melting system - hot water sprays on the snow to quickly melt it:

Other companies make similar systems as seen here:

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