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China wins Olympic honour for “green” refrigeration

CHINA: Of the nine ice rink venues at the forthcoming Olympic and Paralympic winter games, five are using CO2 refrigeration systems and four using R449A.

According to China’s State Council Information Office, in addition to providing quality ice rinks suitable for respective sports in the competition venues it has stayed true to its commitment to host a green games by being eco-friendly in its ice-making.

The organisers first considered R507, the HFC blend used as a replacement for R502 and R22 in low and medium temperature refrigeration. Although banned in Europe due to its extremely high GWP of 3985, R507 is still widely used elsewhere across the globe.

After looking into global development trends and application of refrigerants, and having discussions with refrigeration and air-conditioning experts at home and abroad, the organisers decided to implement separate ice-making plans with the support of the International Olympic Committee.

China National Aquatics Centre

Venues that need to make and maintain ice all year round, including the National Speed Skating Oval, use CO2. Venues that only occasionally make ice, such as the National Aquatics Centre and the National Indoor Stadium, use traditional refrigerant.

A CO2 transcritical refrigeration system with heat recovery was put forward as an ice-making solution for the National Speed Skating Oval by a panel comprising a dozen academicians of the Chinese Academy of Engineering and Chinese Academy of Sciences, senior experts from domestic refrigeration associations and representatives of the construction team.

According to Song Jiafeng, an engineer with the Oval’s construction team, using CO2 as a refrigerant can increase ice-making efficiency by 30% and save around 2,000,000kW of electricity per year.

When it comes to venues that only need occasional ice-making, the National Aquatics Centre, the National Indoor Stadium and the Wukesong Sports Centre, the Beijing 2022 organisers had discussions with equipment suppliers, engineers and service providers and decided on R449A, a blend refrigerant with a GWP of 1282.

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