Beijer Ref China, a subsidiary of Swedish manufacturer Beijer Ref, has won the bid to supply a transcritical CO2 ice rink system for speed and figure skating at the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics in China.

The system, manufactured at Beijer Ref’s factory in Wuxi, China, will be installed this month at the Beijing Capital Indoor Stadium, Henry Cao, Sales Manager for Beijer Ref China, told this website.

The system consists of two transcritical CO2 racks and will provide 1.1MW (312.8TR) of cooling capacity with a coefficient of performance (COP) of 2.8. It also includes 3-stage heat reclaim, which drives the cooling and heating COP to 6.6. “The high system efficiency is achieved through optimal design of the 2-stage CO2 booster racks with a customized energy-efficiency control system by Beijer Ref China,” said Cao.

Beijer Ref has already installed several transcritical CO2 systems in China over the past few years. In the past year, it installed a CO2 booster rack for training purposes at its China Academy in Wuxi. It also delivered an SCM Frigo (a Beijer Ref subsidiary) transcritical CO2 rack for training at U.S.-based OEM Emerson’s innovation and research center in Suzhou.

SCM Frigo also supplied the transcritical CO2 system installed in a METRO China wholesale store in Beijing in 2018 – the first store to be fitted with a transcritical CO2 system in China.

“The Beijer Ref China team have been working hard to bring CO2 solutions to the market in China, and having been awarded this [Olympics] project shows the confidence the customer has in our team and solution,” said Inderpal Saund, Business Development Manager APAC for Beijer Ref.

“We see that over the past year there has been more interest shown not only in China but across the APAC region as a whole in natural refrigerant solutions,” Saund added. “It is a slow journey but the key is that contractors, end users and consultants are thinking about green solutions. The impact of such a project is that it gives the industry confidence that CO2 and other green solutions are the way of the future.”

Cao also confirmed that another transcritical CO2 system is set to be commissioned this October in Hong Kong.

“A 500kW (142.17TR) transcritical CO2 system with heat recovery made by SCM Frigo is currently being prepared to be commissioned next month in Hong Kong. The rack was delivered in January of this year for an ice rink located in a shopping center.” Additional details on this installation will be supplied after commissioning, said Cao.

There were, however, a number of challenges faced during the Beijing Capital Indoor Stadium project, said Cao. These included the lack of availability of components as well as the need for more investment in manufacturing and testing facilities for transcritical CO2 systems.

“In China, there are very few parts available for transcritical CO2 systems,” said Cao. “So we needed to import most of the parts from Europe. In addition, the much higher pressures of transcritical CO2 systems demand that manufacturing and testing facilities be updated accordingly – which means an investment has to be made to enter this industry.”

In addition, the COVID-19 pandemic “slowed down the cold chain business” in China, said Cao. “Temporarily, we have seen a drop in interest in the requirement of transcritical CO2 systems, especially in commercial and food retail,” said Cao.

“However, the cold chain is one of the important segments in the government’s economic recovery plan, so there will be a chance for CO2 as a green technology to share in these benefits.”

The Beijing 2022 Organizing Committee announced its plan to use CO2 refrigeration systems for several ice venues in the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics in June of last year.

CO2 systems will be used in the Beijing 2022 speed skating, figure skating and short track venues, as well as the ice hockey training venues, according to the website. R449 will be used in the ice hockey and curling venues.

In May of this year, it was announced that Qingdao Haier Carrier Refrigeration Equipment Company Ltd., a joint venture established in 2001 by Qingdao, China-based Haier Group and U.S.-based Carrier, won the bid to supply a transcritical CO2 ice-making system for the new National Speed Skating Oval which is scheduled to be completed in October of this year.

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