The Big Skate: Hillphoenix helps U.S. ice rink go green with CO2 refrigerant

By Justina Tamasiunaite, Oct 22, 2015, 11:28 2 minute reading

The GUIDE to Natural Refrigerants in North America – State of the Industry 2015 showcases a success story of using CO2 refrigerant for an ice rink system in the U.S.

Following a nine month renovation and installation of a CO2-based ice rink refrigeration system from Hillphoenix, ice skaters and ice hockey players now enjoy ice skating in the U.S.’s first ice rink to be cooled with an R744 transcritical system at the Harry J. McDonald Recreational Center in Anchorage, Alaska.

The newly transformed ice rink was built in the 1980s and its old Freon-based system was in need of a complete makeover, as the aging technology experienced refrigerant leaks and rising maintenance costs.

“Trying something new was smart, environmentally friendly and efficient,” said John Rodda, Parks & Recreation Director for Anchorage, Alaska.

What’s different about the Direct Transcritical CO2 system?

Some of the benefits of the Hillphoenix Advansor Direct Transcritical CO2  system for ice rinks include:

  • Improved ice quality and pump power savings of up to 90% compared to traditional systems
  • CO2 is an entirely nontoxic, environmentally safe refrigerant with excellent heat-transfer capabilities
  • Much higher coefficient of performance (COP) than that of ammonia-calcium chloride systems
  • Waste heat recovery provides a heating source for the entire facility including indoor areas, locker rooms and utility water

“We’re already seeing savings, and we’re anticipating energy savings of 25 percent to 40 percent when all the results are in,” said John Rodda, Parks & Recreation Director for Anchorage, Alaska. “From what I’ve seen in a short period of time, we made the right decision in
 choosing CO2”.

CO2 gaining traction in industrial applications

It is envisaged that after this success story, more ice skating facilities will opt for natural refrigerants, as most ice rinks in the U.S. still use HCFC-22. Ice skating facilities, among others, now have a five-year gap to change to low-GWP refrigerants because in 2020 production and importation of HCFC-22 will be banned in the U.S. Therefore, ice skating rinks across North America should soon start to upgrade their facilities to greener and more climate friendly solutions such as CO2.

About Hillphoenix

Hillphoenix designs and manufactures commercial refrigerated display cases and specialty products, refrigeration systems, integrated power distribution systems and walk-in coolers and freezers. Its environmental improvements in alternative refrigerants and energy efficiency have helped take more than 2 billion pounds of harmful emissions out of the atmosphere since 1996. Today, Hillphoenix leads the industry with its second nature line of alternative refrigeration systems, which includes glycol, CO2 and ammonia-based systems.

The GUIDE to Natural Refrigerants in North America – State of the Industry 2015

The GUIDE to Natural Refrigerants in North America – State of the Industry 2015 was published by Brussels-based market accelerator shecco. It is a comprehensive market report that provides an update on the market, policy and technology developments on natural refrigerants in North America.

To learn more, read the GUIDE North America here.


By Justina Tamasiunaite

Oct 22, 2015, 11:28

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