Although CO2 systems are still a relatively new technology for ice rinks, innovative arena owners are showing increasing interest in these systems for their low environmental impact and minimal refrigerant toxicity. With an international phase down of HCFCs already underway, and HFCs next in line to be regulated, managers of refrigeration systems are looking for future-proof solutions that will not face new restrictions.

With over 15 years of experience and their own testing facility and in-house lab, the company has a strong track record in the successful implementation of CO2 systems in commercial refrigeration, and now also in ice arenas.

Benefits of the using CO2 systems for ice rink installations

Systemes LMP has installed their CRYSTAL unit at an ice arena with two ice rinks, one that is 200’ by 85’ (61m by 26m) with a spectator capacity of 200 people, used all year round, and one that is 200’ by 85’ (61m by 26m) with a spectator capacity of 500, used only seasonally.

The installed CO2 system provides the following benefits:

  • Lower installation costs than R717
  • No stationary engineer is required (based on capacity & state regulations)
  • No evaporative or cooling towers are needed
  • The large amount of heat rejection can be used for heat recovery

In addition to these benefits, a CanmetEnergy comparative study showed that COhad the highest COP (3.9) of all the refrigeration systems used in Canadian ice rinks. Systemes LMP themselves say that their CO2 systems enable customers to achieve the lowest operating costs and get some of the quickest returns on investment.

Another advantage is the low cost of CO2. In 2014 the cost of CO2 was estimated at around $2/ lbs (€1.5/ 0.5kg), compared to R22 and R404A, which cost around $20/ lbs (€14.7/ 0.5kg) in 2014, and whose prices are expected to rise to over $80/ lbs (€58.8/ 0.5kg) and $30/ lbs (€22/ 0.5kg) in 2020 respectively.

Specifications of the CO2 CRYSTAL unit ice arena installation

The installed ice arena CO2 system is similar to a traditional two stage system: subcritical compressors discharge into medium temperature compressors, so the heat rejected by the low temperature compressors is absorbed by the medium temperature compressors. This reduces the pressure ratio of the compressors by more than 50%.

The Systemes LMP ice arena CO2 rack has the following features:

  • Shell-n-tube heat exchangers for brine cooling
  • Capable of maintaining ice temperature at 19.4°F (-7°C)
  • Capable of maintaining 1 1/4” (3.2cm) ice thickness on both rinks
  • Capable of supplying 100% heat reclaim utlising preheated water and air
  • Typical transcritical discharge pressure – 1,200 psig
  • Typical working suction pressure – 308 psig
  • 150 tons capacity, at 10.4°F (-12°C) evaporative temperature, 95°F (35°C) condensing
  • Over 1 million BTUs heat rejection available

Financial support by MELS and BEIE for switching to CO2

For ice rink owners that plan to switch refrigeration systems from R22 to alternatives such as CO2, Quebec offers financial support. As part of the Ministère de l’Education, du Loisir et du Sport (MELS) objective to fight climate change it offers up to 50% of permissible costs, up to a maximum of $700,000, for a single rink to replace or modify refrigeration systems using R12 or R22 to ammonia or CO2.

Under the Program for the optimisation of refrigeration systems (OPTER), the Bureau de l’Efficacité et de l’Innovation Energétique du Québec (BEIE) also offers financial support to owners of facilities who wish to improve their refrigeration system. The financing is proportional to the amount of greenhouse gas emission reduction (GHG) that a new ice rink or curling club system can achieve, and the contribution is 50% of the permissible costs with a maximum incentive of $60,000.

About Systemes LMP

Based in Canada, Systemes LMP, a leader in commercial and industrial refrigeration, manufactures one of the most adaptable transcritical refrigeration solutions on the market. The technology can be adapted for tailor-made solutions to fit specific customer needs. One of the companies priorities is environmental sustainable, which is why Systemes LMP employs the natural refrigerant CO2 in several modules and emphasises energy efficiency for all its products.

In 2014 Systemes LMP entered into an agreement with Hussmann, a leading manufacturer of display cases and refrigeration systems, to license its CO2 refrigeration technology for products sold overseas and in the U.S.


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