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GEA – First for Leisure Applications

Snowball fights in the summer and skiing in the desert – GEA Refrigeration Technologies makesall of this possible. GEA systems keep leisure athletes on the go and make it easy for winter-sport pros to train beyond their season.

And GEA assures just the right cold in zoos and theme parks – for example, for penguins and polar bears.


Artificial Ski Slopes

Mild winters mean lean business for many skiing centers. Especially smaller hotels are hardly able to financially survive a poor winter season. Our solution: if you can’t depend on the weather, then depend on the snow cannons of GEA Refrigeration Technologies.

They assure realistic snowfalls, even when Father Frost decides not to help.GEA Refrigeration Technologies has equipped the indoor ski slope in Moscow – the Moscow Snowdome – with three snow cannons from the Snowline range by Geneglace (SL 50 Snowline). These cannons, mounted on containers, produce 150 m3 of snow daily.

GEA Refrigeration Technologies has made a name for itself as specialist for the production of industrially used flake ice – and has employed this profound know-how in the production of artificial snow as well. After all, this snow actually consists of crushed ice – without any additives. This ice is produced in advance and is stockpiled in heaps near the indoor ski slopes. When the slope is not being used, the artificial snow is blown under great pressure through a flexible hose up to a distance of 100 m to the required places: for example, in order to compensate for unevenness or to prepare the slope for a new session. The best of all here: it does not have to be really cold for these snow cannons to properly function.

Snowline also functions at temperatures above freezing – whether indoors or out. At a Belgian ski resort near Brussels, professional snowboarders and skiers have tested Snowline snow at summer outdoor temperatures of 20 °C. They were excited over the natural loveliness and the good quality of the artificial snow. The SL 50 Snowline snow cannon produces from 50 to 55 m3 of snow per day – output that suffices to cover an area of 1,000 m2 with 20 cm of snow in three to four days. Likewise, in the Japanese ski region of Utopia Saioto, GEA snow cannons guarantee a perfect and long skiing season. Indoors or outside in the open, Snowline produces the same results even beyond the winter season: “Great conditions for skiing and tobogganing.”
Artificial cold as a factor of fun: we’ll let it snow for you – indoors or outside in the open, regardless of the temperature.

Refrigeration technology for ice stadiums

The history of ice rinks proves that developers at GEA Refrigeration Technologies always have a new innovation up their sleeves. In 1961, the first 400-meter ice rink of the Netherlands was opened and named for the famous Dutch speed skater Jaap Eden. It was designed and built by GEA Refrigeration Technologies.

It was the first rink in the world to be cooled by a direct system in which liquid ammonia (NH3) evaporates in a network of steel pipes embedded in concrete. At that time, it represented an enormous energy saving of 22 to 25 % over the conventional indirect ice systems that used the refrigerant R22. The new cooling system was furthermore really impressive by providing a skating surface with especially uniform temperatures prevailing over the ice. The basic benefits of such systems mean that they are still in use today.In 2004 GEA scored an additional technical triumph: our engineering team converted the cooling system at the 400-m open-air round Kennemerland Rink in Haarlem, the Netherlands (built in the 1970s), to a modern system with liquid carbon dioxide.

This created an additional, highly advanced ice surface. Our experienced technicians even succeeded in this modernization project to save time and money: they kept the old steel pipes, pumps, evaporative condensers, and piston compressors for further use, and added the required technology. The additional systems included an ammonia-carbon dioxide cascade condenser and a compressor.The Dutch have of course cultivated ice skating as a cultural tradition for centuries now, so it is not surprising that we can call attention to another of our reference projects in the Netherlands: the Eindhoven IJssportcentrum with an ice surface of 8,400 m2, which offers three ice rinks – two covered rinks and one 400 meter half-covered rink, in addition to a heated ice-hockey hall with a playing surface of 30 x 60 m. A special attraction here is the largest Disco on Ice in the country, open on weekends.

Seven GEA Grasso compressor with a total rating of 2.8 MW assure effective cooling of the ice surfaces. Ammonia is the refrigerant for the round skating areas, with glycol used under the ice-hockey surface. Heat exchangers lower the surface to a temperature of – 12 °C there. It was not difficult for the contracting parties to decide for GEA: our good customer relations with them have existed for decades now. And reliable and prompt GEA services speaks for itself

Refrigeration technology for top snow quality

Skiing in the desert at 40 °C in the shade? No problem with that, thanks to professional refrigeration technology. Ski Dubai, the first Ski Dome of the Middle East, lies in the center of Dubai, United Arab Emirates. The snow surface of 22,500 m² offers five ski slopes, with varying heights and slopes. The longest is 400 m.

This means that beginners, more advanced skiers, and pros all get what they expect. Newcomers can even reserve a course in the ski school. For snowboarders, the 90-m halfpipe assures sufficient excitement. For more serene activities, the Snow Park offers, for example, snowman building and sledding. It’s not only the slopes that excite the visitors, but also the individual charm of the skiing facilities with their natural landscapes, including tall trees and a snow cave. In addition, the guests to the Dubai Ski Dome can expect everything that goes to make up a sophisticated winter-sport facility: e.g., cafés and restaurants for the après-ski scene.

Those looking for a suitable outfit can buy one just next door in the shopping center.Outstanding insulation is of course necessary in light of the extreme temperature differences between indoors and out. The indoor ski slope has walls five meters thick and amounts to one giant refrigerator. The refrigeration technology is just as carefully thought out: three GEA Grasso screw compressor form the key components of the entire refrigeration plant. They assure a temperature of – 1 °C that enable young and old to move about briskly and forget the roasting heat of their everyday world outside. To save energy, a computer-supported control system adapts the cooling output exactly to momentary requirements.After midnight, it begins to snow, as if guided by an invisible hand. But GEA is behind it all: 29 GEA air coolers, with a total cooling duty of 2,600 kW, lower the temperature inside the Ski Dome to – 10 °C. The water blown out of 21 snow cannons crystallizes in the icy air to provide 30 tons of fresh snow – each and every day. Melt water is collected and used for climate-control of the adjacent mall and for watering the plants.A further reference project of GEA Refrigeration Technologies is the SnowWorld indoor ski center in Landgraaf, the Netherlands.

Just as at Ski Dubai, SnowWorld offers a special feature: the center offers an official FIS racing slope on which World Cup ski racing as well as the Snowboard World Cup (2010) have taken place. Here, the quality of the slope has top priority – and this means that the refrigeration systems must assure a temperature of – 6 °C. If the temperature is higher, snow quality deteriorates; if it is lower, users become unsure. The snow is produced at – 15 °C by spraying water into the air at high pressure. The operators, SnowWorld Leisure N.V., contracted GEA Refrigeration Technologies to upgrade the existing refrigeration plant to the state of the art, so as to be prepared for upcoming races. It was a special challenge to integrate the heat pump for the adjacent new four-star hotel SnowWorld into the overall plant. This heat pump not only serves heating purposes: it also provides, day after day, hot water for the hotel guests – every day at the same temperature.

Ice machines for zoos and theme parks

Children love to go to zoos and animal gardens. And adults have their fun as well in observing domestic or exotic animals and to take a little chance to relax. Entirely apart from the fun factor, zoos are important institutions, since they serve to breed and research rare animals.

This is reason enough for GEA Refrigeration Technologies to contribute to their well-being with effective refrigeration technology – for example, at the nature theme park Océanopolis in France. Océanopolis is located adjacent to the port of Brest and – in entertaining yet educational manner – acquaints its visitors with oceanic fauna and flora from various climate zones of the earth. The adventure world at Océanopolis centers on the various oceans and is broken down into exhibition areas for tropical, moderate, and polar seas.

Our F90V im GEA Geneglace flake-ice machines are in operation in the polar section, where they produce up to 3.5 tons of ice daily. The ice machine at Océanopolis produces the flake ice as needed. An ice storage area with a capacity of 4 tons serves as a buffer between ice production and consumption. The two GEA units are located in a machine room 40 m from the penguin area, so that the operational noise does not disturb them. A pneumatic conveyor system – also by GEA – assures plentiful ice supply: the ice moves to the penguins through a 40-m pipe with an internal diameter of 50 mm.

This arrangement enhances ice quality, since during transport the ice flakes rub against each other and break into smaller pieces. Once it arrives at the penguin section, the ice is fine enough for the penguins to comfortably walk over it. The penguins at Océanopolis appear to enjoy the quality of the ice: their physical activity and their numerous offspring are surely evidence that these animals feel at home in Brittany, despite the mild climate there.

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