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February 7, 2009

Eco Zamboni! Pollution-free Ice Rinks?

I love it when green stories get realllllly detailed…it means the let’s take responsibility and get smart movement is gaining steam. Excerpt:

…Big, boxy Zambonis are the most popular ice-grooming machines, though they are not the only brand on the market. In 1967, in Elmira, Ontario, a welder named Andrew Schlupp built his own ice-resurfacer and started the Resurfice Corporation.

Now Resurfice has answered the call for a greener, cleaner machine, developing an electric-powered model that will be used at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, British Columbia. Don Schlupp, the director of sales and marketing (and Andrew’s son), said Resurfice, which supplies propane-powered resurfacers to five National Hockey League rinks, is hoping to put the electric machines on the market soon.

“It’s one of the pillars of the Olympic movement to be sustainable as much as possible,” Denis Hainault, director of ice sports for the Vancouver Organizing Committee, said.

So he reached out to Resurfice and Zamboni, among others, to see if they made electric resurfacers. “It actually forced our plan to develop the technology faster,” Don Schlupp said.

Zamboni also produces an electric ice-resurfacing machine.

Essentially, all resurfacers work the same during what is called a flood. A blade on the back of the machine shaves the surface of the ice. The shavings are scooped up and a thin coating of hot water is sprayed on the rink, which is smoothed as the water freezes.

Resurfacers first ran on gasoline, then diesel fuel, then propane. Busy rinks tend to be resurfaced hourly, and fossil-fuel-powered resurfacers emit fumes that can linger in a closed arena. “Pollution was a problem,” Mr. Schlupp said.

Electric resurfacers are also cheaper to run — about 25 cents a flood, Mr. Schlupp said, compared with at least $3 for a propane-powered flood and at least $4…

For the rest, go to NYTimes.com.

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