The Hot Topic of Ice Rinks

Ice skating has become a popular sport over recent years, and GEA's advanced, reliable and energy-saving refrigeration technology is at the very foundation of some of the world's most innovative ice rinks.

GEA solutions for ice stadiums

Nowhere is GEA’s technological expertise in this field more evident than in the Netherlands, where ice skating has for hundreds of years been a traditional sport.

GEA designed and built the country’s first 400 meter ice rink, which was opened in 1961 and named after the famous Dutch speed skater Jaap Eden. The Jaap Eden rink was also the first 400 meters rink anywhere in the world to be cooled by a direct system that is based on the evaporation of liquid ammonia (NH3) in a network of steel pipes. At that time, the direct system enabled a 2225% saving of energy when compared with conventional indirect ice systems that used the refrigerant R22. It also provided a skating surface with a uniform temperature. The main concepts behind the system are still in use today, although in 1989 smaller diameter pipes were installed, which reduced the amount of ammonia required by 50%.

In 2004 it was again a GEA engineering team that converted the cooling system at the 400 meters open-air round Kennemerland Rink in Haarlem, which was originally built in the 1970s, to a modern system that uses liquid carbon dioxide. This created an additional, highly advanced ice surface. The experienced GEA technicians even managed to save time and money in this modernization project by retaining the existing steel pipes, pumps, evaporative condensers, and piston compressors for further use, and adding in the required technology. The additional systems included an ammonia-carbon dioxide cascade condenser and a compressor.

And as one more example, consider the Eindhoven IJssportcentrum, which has three rinks, a heated ice hockey hall, and an ice surface of 8,400 square meters. This facility features seven GEA compressors with a total rating of 2.8 megawatts. The site uses ammonia as the refrigerant for the round skating areas, with glycol used under the ice-hockey surface.