New kind of cold front makes local arenas more energy-efficient

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They are calling it a polar vortex.

REALice is a new technology tested at the Kerry Park and Cowichan arenas that officials say will reduce the amount of electricity and gas needed to make ice.

Instead of removing air bubbles from the ice by the conventional method of heating, REALice works by spinning the bubbles out of the water like a whirlpool.

Testing done over an eight-week period in January and February showed the system created ice as fast as strong as conventional methods at an annual savings of $8,000 per arena.

"I was a skeptic at first as it goes against all we are taught as icemakers using cold water only," Island Savings Centre operations co-ordinator Brad Coleman said. "After switching and witnessing results first hand and listening to user comments, I'm now convinced that this technology is the right choice for us."

According to the CVRD, the energy reductions in gas and electrical use is estimated to be 351GJ and 57,000 kWh respectively, with a reduction of 35 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions.

The pilot project was funded by Fortis B.C.

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