Snow cooling offers three benefits:
- electricity consumption reduced by more than 90%
- no Freon-based refrigerants
- polluted snow is cleared away
A large-scale snow cooling plant used for cooling the County Hospital has been developed.
The plant is the first of its kind in the world. The hospital covers about 190 000 m² and requires a very efficient cooling system.
Before the snow cooling system was built there was already a snow deposit situated west of the hospital – mainly used by the Sundsvall municipality to dump snow that had been cleared from streets in the region. This place proved to be the ideal spot for building the new cooling facility.
The facility is equipped with a 7 meters deep bowl-shaped basin that is being filled with snow. The snow-pool is made of waterproof asphalt which provides insulation against any unwanted heating from below. During summer months the snow deposit is covered with a layer of wooden chips to prevent the snow from melting. During winters with less snowfall, a set of snow-cannons can be used to secure that there is enough snow in the pool.
The snow cooling facility consists of three parts; the snow storage, a pumping station and a heat exchanger. Snow that has melted is being pumped through the heat exchanger where the water cools the technical equipment as well as the ventilation air which passes through the hospital.
Through this process, the water reaches a higher temperature – on the way back it is therefore used to melt more snow.
Evidence of success
Benefits of snow cooling
Snow cooling offers three major benefits. First of all, electricity consumption is greatly reduced. Using snow to cool the hospital has reduced the need for electricity for cooling by more than 90 percent. The energy requirement to cool the hospital used to be 900 MWh per year but snow cooling requires only 65 MWh for pumps. Secondly no Freon-based refrigerants are used and thirdly, polluted snow is cleared away.
The climate is an important factor. Snow is needed in the winter that can be collected before the summer. You also need a land requirement of at least 10,000 square meters.
Potential for learning or transfer
All areas that have snow in the winter time and storage space can build a similar facility.
Sapporo Airport (Japan) has built a similar facility.
For example, Norway and Canada are interested in this technology, and have visited the facility.