The REALice Domino Effect

The REALice Domino Effect

One of the concepts many ice makers have a hard time seeing is the energy-saving domino effect of REALice. Eliminating the need to heat up the water brings additional — and substantial — energy savings, in a few different ways. Here’s how:

Chain Reaction

At the very core of what the REALice System does, it’s replacing an arena’s need to heat up the water in order to make great ice. No matter how you have been heating that water up — using natural gas, electricity or oil — the amount of energy you save from eliminating that need-to-heat is already substantial. When FortisBC ran a pilot project using a REALice System on 10 different single-pad facilities in British Columbia, they verified an average of 350GJ of natural gas savings — per arena, per year.

Those 350GJ is the very first domino, kicking off a chain reaction of additional energy savings.

Less Work for the Ice Plant

By no longer needing to heat up that water to 70°C as many arenas do to get rid of the micro air bubbles that are in the water, your ice plant no longer has to take out so much heat to get it down to freezing temperature — 0°C — and to then crystallize it.

We estimate that it takes 4.2 KJ per litre of water for each degree that you want to cool down to the freezing point — and another 333 KJ to crystallise it. For an NHL-sized arena using 455 litres (120 US gallons) of 70°C water to resurface, it requires 627 KJ/litre. That adds up to 285,285 KJ — or 79 kWh for all of those 455 litres being put on the ice.

Of course, some arenas use water that’s not as hot as 70°C, and some arenas use more — or less — than the 455 litres we’ve used as an example for the flood. Having the right input data is critical to render an accurate savings estimate. Want us to render one for you? Click here.

With REALice, you can use water straight from the tap, at a temperature that varies depending on your water source and location — and time of year. For the City of Toronto, for example, the average water in their distribution system was 10.7C in 2015 and is 9.2C to date for 2016.  Instead of cooling 70°C water down to the freezing temperature and then crystallizing it, the ice plant needs to cool the water from 10°C and then crystallize it. That 60°C difference amounts to a tremendous wasted energy, which we conservatively estimate will make a 30% difference in your energy spend for this process.

 Any arena operating an ice pad 30 weeks or more a year averaging 8 resurfaces a day, the avoided energy cost in removing less heat from the ice can have a staggeringly good impact on your indoor ice arena’s energy spend.

Increasing the Brine Temperature

And then there’s the brine.

The next significant reduction in the energy spend using REALice comes with the brine temperature reset. This is something that you’ll need to do because the colder water being used requires less energy to get it into frozen form and therefore freezes faster. To counter this, the brine temperature needs to be raised when using REALice-treated water to avoid having fragile, brittle ice.

For each degree of Fahrenheit that an arena is able to increase the brine temperature, there is an energy savings that corresponds to it, going from 2.1% on 1°F up to 9% on 4°F. Depending on what your current energy spend is, and how far up you can move your brine temperature will determine the number of additional kWh you can save per year.

There are other energy savings too — due to the reduction in the amount of time your dehumidification unit needs to run. With less heat being put on the ice, there will be less evaporation, so a reduced need in the dehumidifier’s run time.

Using a REALice System removes the need to use hot water to make great ice. And that’s just the first in a domino effect of energy savings your indoor ice arena will achieve.


For more information, contact:

Florian Gabriel, Managing Director
SWICH Services Inc.
Canadian Technology Transfer Partner
Phone: +1-604-710-5479