Low GWP refrigerants for Olympic ice rinks in China
For the Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games in Beijing, nine ice rinks are used. five use CO2 as a refrigerant, and four use R449A.
The Beijing Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games required the creation of new structures or the development of existing ones.
Nine ice rinks are used for the running of the ice events: figure skating, ice dancing, hockey, speed skating are among the many disciplines involved.
Five new ice rinks were built. The organising committee of the games chose to use CO2 (R744) as the refrigerant in these new ice rinks. With a GWP of 1, CO2 is an eco-friendly solution.
The heat generated by the ice making process can be recycled, which increases the energy efficiency of the rink.
Four older ice rinks, which more occasionally require ice making, are also used for these Olympic Games. They have so far used R404A as a refrigerant, which has a GWP of 4200. The organising committee initially considered using R507, but its high GWP of 4300 ultimately steered them towards another refrigerant, R449A (mixture of R-32/125/1234yf/134a), which has a GWP of 1400.
Since 2019 and these choices made by the organising committee, several other Chinese ice rinks have been equipped with transcritical CO2 systems, which represents an interesting environmental advance for winter sports in China.