Ammonia use in 2010 Canada Winter Olympics

By Sabine Lobnig, Mar 05, 2009, 15:38 2 minute reading

The next Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games in Vancouver will encompass sustainability features related to heating and cooling. The bobsleigh track will use an ammonia refrigeration system, while heat waste from the refrigeration plant will be captured and reused.

The Vancouver Organising Committee for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games (VANOC) is set to make the upcoming Olympic Games one of the most energy-efficient ones and reduce greenhouse gas emissions from heating buildings, making snow or freezing tracks. Among the package of sustainability performance objectives to minimise the impact on local environments and the global climate will be the use of ammonia as one of the most energy-efficient refrigerant with the lowest greenhouse gas effect. The ammonia refrigeration system cooling the bobsleigh track is a key element of future-proof heating and cooling practices to contribute to the Games’ overall sustainability.

The Whistler Sliding Centre’s ammonia refrigeration plant

The Whistler Sliding Centre, hosting the bobsleigh, luge and skeleton competitions, will use an ammonia refrigeration system where the waste heat will be reused to heat the plant building itself and a guest services building.

Specifications of the sliding centre’s ammonia refrigeration system, provided by Canadian based company CIMCO, include:
  • Total number of evaporators: 122
  • Total evaporator load: 1,400 tons of refrigeration (TR)
  • Total flow rate of refrigerant going up to tracks: 305 US GPM
  • Total hp of compressors: 2,100 hp
  • Refrigerant condition: 
              Low side: Working: 16 psi and 0F; Design pressure: 300 psi
              Intermediate side: Working: 41 psi and 27F; Design pressure: 300 psi
              High side: Working: 160 psi and 90F; Design pressure: 300 psi
  • Total track length: 5,955 ft
  • Total elevation difference (highest evaporator to refrigeration room): about 550 ft
  • Heat recovery: 100 TR
At a first stage, given the sliding centre’s relative isolation, only about 20 per cent of the heat captured from its refrigeration will be used. However, in the future, this heat source may be connected to a district heating and cooling system.

Other energy efficiency measures related to the centre’s refrigeration plant include a track shading and weather protection system, tree retention to cast shade, and heat absorption minimisation through painting the track white.

About the Whistler Sliding Centre

The Whistler Sliding Centre will host the bobsleigh, luge and skeleton competitions at the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games and will also serve as a legacy for the enjoyment of local residents, visitors and high-performance athletes. After the Games, it will showcase sliding sports by hosting international competitions and developing sliding sports opportunities in the local communities.


By Sabine Lobnig

Mar 05, 2009, 15:38

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