Making a Line Change at Lund Ice Arena


As with most things, the day often comes when once-modern technology falls by the side of that which is newer and more-improved. Such is the case on the campus of Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter. The crew at SCR recently replaced and upgraded the chiller system at Lund Ice Arena. Keep reading to find out how this new system works and why the enhancement was necessary.


In the indirect type of ice rink refrigeration system, a refrigerant cools a brine, a salt water- or glycol-based anti-freeze solution. This cooled brine water runs underneath the ice through steel piping. These lines are usually contained within a slab of concrete that is kept at about 22 degrees. Any water above this concrete slab then freezes, creating the rink.


Lund Ice Arena’s 30-year-old system is being upgraded to a more advanced operation from Hillphoenix Inc., the leader in commercial and industrial refrigeration systems and one of the first to introduce technologies for the reduction of global warming emissions.

With continual repairs and replacement parts becoming scarce due to the age of the equipment, a complete system replacement just made sense. Furthermore, the old ice rink chiller system was using more than 3,000 pounds of chlorodifluoromethane, or R-22. This colorless gas often used as a refrigerant is hazardous to the environment if it leaks out of the system.


This new system uses an environmentally friendly refrigerant called Opteon XP40™ to cool a secondary glycol solution. The solution is then pumped through the floor to freeze water and make the ice. Advanced technology electronically controls how the ice is created and maintained, including:

  • Electronic expansive valves that control refrigerant flow to the direct expansion evaporator
  • An electronically commutated motor to determine or fluctuate speed for the condenser fans

Additionally, the automated system allows for more control over scheduling temperature adjustments when the ice is not in use. All the major components are in sight, ensuring easy observation and the potential for greater efficiency all around.


The Montreal Protocol took effect in January 1989. The treaty outlined a plan to phase out the production of substances responsible for reducing the ozone layer. As of January 1, 2020, production of HCFC refrigerants, including R-22, has been phased out in North America.

For safety and sustainability purposes, Hydrofluro-Olefins (HFO) refrigerants were designed as an alternative. The Chemours Company introduced Opteon™, the official refrigerant solution of the NHL®, as an HFO refrigerant.

The Opteon™ XP40 (R-449A) cools like R-22 (or HCFCs) but offers a host of environmental and energy benefits:

  • Non-ozone depleting
  • Low Global Warming Potential
  • Regulatory compliant
  • Low toxicity and non-flammable
  • Excellent energy efficiency performance
  • Cost-effective when compared to other technology

SCR’s technical expertise and team approach have made us the Midwest’s leader in refrigeration, HVAC, building automation, food service, and service & maintenance. To learn more about our comprehensive approach and full-service capabilities, contact us.

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