‘World’s biggest snowboard factory’ puts faith in ammonia

Snowboard maker CAPiTA has installed an ammonia heat pump at its new factory in Feistritz, Austria.

Austrian firm CAPiTA ranks among the biggest snowboard makers in the world – and is committed to energy efficiency. In Feistritz, Austria, it has installed a high-temperature ammonia heat pump at its new snowboard factory. Accelerate Europe reports.

Reducing energy costs was of paramount importance at the new factory, which is known as the Mothership and was built in 2016.

“When planning the factory, we focused on energy efficiency right from the start,” says Michael Kollmann, CEO of CAPiTA MFG GmbH.

To achieve this, CAPiTA opted for an ammonia-based high temperature heat pump at the Mothership, which the snowboard maker believes is one of the largest snowboard production sites in the world.

The heat pump, manufactured by Austrian company Frigotherm Ferrari, is used for heating and cooling during the snowboard production process and for HVAC in the factory itself.

“[CAPiTA uses a] double-stage heat pump for the snowboard production plant,” said Frigotherm Ferrari owner Peter Rindler. “It has been running for two-and-a-half years.”

Generating heating and cooling with a single system is the easiest and best way to achieve high efficiency goals.
– Franz Josef Schögl, Sattler Energie Consulting

Making use of river water

The double-stage heat pump is used to lift the temperature up to the requirements needed in two bursts, Rindler explains.

The factory needs medium-temperature heat (74-75°C) and low-temperature cooling (3°C).

The ammonia heat pump, which uses river water to heat the presses and print the boards, as well as to cool the presses and snowboard grinding machines, has helped CAPiTA to meet its energy reduction targets.

“Generating heating and cooling with a single system is the easiest and best way to achieve high efficiency goals,” says Franz Josef Schögl from Sattler Energie Consulting, the consultancy firm involved in the project.

Compared to its previous factory, with no heat pump, the company has saved 84% of its energy costs, which works out as €294,000, every year since installing the system. “Our new factory is, without doubt, the most energy efficient in the whole sector,” says CAPiTA’s Kollmann.

The German Energy Agency (dena) even awarded the snowboard manufacturer an Energy Efficiency Award in 2017 for the factory.

“CAPiTA is a trailblazer for real-world innovation in the energy transition,” dena Managing Director Kristina Haverkamp said in November 2017.

Most of the materials used to produce the boards at the Mothership come from the surrounding Austrian forests.

The Mothership also manufactures boards for Bataleon and Lobster Snowboards.

Click here to read this article in the current edition of Accelerate Europe magazine.

By Charlotte McLaughlin

Jan 23, 2019, 10:30

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