The Moray Council, Refrigeration Consultant & Ice4All meeting 06/03/15

At the request of Moray Council Four members from ice4all met with them and the consultant employed by TMC to look into the viability of replacing the ice making plant at the Moray Leisure Centre.

This was the most constructive and progressive meeting I have attended since being asked to the original meeting to assist in completing the forms to sportscotland four years ago.

Both TMC and the consultant were transparent with their thoughts and proposals and we came away with positive thoughts and vibes.

We were offered the consultants full report which we declined due to the confidential nature of the contents, instead we asked for a summary with the confidential items removed and so this is what I have copied for your information below.

In general, the ice slab is in fair condition, there have over the years been a few leaks requiring the concrete to be broken up and the pipe repaired. The most likely cause for this is the heater mat not operating correctly and allowing water to form around the tubes and crush them. The heater mat is supplied with warm brine, failure to do so can result in leaks occurring.

In the event that at some future point the ice rink starts to suffer from chronic leakage, rather than dig up the concrete floor and relay the pipes, (expensive and very time consuming) an alternate solution would be to lay a new plastic tubing matrix on the surface of the concrete and with the ice directly on the surface of the pipes, the height of the ice would be some 25mm higher than the present level and would not pose any issues. This would significantly reduce cost and down time of the ice rink. It is therefore not proposed to change or alter the existing ice slab or the foil covering above.

Given the various solutions for different chillers, it is proposed to tee into the existing pipework during the next shutdown period, to allow a new system to be installed without further down time.

To remove two of the redundant containers from the rear of the building to facilitate a new chiller compound. When the plant room is eventually emptied, this will provide additional storage space.

To supply and install a new air cooled industrial chiller operating on R290 – this is future proof and energy efficient. The chiller is to have heat recovery for the underfloor heating. It is also to have the option for swimming pool heat recovery as an extra cost which should be considered in conjunction with any upgrade of the CHP plant.

The new chiller compound is to be fenced and access strictly controlled.

A single electrical supply will be required to the new chiller, this can be taken from the existing supply, but may require some additional electrical enabling works to facilitate this.

The existing brine is to be retained depending on chemical analysis or the complete system is to be drained and refilled either with brine or with ethylene glycol.

This chiller has the same maintenance requirements as a traditional HFC chiller and significantly less maintenance cost than an ammonia chiller.

The chiller has a lower refrigerant charge compared to HFC and also significantly lower operating cost. Whilst an ammonia chillers is more energy efficient, it is not felt that the significant increase in capital cost and maintenance is justified with the potential energy savings.

Pool recycle pump is to be isolated saving approximately £ 3000 per annum.

Reduced maintenance costs will also have a significant saving per annum.

Reduced chiller running costs from a more effective solution with the design meeting actual requirements, would potentially save an additional £ 5000 per annum. Additional savings would also be made by changing the pumps for ones with IE3 motors.

When the new system goes on line, the redundant plant can be stripped out and scrapped without further down time.

I anticipate all local curlers appreciate this report released from TMC however I apologise on behalf of Ice4all for the lack of information to you over the past Four years, as at each and every meeting we have had on the subject with TMC & MLC which were many we were specifically asked to keep them confidential and in the interests of trust between the parties concerned we Ice4all did just that.

Progress has been made here, however we still have significant hurdles to overcome i.e. approval from The Moray Councillors to go ahead with the project (From a meeting in April) and of course support funding from sportscotland, (application being processed now) these two items are not unsurmountable, we have considerable support from various sources and which is not like me in life but I do feel quite optimistic of the outcome.

Bill Nicol
Web Master