Credit: Alaska Journal of Commerce, Naomi Klouda
An incontrovertible fact of Alaska life means black ice can spin cars out of control and winter snow dumps take up precious asphalt space meant for cars.
At least, that’s the accepted normal.
A new invention market-tested by University of Alaska Anchorage professor Joey Yang shows promise for help. Called Tundra Tape, it’s a technology buried in concrete that melts ice before it has a chance to form on sidewalks, parking lot pads and highway corners known as the most egregious culprits of black ice.
Tundra Tape, now with a $75,000 private investment infusion from the Alaska Accelerator Fund, is being marketed under the newly formed Arctic Heat Technologies Inc., formerly called CFT (Carbon Fiber Tape) Solutions.
Yang formed CFT in 2013 as a startup, but found as a full-time engineering professor he couldn’t also serve as a full-time CEO. His invention had turned into a business idea and in order to have a go at market success, it would need a new corporate structure.
The new investment allows just that: a business infrastructure to respond to market demands. Now construction contractors and others will be able to order Tundra Tape kits for specific projects.
“People were calling me left and right,” Yang said.
Even with a graduate student’s assistance, he wasn’t able to respond to the market inquiries that flooded in over the past two years.
Under the new corporate structure, Tim Allen will be president of Arctic Heat Technologies. He brings worldwide industrial product and marketing experience.
The initial board of directors will include Yang and University of Alaska Anchorage Vice Provost Helena Wisniewski along with Forrest Nabors, University of Alaska Anchorage assistant professor and Alaska Accelerator Fund member, and Carl Swanson, accelerator fund investor, who recently retired from Davis Constructors.
In this Aug. 28, 2017 photo, University of Alaska Anchorage professor Joey Yang, holds a sample of his Tundra Tape invention, which just received a $75,000 boost from the Alaska Accelerator Fund at the engineering building on the UAA campus in Anchorage. Tundra Tape is a woven carbon fiber that conducts heat to keep surfaces clear of ice and snow. The woven carbon fiber of Tundra Tape has a longer life that traditional water or glycol pumping systems to keep walkways clear in winter months. (Naomi Klouda/Alaska Journal of Commerce) The Associated Press