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 been a traditional sport for hundreds of years.

GEA designed and built the country’s first 400-meter ice rink, which opened in 1961 and named after the famous Dutch speed skater Jaap Eden. The Jaap Eden rink was also the first 400-meter rink anywhere in the world to be cooled by a direct system of evaporation of liquid ammonia (NH3) in a network of steel pipes. At that time, the direct system enabled about a 25% energy savings compared to conventional indirect systems that used the refrigerant R22 to cool brine or glycol.

In 2004, GEA then converted the NH3 direct cooling system at the 400-meter rink Kennemerland in Haarlem, Netherlands, to a modern system using carbon dioxide (CO2) in the rink tubes. It was the first 400-meter rink in the world using to use this technology.

The Jaap Eden rink once again turned to GEA, in 2017, to transform the facility to an indirect system because of stronger environmental rules. Now there is only a low ammonia charge in the engine room and the evaporative condenser. GEA provided the solution, which uses Alkali (ammonium hydroxide) as a secondary refrigerant — a first for a 400-meter rink. This approach allowed the existing rink pipes already in place in the concrete slab to be reused, avoiding what would be a significant expense if, for example, glycol or brine — which requires larger diameter piping tubes — was used as the secondary refrigerant.