GEA refrigeration technology assures snow flurries instead of sandstorms
Skiing in the desert at 40 °C in the shade? No problem with that, thanks to professional refrigeration technology. Ski Dubai, the first Ski Dome of the Middle East, lies in the center of Dubai, United Arab Emirates. The snow surface of 22,500 m² offers five ski slopes, with varying heights and slopes. The longest is 400 m. This means that beginners, more advanced skiers, and pros all get what they expect. Newcomers can even reserve a course in the ski school. For snowboarders, the 90-m halfpipe assures sufficient excitement. For more serene activities, the Snow Park offers, for example, snowman building and sledding. It’s not only the slopes that excite the visitors, but also the individual charm of the skiing facilities with their natural landscapes, including tall trees and a snow cave. In addition, the guests to the Dubai Ski Dome can expect everything that goes to make up a sophisticated winter-sport facility: e.g., cafés and restaurants for the après-ski scene. Those looking for a suitable outfit can buy one just next door in the shopping center.
Outstanding insulation is of course necessary in light of the extreme temperature differences between indoors and out. The indoor ski slope has walls five meters thick and amounts to one giant refrigerator. The refrigeration technology is just as carefully thought out: three GEA Grasso screw compressors form the key components of the entire refrigeration plant. They assure a temperature of - 1 °C that enable young and old to move about briskly and forget the roasting heat of their everyday world outside. To save energy, a computer-supported control system adapts the cooling output exactly to momentary requirements
After midnight, it begins to snow, as if guided by an invisible hand. But GEA is behind it all: 29 GEA air coolers, with a total cooling duty of 2,600 kW, lower the temperature inside the Ski Dome to - 10 °C. The water blown out of 21 snow cannons crystallizes in the icy air to provide 30 tons of fresh snow – each and every day. Melt water is collected and used for climate-control of the adjacent mall and for watering the plants.
A further reference project of GEA Refrigeration Technologies is the SnowWorld indoor ski center in Landgraaf, the Netherlands. Just as at Ski Dubai, SnowWorld offers a special feature: the center offers an official FIS racing slope on which World Cup ski racing as well as the Snowboard World Cup (2010) have taken place. Here, the quality of the slope has top priority – and this means that the refrigeration systems must assure a temperature of - 6 °C. If the temperature is higher, snow quality deteriorates; if it is lower, users become unsure. The snow is produced at - 15 °C by spraying water into the air at high pressure. The operators, SnowWorld Leisure N.V., contracted GEA Refrigeration Technologies to upgrade the existing refrigeration plant to the state of the art, so as to be prepared for upcoming races. It was a special challenge to integrate the heat pump for the adjacent new four-star hotel SnowWorld into the overall plant. This heat pump not only serves heating purposes: it also provides, day after day, hot water for the hotel guests – every day at the same temperature.