What do greenhouses and ice arenas have in common?

The Netherlands is both leading in the field of greenhouse technology and the development of ice skating arenas like Thialf. In both worlds it’s all about creating an optimal indoor climate to perform at top level. In greenhouses it’s all about yield and top quality with minimal energy input. For Thialf it’s all about skating record breaking times, but also achieving a low energy bill. Which lessons for optimal air distribution can be learnt by the international horticulture sector?

To deliver an optimal climate for top level sports KE Fibertec, together with subsidiary KE GrowAir suppliers of air distribution systems, has to unite extreme requirements. Close to the ice the temperature has to be 0.5 °C max, while at head height it must be between 14-16 °C at all times. Furthermore, there should be no interference with the moisture and CO₂ the crowd produces. Parallels can be made with the greenhouse climate and the extreme differences in temperature between and above the crop and enough air circulation through the evaporating crop. For both challenges there’s a solution.

Homogeneous climate
By not mixing the air layer above the ice with the air layer with the high temperature and RV produced by the crowd, you can meet the needed extreme requirements. But for greenhouse crops it’s the opposite, you want an inducing air flow. This flow creates a horizontal and vertical homogeneous climate with less temperature differences, enough disposal of humidity and delivery of CO₂. The right distribution of air is top level sports and it is not easy to perform at such level.

CFD analyses
To make sure that the offered solution in the Thialf project is the optimal one, Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) analyses were made by an independent and well respected expert in this field.

As expected, the analyzes and offered solution were almost a perfect fit, assuring that the Thialf ice arena stays the best lowland course in the world.

For more information:
KE GrowAir
Edisonweg 11
3291 CK Strijen
Tel. +31 (0) 78 674 8475
Fax +31 (0) 78 674 8476

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