CO2 technology for ice-skating rinks

Nowadays, the use of large amounts of ammonia in public places is restricted by regulations in several countries, for safety reasons. Hence, new skating rinks with direct ammonia systems can no longer be built, although it is thought that they provide a good solution with regards to ice quality and energy consumption when compared with indirect NH3/glycol or brine systems. In 1999, the first ice-skating rink (60 x 30 m) using an NH3/CO2 cascade system was successfully built in Austria and, apparently, energy consumption was only 8 to 10% more than that required by a simple direct NH3 system. Existing rinks with direct NH3 systems with steel tubes can easily be converted to NH3/CO2 systems. This was implemented in Switzerland, where 15 rinks (converted old ones and new ones) featuring this system are now in operation. In Germany, only one rink with this system is in operation and a big ice hockey arena with 3 ice fields is under construction. In The Netherlands, in October 2004, the world's first 400m skating rink using CO2 in the tubes was inaugurated. It was designed and installed by GEA Grenco BV. After a successful pressure test (44 bar) of the existing steel tubes, the work started in April and a new 60 x 30 m ice field was also built. The NH3 charge was decreased from 7000 to 1400 kg and CO2 components were integrated. In the coming years, the use of systems combining CO2 with NH3 in order to build new and convert old ice rinks will most probably increase: natural working fluids in artificial ice rinks!