Deep Ocean Water to Cool Ice Rink for Pyeongchang Olympics

      December 13, 2011 11:36

      The ice rink to be used during the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics will be heated and cooled using deep ocean water, becoming the first winter sports facility to be powered by green energy.

      The ice rink will use water sourced from at least two meters under the surface of the ocean, a depth where no sunlight can penetrate so it remains at a consistently low temperature of less than 2 degrees Celsius.

      The Ministry of Land, Transport and Maritime Affairs said on Monday that it plans to build the Olympic speed skating rink as a low-carbon-emission facility in Gangeung, Gangwon Province in northeastern Korea. This is part of the government's plan to turn the global sporting event into a showcase for Korea's environmentally-friendly technology and energy-saving efforts.

      The water will be sourced from 200 m below the surface of the ocean around 5 km to 8 km off the coast of Gangeung. Pipes measuring 50 cm in diameter made of high-intensity polyethylene, or a similarly durable material, will be used to pump in the water in order to prevent corrosion.

      The water drawn from the ocean will help save costs as it makes it easier to keep the ice rink frozen. An official at the Land Ministry said, "The cooling system of the ice rink will help keep its temperature at 15 degrees below zero and freeze the ice through a network of coils situated underneath."

      The system requires around 6,300 tons of water to be pumped daily. But it is expected to save around W810 million (US$1=W1,147) a year compared to conventional methods that use freezers or boilers.

      "The pump that will be used to bring the deep ocean water into the facility is going to be situated lower than the surface of the ocean, so we will not require a lot of energy to bring it ashore," said Kim Hyun-joo, head of the Korea Ocean Research and Development Institute.

      "At the initial stage, the heating and cooling system will require an investment of W10.7 billion, costing around W7 billion more than conventional methods, but we will save W800 million a year in maintenance costs so we can break even in about nine years."

      The facility will also contribute to a 63.8 percent drop in emissions of greenhouse gases a year, down from 2,581 tons to just 936 tons, officials said.

      The water will also be used to produce electricity by constructing a generator that uses the temperature difference between the ocean water and that taken from hot springs, which will be supplied from neighboring sources. The two will be evaporated and condensed, causing a reaction that can power the turbines of the generator to produce electricity.

      Advanced countries already use deep ocean water to cool and heat buildings. Several hotels in Hawaii and Guam, as well as houses in Okinawa, Japan, use similar technologies.

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