A chiller designed specifically for ice rink applications combines the efficiencies of a hybrid film evaporator with a high lift variable-speed centrifugal compressor.

The new model, dubbed Accuchiller TCFW375, allows operation at a 10°F setpoint when in ice-building mode, notes its developer, Thermal Care, Niles, Ill. The chiller maker collaborated with compressor manufacturer Danfoss to produce the new system.

The combination of the hybrid film evaporator and the Danfoss Turbocor TTH375 high lift variable-speed compressors provide tight temperature tolerance, allow adjustments for varying loads and optimize full and part load efficiencies while significantly reducing energy consumption, says Chris Garich of Thermal Care.

“Thermal Care worked closely with compressor manufacturer Danfoss to provide a high lift centrifugal compressor that will — for the first time — produce 10°F fluid temperatures,” noted Chris Garich, the chiller’s product manager. “The chiller uses Opteon R513A refrigerant, which is a Class A1, nontoxic, nonflammable refrigerant solution with a lower global warming potential. Chiller plants using A1 refrigerants are also simpler to maintain than chiller plants using other refrigerants,” said Garich, “and Opteon is also recognized as the official refrigerant solution of the NHL.”

The parallel-chiller approach reduces the risk of losing a sheet of ice and simplifies the logistics of chiller maintenance, says the company. Rinks typically require 80 to 90 tons of chiller capacity to build ice, so two chillers may be used in parallel to share the part load and maximize efficiency. Additionally, Garich noted that the compressors produce less noise than traditional compressor technology, allowing for normal volume conversations in the chiller plant/mechanical room.

The Thermal Care chiller’s 50-ton capacity allows it to provide sufficient cooling to maintain a sheet of ice at 15°F, says the company. Once the ice is built and less cooling is required, the chillers go into ice maintenance mode at 15°F. The compressors will reduce energy consumption by further decreasing their speed.

The company's advanced PLC system controls, monitors and maintains the operation. A 7"color touchscreen is capable of IIoT 4.0 with communication protocols that can be used in conjunction with high level building automation systems, including those to control entire facility and achieve net‐zero design goals.