199: Ice rink


Canada is home to nearly 8,000 indoor and outdoor ice arenas and the USA close behind with 2000 rinks, according to the International Ice Hockey Federation. All depend on electrically produced manmade ice, requiring high maintenance costs and energy consumption.


In 2010, Toni Vera, an ice hockey player and engineer of Seville, Spain was appalled by the enormous amounts of energy and water needed for the production of conventional ice.

He came up with a polyethylene compound laminated onto both sides of 2′ X 4′ plywood panels, that are laid in a brick interlocking’ pattern with imperceptible seams. When one side wears out, the panels can be flipped over and the other side used. Vera’s solution uses no power, water, chemicals or resurfacing equipment to operate and offers an ecological and economical alternative to refrigerated ice.

Vera was joined by Viktor Meier of Lucerne, Switzerland to start up Glice which since 2012, has installed more than 2,000 Glice Eco Skating Rinks in more 85 countries from classical winter sport nations to the tropics.

One example was Mexico City, when on December 16, 2019 the world’s largest skating rink was on the city’s main square, known as Zócalo. Compared to a conventional ice rink of the same size, this 43,000 square foot Glice rink saved 49,000 gallons (360,000 litres) of water and eliminate electrical energy consumption equal to about 4,000 average households.

That represents a reduction of about 95 tons of CO2 emissions connected with electrical power generation. This Zócalo rink was installed in less than 24 hours; in contrast a refrigerated rink of this size can take weeks to install.

Other companies marketing synthetic ice are Xtraice, and PolyGlide Ice.

REALice, developed and patented by Curt Hallberg and Morten Ovesen at Watreco Ab in Åkarp, Sweden is Vortex process, air bubble-free water treatment system that uses unheated water to resurface ice rinks, reducing an arena’s natural gas usage by 79% and its electricity consumption by 12% – all without sacrificing ice quality. More than 300 ice arenas across the globe use the technology.

Through REALice technology, Ice Box Arena, in Kamloops, British Columbia, has conserved about 55,000 kWh of electricity, enough to power a home for almost five years, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

Discover Solution 200: Fishskin leather

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