A Swedish technology, REALice, developed in Malmö and already widely applied in Europe, enhances ice for ice rinks by using cold instead of hot water, saving energy in the process and creating a slicker, safer and faster ice surface.
The technology removes air bubbles and changes the viscosity of the water used when laying and resurfacing the ice. This means that ice can be resurfaced with ambient temperature water rather than very hot (60–70 oC) water that is normally used today. By using water with less or no air-bubbles, the ice sheet becomes more compact and harder.
Depending on how a facility is run, the energy savings can be up to 20% – 40%. In a regular size ice rink this would be (average savings per ice sheet, based on 600 liters per resurfacing, 12 x daily, 48 weeks/year):
Natural Gas: 600 – 1000 GJ
Electricity: 50 000 kWh or more
Emissions: 30t – 50t of CO2
REALice, if installed in North America’s 7000+ ice rinks, could save as much as 350-700 Gigawatt hours per year and over 200 000 tons of CO2 emissions.
The system is already installed in more than ten countries in Europe. The Hartwall Arena in Helsinki which hosted the Premier NHL Game Europe 2009, 2010, 2011, Hockey World Championship 2012 and the European Figure Skating Championships 2010 is one of the early adopters. Currently there are only a handful of installations in North America.
The idea behind REALice is to achieve:
Lower energy consumption
Lower compressor loads
Harder, faster and safer ice
Less “snow” created
Reduce lime scale deposits
Greener and cleaner ice
REALice technology is partner to the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF), and it is only a matter of time until this technology will be widely applied in North America, given the increased quality of the ice and the reduction in cost, energy and emissions.
REALice will make the fast moving game of hockey even faster and more exciting – a double edged bargain.
If you would like to learn more about this Swedish innovation please visit www.real-ice.com.