Business

FortisBC project brings energy savings to Tilbury Ice

Representatives from FortisBC joined Delta Coun. Robert Campbell and Håkan Grönlund, head of Global Business Development, H20 Vortex/Watreco, to tour Delta’s Tilbury ice arena. - Photo submitted
Representatives from FortisBC joined Delta Coun. Robert Campbell and Håkan Grönlund, head of Global Business Development, H20 Vortex/Watreco, to tour Delta’s Tilbury ice arena.
— image credit: Photo submitted

Representatives from FortisBC recently joined Delta Coun. Robert Campbell and Håkan Grönlund, head of Global Business Development, H20 Vortex/Watreco, to tour Delta’s Tilbury ice arena, one of 10 ice rink facilities in B.C. equipped with REALice water spinning technology as part of a FortisBC pilot project.

Last October, Delta applied to participate in the FortisBC pilot, which aims to evaluate the energy efficiency benefits of the REALice system when used in conjunction with conventional ice resurfacing equipment. FortisBC is funding the capital cost of this pilot project.

“When FortisBC announced they were seeking applications, it was a natural and easy decision for us to apply for the pilot project," said Delta Mayor Lois Jackson. "FortisBC’s initiative to implement the REALice system strongly ties in with Delta’s climate change focus to improve energy efficiency and reduce our carbon footprint within our communities. If successful, Delta gains the ongoing energy reduction benefits at no cost to us."

Campbell said the Parks, Recreation and Culture Commission is pleased Tilbury Ice was afforded the opportunity to be one of the first arenas in B.C. to have access to this innovative technology.

"It makes Delta and this arena an attractive option for sports teams and events, as most people and organizations are conscious of environmental impact these days,” said Campbell, who is chair of Delta’s Parks, Recreation and Culture Commission.

Arenas currently use heated water in ice resurfacing equipment in order to eliminate micro bubbles, which negatively impact the clarity and hardness of the ice surface. As a result, natural gas energy is required to heat the water, while additional electrical energy is used by a refrigeration plant to freeze the heated water once it is applied to the ice surface.

The REALice system uses new spinning technology in conjunction with unheated water to eliminate these same micro bubbles, in turn reducing natural gas consumption and lessening the electrical demand from the refrigeration plant.

The projected annual natural gas savings range between 600 and 1,000 gigajoules (GJ) and electrical savings of approximately 50,000 kWh. The REALice spinning technology system has been implemented in more than 250 ice arenas in Europe, and a handful of arenas have been experimenting with the technology in North America.

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