A Russian first: ammonia refrigeration plant for a sports facility

By Sabine Lobnig, Feb 17, 2012, 14:48 2 minute reading

GEA has been granted special permission from the Russian authorities for what will be the country’s first ammonia based refrigeration plant to cater for the cooling needs of a Russian sports facility: the 1814 meter bobsleigh track in Krasnaya Polyana, about 60 km north-east of Sochi, Western Caucasus, which will host the 2014 Winter Olympics competition.

The contract includes project engineering of the complete refrigeration facilities, delivery and installation of the refrigeration equipment in the machine room, as well as a total of 4 km of main ammonia piping along the bobsleigh track.

At the heart of the new refrigeration plant are four ammonia screw-compressors:
  • 3 screw-compressor units type WB-5A from the GEA Large Series – three type WB-5A
  • 1 screw-compressor model PB-5A from the GEA Large Series
  • A total of 4.2 MW of cooling duty
  • Ammonia refrigerant playing a key role in ensuring superior efficiency
The project agreement was signed in November 2011 between GEA Refrigeration Technologies and NPO Mostovik, one of Russia’s largest construction companies.

Works are scheduled for completion in spring 2012, with the first international bobsleigh competition planned for the track already in March. The track is eventually slated to host the bobsleigh competition during the 2014 Winter Olympics.

Safety aspects

For this long bobsleigh track, which is served by 4 km of supply piping along the track, the great evaporation enthalpy and the above-average volumetric cold duty provided make positive contributions. The required cooling duty can be transported with less volume of refrigeration and, in turn, in smaller diameter pipes.

A GEA Wiegand gas scrubber was installed to minimize the health risk in case of any leak in the machine room. This unit would filter any escaping ammonia out of the air and would drastically reduce the gas concentration. Rigorous pressure tests and quality inspections were conducted before start-up, to eliminate the chance of leaks from the very beginning.

Special permission for ammonia novelty in sports facilities

Safety regulation in Russia have until now hindered the use of ammonia as refrigerant in athletic facilities. The GEA project team was able to convince the responsible authority of the advantages of the natural refrigerant and get a special permission for this project.

Russian officials say 2014 winter Olympic venues on track

In 2007, Russia was chosen to host the 2014 Winter Olympics over South Korea and Austria. These will be the first Olympic Games to be held in Russia since the Moscow Games in 1980.

However, until recently there have been reports that several winter Olympic venues had been behind schedule, with the Russian sports minister Vitaliy Mutko admitting that the bobsleigh course and ski jump venues had caused more problems than anticipated. According to AFP, on 14 February 2012, Russian government officials stated that the venues hosting the 2014 Olympic Games will be completed well ahead of schedule.


By Sabine Lobnig

Feb 17, 2012, 14:48

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