GEA Ammonia Chillers Deliver 52% Energy Savings at Ice Stadium
The Netherlands’ Thialf ice stadium was refurbished in 2016. (Source: GEA)

GEA Ammonia-Based Chillers Deliver 52% Energy Savings at Dutch Ice Stadium

The four chillers deliver a total cooling capacity of roughly 3MW (853TR) to the site’s five ice rinks.

The installation of four ammonia/NH(R717)-based chillers from German manufacturer GEA Heating and Refrigeration Technologies at Thialf ice stadium in Heerenveen, the Netherlands, has reduced the sports arena’s energy consumption by 52%, according to a statement from GEA.

The stadium’s refrigeration system comprises two screw compressor-driven chillers and two piston compressor-driven chillers, each with an air- and a water-cooled condenser, said the manufacturer.

The upgraded system, which was commissioned in October 2015, delivers roughly 3MW (853TR) in cooling capacity to the site’s five ice rinks, totaling approximately 11,000m2 (118,400ft2) in ice surface.

The four ammonia-based chillers from GEA deliver roughly 3MW in cooling capacity.
The four ammonia-based chillers from GEA deliver roughly 3MW in cooling capacity.

The chillers supply -18°C (-0.4°F) brine to the stadium’s 400x12m (1,312x39ft) speed-skating rink and 60x30m (197x98ft) short-track rink and -15°C (5°F) brine to its 333x5m (1,092x16ft) training rink, 60x30m hockey rink and 30x30m recreation rink.

According to GEA, warm water is also efficiently supplied by water-cooled oil coolers, condensers and desuperheaters.

In addition to ammonia chillers, GEA also manufactures heat pump technologies using the natural refrigerant.

Sustainable re-development

Built in 1966, the Thialf ice stadium was refurbished in 2016 with the goal of offering better facilities, reducing energy consumption and transitioning to a more environmentally-friendly refrigeration system that aligns with new regulations, explained GEA.

“[We were] invited to share [ideas] for a more efficient, sustainable and forward-thinking facility and to propose a low-energy refrigeration solution that would promise the highest COP and offer the best ice quality,” added the manufacturer.

The ammonia-based refrigeration plant designed by GEA and Thialf replaced the site’s existing system that used R507, which has a 100-year GWP of 3,985.

In addition to being significantly more climate friendly, the ammonia system uses far less energy and demonstrates much better COP compared to the previous plant, explained GEA.

“[We want] to be an icon in the field of sustainability,” said Thialf.

With the upgraded ammonia refrigeration system, the stadium has surpassed its original goal of 50%.

Other upgrades implemented at the sports arena to improve energy performance include a heat pump, more than 5,000 solar panels, wall insulation and energy-efficient LED lighting.

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