TEKO’s CO2 rack provides refrigeration for the outdoor ice rink in Auron, France. (Source: TEKO)
TEKO’s CO2 rack provides refrigeration for the outdoor ice rink in Auron, France. (Source: TEKO)

French Ice Rink Expects Up to 35% Energy Savings with CO2 Compared to R404A

Waste heat from the R744-based chiller, manufactured by German OEM TEKO, will also be recovered for space heating and hot water.

The operator of an outdoor ice skating rink in Auron, France, can expect to reduce its energy costs by 25–35% after replacing its R404A-based chiller with a CO2 (R744) alternative, German OEM TEKO, the new system’s manufacturer, told R744.com.

In addition to providing refrigeration for the rink’s ice sheet via a glycol loop at −9 to −12°C (15.8 to 10.4°F), the 350kW (99.5TR)-capacity direct expansion CO2 chiller also supplies the facility with space heating and hot water from reclaimed waste heat, the company added.

The system, which includes compressor skids, condensers and evaporators customized by TEKO, was installed by contractor Clauger France in November 2023.

“Installation is not always straightforward, especially concerning space requirements,” says TEKO in a LinkedIn post. “Our technical experts have, as usual, done an excellent job by modernizing the ice rink’s refrigeration system. A big thank you to everyone involved for their hard work and collaboration.”

Heat recovery

According to the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF)’s Guide to Sustainable Ice Arenas, which was authored by Swedish refrigeration consultancy Energi & Kylanalys (EKA), optimizing heat recovery from an ice rink’s refrigeration system is a top priority for making facilities more sustainable.

“The largest energy savings potential can often be found in optimizing the heat recovery from the refrigeration system and therefore minimizing the demand for a supplemental heat source,” the guide explained. “In most cases this also implies that the ice rink owner benefits from an increased economic performance of the facility.”

Similar results have been seen at an Olympic-sized ice skating rink in Caen-la-Mer, France, and at an indoor ice rink in Pirkkala, Finland, where a CO2 rack with two-stage heat recovery has helped to reduce electricity demand by 34% compared to the previous R404-based system.

NatRef ice rinks

In addition to improving the energy efficiency of a refrigeration system, the environmental impact of an ice rink’s refrigerant is also becoming an increasingly important decision, according to the IIHF guide.

A number of options are available; however, CO2 and ammonia (R717) are the “optimum” choice for primary refrigerants, it added.

“Some [industrial refrigeration contractors] advocate renovations with ammonia and others with CO2,” Yann Pesando, President of the National Skating Rink Union in France, explained to R744.com. “Each technology has its specificities, which cannot be adapted to all rinks. For each ice rink, a precise study must be produced before a decision is made on the chosen solution.”

Ammonia has been used for ice rink refrigeration, as well as other industrial applications, for decades. However, concerns around toxicity can limit its adoption in some situations.

CO2 technologies are relatively new in this application, with the first fully CO2 refrigeration system installed at an ice arena in Gimo, Sweden, in 2014. However, due to its non-flammable and non-toxic properties, it is growing in popularity as synthetic alternatives are phased out. Thanks to its heat recovery potential, CO2 can often be the most energy- and cost-efficient option.

Propane (R290) has also become more popular in recent years, but concerns around flammability have limited its adoption.

Recent News


Go to top