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TJU Ice-making Tech Promotes Green Winter Olympics

 Research

2022 Winter Olympic Games is around the corner. Are the gymnasiums ready to welcome athletes from all over the world? Tianjin University helped to see to its preparation with its ice-making technology.

During the 2021 Asian Open Figure Skating Trophy and the ISU World Cup Short Track Speed Skating series held from October 14 to 24, which served as “Meet in Beijing” test events of Olympic Winter Games, nearly 500 athletes participated the game and tried out the skating rink at the Capital Gymnasium. Renovated four years ago, the gym will be the venue for the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympic Games figure skating and short track speed skating competition.

Aiming at Green Olympics and High-tech Olympics, the Capital Gymnasium is equipped with the carbon dioxide (CO2) transcritical direct cooling ice system developed, designed and built by the Eurojoy Ice & Snow Investment Management (Beijing) Co., Ltd, Tianjin University and AST Refrigeration & Solar Technology (Beijing) Co., Ltd. This internationally advanced technology is the core achievement of the "Ice Machine R&D and Application Demonstration" project of the National Key R&D Program for the Winter Olympics.

The project leader, Professor Tian Hua from Tianjin University, said that the technology used direct evaporation of CO2 at the bottom of the ice to provide a stable supply of cooling source for the ice rink and saved more than 50% comprehensive system energy by two-stage compression combined with full heat recovery. “The coil optimization and civil engineering design are used to control the temperature difference of the ice surface within -0.3 to -0.4 °C. Both the comprehensive energy efficiency and the temperature difference of the ice surface have reached the international advanced level,” Prof. Tian noted.

The quality of ice surface will affect figure skating and short track speed Skating athletes’ performance. Proper hardness and temperature difference of ice surface decided by ice making system is of crucial importance. The ice-making system of the capital gymnasium effectively guaranteed the quality of the ice surface which was widely acclaimed by the athletes.

"I learned that the athletes spoke highly of the ice rink on which they were not only able to skate fast but also felt a great grip ", said Nathalie Lambert, the representative of the International Skating Union’s Short Track Speed Skating Technical Committee.

Japanese figure skater Hanao Sakamoto said, "The ice surface is very conducive to skating, where I can show my best."

"I like the rink. The ice is grippy and good for my turn-control. I'm excited that the Winter Olympics will take place on a field like this", Canadian short track skater Sarao remarked.

The ice rink of the Capital Gymnasium also needs to adapt to the fast transition of the figure skating and short track speed skating events. The ice-making system took only 2 hours to transit the ice temperature range from -3 to -5 centigrade fit for figure skating competition to the range of -7 to -8 centigrade for short track competition in the test events in April, setting the fastest record ever winning the appraise of French ice maker Remy Bole.

Professor Tian Hua of Tianjin University led the Winter Olympic project of "R&D and Application Demonstration of Ice Making Machine". The Eurojoy Ice & Snow Investment Management (Beijing) Co., Ltd served as the organizing unit along with Tianjin University, Peking University, Xi'an Jiaotong University, Harbin Sport University, AST Refrigeration & Solar Technology (Beijing) Co., Ltd, Hefei General Machinery Research Institute Co. and Huashang International Engineering Co. The project aims to develop green, low-carbon, energy-saving ice-making technology of CO2 transcritical refrigeration, and to demonstrate its application in five ice sports events and training venues for the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics, so as to ensure the needs of Green Winter Olympics and ice sports in the post-Winter Olympics era.

Tianjin University is one of the pioneers in carrying out research on CO2 transcritical refrigeration heat pump technology and has a long-term cooperation with Eurojoy and AST in related fields. The research team has made significant achievements on the method and key technology for improving comprehensive energy efficiency of CO2 system such as two-stage compression and heat recovery.

By Zhu Jingxuan

Editor: Eva Yin