The Alaska Aces professional ice hockey team is skating on smooth ice this season following the Sullivan Arena’s recent conversion to CO2. After 22 years using the original HCFC-based refrigeration system, the municipality realised it was time for a modern solution.

Contractors spent over a year considering environmentally friendly options before deciding to opt for the Advansor CO2 booster system from Hillphoenix.

Tim Henderson, Industrial Programme Manager at Hillphoenix, explained the reasoning for the municipality’s choice.

“Conventional systems are very slow to react; it’s very slow as ice conditions change,” Henderson said. “The CO2 systems we’re using are direct systems so it’s quick to react to any changes, and that’s why it’s got such good ice quality. It’s difficult to maintain ice quality with a system that has multiple steps of heat exchange, poor heat transfer fluid and materials with poor heat transfer. The CO2 direct system takes a lot of those steps out of the picture.”

News of the installations, expected energy savings of 25-40% and lower maintenance fees have quickly dissipated the idea that the CO2 systems are ‘untested’, with more cities and arenas ready to install these systems in order to comply with the federal phase-out of R22.

“People see that the city has been able to do two (CO2) arenas successfully, and they’re much more willing, now that it’s becoming established.”

With conversions in the pipeline for two more of Anchorage’s arenas – Ben Boeke and Dempsey-Anderson – alongside several projects planned in the lower 48 states, the broader acceptance of the advantages the CO2 technology brings will only grow, according to Henderson.

“We get a lot more enquiries about this technology than before the Anchorage systems were up and running. It’s a slow industry to change, but people are accepting this technology and it’s going to continue to grow in this market.”

Advansor CO2 booster system from Hillphoenix

Both the McDonald Center and Sullivan Arena use the booster system, a direct transcritical CO2 refrigeration system using heat reclaim systems.

Sullivan Arena

  • Designed for 180 tons of refrigeration for a single sheet of ice
  • Single-stage heat reclaim system designed for a maximum temperature of 110°F (43.3°C) and used for the snow melt pit

Harry J. McDonald Recreational Center

  • Designed for a maximum of 130 tons of refrigeration
  • Two-stage heat reclaim system:
    • Stage one produces a maximum of 160°F (71.1°C) water for space heating and heating of potable water
    • Stage two produces a maximum of 95°F (35°C) water used for the snow melt pit 

About Hillphoenix

Hillphoenix Inc., a Dover Company, is a leading designer and manufacturer of commercial and industrial refrigeration systems, integrated power distribution systems, display cases, specialty products, walk-in coolers and freezers. Based in Conyers, Georgia, Hillphoenix is the first American manufacturer of CO2 equipment. The story of Hillphoenix is built on creativity and customer-centric innovation with a commitment to delivering responsible solutions that are efficient, sustainable and comply with the latest industry regulatory standards.


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