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Effective Dehumidification Strategies for Ice Rinks: Conclusions from NERIS Part 2

Within the framework of the extensive research project NERIS (Nordicbuilt: Evaluation and Renovation of Ice halls and Swimming halls), the Department of Building Science at the Royal Institute of Technology (KTH) in Stockholm, Sweden, has focused on exploring and optimizing aspects of dehumidification in ice rinks. This report, constituting the second part of a four-part series, delves into the topic of "Methods and Energy Usage for Dehumidification in Ice Rinks." The goal has been to examine various dehumidification methods, their functionalities, technical possibilities, and limitations. The report also analyzes energy consumption and the factors influencing it, while presenting valuable conclusions on how dehumidification efficiency can be improved and energy usage optimized.

Sorption dehumidifier concept drawing

Conclusions about Effective Dehumidification Strategies for Ice Rinks :

Dehumidification Methods and Limitations

This second part of the NERIS project, which focuses on dehumidification in ice rinks, has thoroughly examined different dehumidification methods. One discussed method is "refrigerant dehumidification," where moisture is condensed from the air. The challenge with this method is its limitation in achieving the low humidity levels required in ice rinks. On the other hand, "sorption dehumidification" has been identified as the most common method, where moisture is captured and removed using high-temperature heat. While effective in dehumidification, this method also requires significant amounts of high-temperature energy, often in the form of electricity.

Energy Consumption and Control

Energy consumption for dehumidification in small to medium-sized ice rinks typically ranges between 50 and 150 MWh. It has been revealed that both the ambient climate and the choice of control principle play a crucial role in energy usage. The traditional method of controlling dehumidification based on relative humidity has proven to lead to inefficiencies, including over-dehumidification and unnecessary energy consumption. An example demonstrates that over 30% of dehumidification energy can be wasted through inefficient control.

Energy Signatures

The report has also introduced the concept of "energy signatures" as a tool to illustrate and compare energy usage across different facilities. The significance of air leakage as an influencing factor has been highlighted and will be further explored in future reports.

Dehumidifier energy usage as a percentage of total annual energy relative to the dew point.
Dehumidifier energy usage as a percentage of total annual energy relative to the dew point.

Energy Savings and Alternative Energy Sources:

An intriguing area explored is the potential to save energy and utilize alternative energy sources in the dehumidification process. Through "first-generation recycling-driven technology," up to 40% of consumed electricity can be saved by combining recovered heat with the built-in electrical heating of the dehumidifier. "Second-generation units" employ liquid-based heat at lower temperatures around 60°C and can substantially fulfill energy needs with reclaimed heat.

Ultimately, this report within the NERIS project has provided valuable insights into dehumidification methods, energy efficiency, and opportunities to optimize energy usage in ice rinks. By deepening the understanding of these aspects, future dehumidification processes in ice rinks can be enhanced in terms of both performance and sustainability.

NERIS Rapport part 2 ENG Auto translation
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