Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics Officially Announces Use of CO2 for Ice Venues

The Beijing 2022 Organising Committee has officially announced its plan to use CO2 refrigeration systems for several ice venues in the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics.

“In a landmark decision guided by the International Olympic Committee (IOC), natural CO2 refrigeration systems will be used in most of the Beijing 2022 ice venues,” a statement reads on the website. “This will be the first time the technology is used in China and at the Olympic Games.”

“This is a landmark decision which could potentially help address the issue of climate change, both in China and even globally,” said Juan Antonio Samaranch, Chair of the IOC Coordination Commission. “We are pleased to see that the IOC’s close collaboration with Beijing 2022 has resulted in such an important outcome.”

According to the website, CO2 systems will be used in “the Beijing 2022 speed skating, figure skating and short track venues, as well as the ice hockey training venues.” R449 will be used in the ice hockey and curling venues.

NatRef tipping point in China?

Ice rink expert Art Sutherland, who has worked as a consultant for the IOC for the last two Winter Olympics events and is involved in the planning for Beijing 2022, provided some background to this decision one week ago at the ATMOsphere America conference (organised by shecco, publisher of this website), held June 17-18 in Atlanta, Ga.

Sutherland said six ice rinks at the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics will use CO2 as a refrigerant. He explained that five rinks that are being built will use CO2 while four existing rinks, which were using R404A, plan to employ R449A, except for one that decided to switch to CO2

At the ATMOsphere America event, Sutherland remarked that he is seeing CO2 ice rinks catching on in China even outside of the 2022 Winter Olympics.

“What is interesting is that, with other private rinks or other municipal rinks in the geographic region, three more of those are going with CO2,” he said.

Jin Ma, who serves as the deputy director of the Cold Storage and Cold Processing Committee at the Chinese Association of Refrigeration, as well as the chief engineer for the refrigeration system used at the national speed skating hall, was featured in a video about the CO2 systems published by the IOC on YouTube.

Ma spoke with this website last December about how he sees this as a sign of a shifting mindset regarding the use of natural refrigerants in China such as ammonia and CO2.