A few weeks ago, I had a chat with an operations manager who told me there are three products on the market that are game changers for ice making: Zamboni FastIce, REALice Cold Water Resurfacing System* and Level-Ice. And, with last week’s BluEco announcement, I would venture that list has been expanded to four.
From ice-resurfacer manufacturer Zamboni comes FastIce – an add-on for ice resurfacers that builds ice — fast! It has a high-pressure pump that connects to a series of spray nozzles to deliver a fine mist of hot water that freezes on contact with the ice. According to the FastIce brochure, “(The) ice can be maintained at a lesser thickness, resulting in significant energy savings.”
The Flash Freeze spraying system replaces the traditional flood pipe and spreader cloth of standard resurfacers, and it comes with an onboard computer and data retrieval and management system so you know everything you need to about the system. Zamboni has a 2:00 video on their website, but I prefer the one below because you can really see the misting effect.
REALice Cold Water Resurfacing Technology
REALice removes the inherent micro air bubbles from the water, so cold water can be used instead of hot for resurfacing. Because the treated water results in a more durable, denser ice, the energy savings go far beyond just heating the water. Because the resurfacing water freezes faster, a brine temperature reset from 3-5F higher will need to be done — and that is where the HUGE energy savings are.
REALice comes from Sweden and it’s a great example of fluid dynamics. It works using the water pressure at the arena to have an effect on the micro air bubbles that are inherent in the water — and the calc that is in it too. It’s an extremely easy install, and maintenance-free to boot, with no filters, membranes or chemicals needed.
The video below was put together by Tacoma Public Utilities, an electric utility in Washington State, that offered incentives to Tacoma Twin Rinks for installing REALice. REALice is eligible for incentives from many public utilities because of the energy savings, which vary from arena to arena depending on usage and ice making practices, but a busy year-round single pad should be able to reduce their yearly electricity consumption by around 75,000 kWh and by around 5,000 Therms/15,000 m3 of Natural Gas.
If your ice is uneven, your refrigeration plant is working overtime to keep the thick parts cold. That’s where Latec’s Level-Ice can really help, eliminating uneven ice and operator error. The Level-Ice is an add-on for any brand of ice resurfacer that lets all operators precision-shave the ice.
Level-Ice uses laser technology to automatically control the blade on the conditioner as it moves around the ice, gathering coordinates from fixed markers set around the arena. Because a consistent ice thickness is delivered, Level-Ice reduces the amount of energy, water and time needed to maintain the ice.
Arena owners AEG have been beta testing the BluEco Liquid Crystalline Turbex™ System for the past two years and announced their results, and the companies’ partnership, last week. The BluEco system is an add-on to any HVAC system, purifying the air and removing the water from it so it can be used for the resurfacing water to make ice.
“How much water?” you may ask? For AEG’s Staples Arena, the home of the LA Kings and the LA Lakers (NBA), BluEco says it can recuperate up to half a million gallons of water a year for resurfacing — and make the environment comfortable for the fans too.
Here’s a clip that ABC News uploaded onto YouTube with Scott Morris, the MD of BluEco, and Luc Robitaille, President of the AEG-owned LA Kings, talking about the technology and the results.
Other Game Changers?
Have you seen other game changers that should be included on this list? If so, I want to hear from you. Drop me a line – firstname.lastname@example.org
* Disclaimer from Colleen O’Shea – In addition to publishing Re-Surfacing.com, I sell REALice in both Canada and the USA — so if you’d like to explore REALice at your arena, give me a shout. When I first had my arena energy-wasting eureka at a Pee Wee hockey tournament three years ago, I’ve been promoting energy-saving methods for indoor arenas ever since. The truth is I sell REALice, but I support you with whatever products and methodologies you use to lower your energy spend to keep the cost of ice sports down for hockey parents, municipalities, and owners.