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ACR product of the year award goes to ice rink

ACR product of the year award goes to ice rink

At the end of January, compressor specialists Bitzer’s British subsidiary Bitzer UK and the company G&O Refrigeration were honoured with this year’s National ACR and Heat Pump Award in the category ‘ACR Project of the Year’. They scooped the award for a series of ice rink projects that have delivered dramatic energy savings for end users.

The companies were presented with the prestigious Refrigeration Project of the Year Award in the National ACR Awards, staged in front of an audience of several hundred leading industry lights at a gala event in Birmingham Town Hall. The judges described the projects as a first for the industry, and the choice of compressors as ‘a pioneering decision for contractor G&O Refrigeration’. It was the first time Bitzer’s CSV semi-hermetic screw compressors with integrated frequency inverter had been used in ice rink applications.

Reliable cooling and efficiency
Working with Bitzer UK, G&O Refrigeration developed a new rink refrigeration plant called ‘Gorac chiller pack’. Based on Bitzer’s CSV compact screw compressors with integrated frequency inverter, it is designed to deliver exceptionally reliable cooling and significantly reduced energy costs. This is a major aspect since the energy required to form and maintain an ice pad is one of the most crucial elements in rink running costs.

Reliability and efficiency are absolutely vital for ice rinks. It was for this reason the company selected Bitzer CSV compressors to form the heart of its latest approach to compressor pack design for rinks. Kevin Glass, managing director of Bitzer UK, praises the excellent collaborative relationship, “We worked closely with G&O Refrigeration throughout to ensure they had the support and technical back-up they needed. The initiative was an unqualified success, and is based on a willingness to innovate and move beyond established ways of doing things.”

The CSV is a recent addition to the Bitzer range, and is a very efficient, robust and reliable compact screw compressor. The key to its efficiency is an integral inverter which precisely controls the speed of the motor in line with cooling demand. In addition to a built-in frequency inverter, the compressor has on-board protection and monitoring sensors, magnetic valves for regulation and liquid injection, all in one pre-wired package.

Cooling energy costs more than halved
The compressors operate on R134a, which is normally associated with medium temperature applications, such as commercial air conditioning. However, the performance envelope is surprisingly wide, and the company was attracted by the fact they can evaporate down to
-17°C, at a suction pressure of 0.5 bar.

A pack replacement project at Milton Keynes rink carried out by G&O Refrigeration has more than halved cooling energy costs. The electricity bill with the previous system was GBP11 000 a month. Following replacement with the Gorac/Bitzer system, costs have fallen to between GBP4 000 and GBP5 000 a month. Subsequent projects have confirmed average savings of between 45 to 50%.

Following its success, G&O Refrigeration has now produced 10 Gorac packs for use in rinks across the UK. In addition to Milton Keynes, they have been installed at rinks in Hemel Hempstead, Swindon and Cardiff. This latter project is the largest to date, with two ice pads on site. The company is now attracting the attention of overseas ice rink operators, and is involved in supporting projects taking place in mainland Europe.

The G&O Refrigeration ice rink plant lined up prior to project installation.From left: Paul Smith (business manager, retail support team at Dean & Wood); James Ogden (director of G&O Refrigeration); Kevin Glass (managing director of Bitzer UK); and Justin Moorhouse (guest comedian) at the presentation of the Project of the Year Award 2017.The plant room of the ice rink in Milton Keynes. The decision to incorporate the units with Bitzer CSV compact screw compressors with integrated frequency inverter on the new Gorac rink pack has proved to be an unqualified success and reduced the energy costs by more than 50%.A Bitzer CSV screw compressor in the plant room of Milton Keynes.


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