Brine Vs Glycol: It Comes Down to Long Term Vision

Brine Vs Glycol: It Comes Down to Long Term Vision

Brine: Short Term Savings

A typical cold floor installed with a brine solution of Calcium Chloride (commonly known as ice melt) at 21% is effectively salt water. This solution will not allow the mixed water to freeze in normal rink use at -5°F or above. Upon installation you’ll realize a savings of approximately $18,000 when compared to the cost of glycol.

Brine: Long Term Damage

Informally polling installation vendors and design engineers over the last decade has shown a widely-held-opinion that brine, (while less expensive day one), is normally the cause of expensive component failures at the 15-20 year mark mostly because initial charges do not have adequate corrosion inhibitors. Additionally most operators do not have the benefit of treatment contracts resulting in chemistry changes that resolve in a corrosive cocktail.

Brine is highly corrosive and more so if it is not cold. Use in a warm floor normally has a detrimental effect within 10-15 years if a vigilant watch is not kept on the inhibitors and PH levels.

It is not uncommon to see an entire plant replaced because of a warm floor failure, coupled with ammonia in the brine, because of leaking tubes and eddy current tests, and so on and so on…

Glycol: Stable, Reliable, Safe, Productive

Counter to brine, glycol comes normally with inhibitors from the manufacturer that remain stable. It is not unusual to find vessels and floors in excess of 35 years old in use, while brine floors are being replaced at half that age. Yes, ethylene glycol has a heat transfer reduction over brine by almost 5%. However these savings are dwarfed by the repair costs for a brine system at 15-20 years. Also a larger surface chiller vessel will offset this heat transfer loss.

For example: replacing brine with glycol in a standard 200’ x 85’ floor will be a cost increase upon installation around $18,000 for a glycol system (including a larger chiller), this will appear a minute cost in 20 years when facing a replacement floor. Comparatively, a system destroyed by brine will compile costs including a replacement floor averaging $500,000, a chiller vessel replacement averaging $65,000 and a warm floor heat exchanger at about $25,000! Additionally, if the refrigerant has leaked into the brine, removal costs are $6 a gallon with a flush and glycol is normally reinstalled at roughly $30,000.

Brine – Producing ice3 Cube Customers by Default

As you can see, using brine is not fiscally advisable but it has done one thing for the ice3 Cube: allowing our technology into many facilities much earlier than expected as customers are sick of brine/ammonia combinations that only last an average 20 years.

Due to the brine/glycol performance capabilities outlined here, at Emerald we design solely around glycol with Titanium heat exchangers for brine as an add-on solution only.

Why Chose the ice3 Cube Refrigeration System?

With increasing awareness of the need to pursue an ammonia-free ice rink refrigeration alternative that maximizes every kilowatt hour consumed, Emerald Environmental Technologies ice3 Cubes have developed designs that rely on staging capabilities, variable frequency drives, and reclamation of waste heat to ensure that every dollar is well spent.

We’ve developed a protocol to achieve full HVAC integration with the refrigeration plant itself to provide heating and cooling simultaneously, often eliminating the need for a separate commercial chiller(s), cold/warm water system, and heating and air conditioning or other mechanical systems to serve each purpose necessary when considering an ice rink refrigeration system retrofit or a more efficient refrigeration plant replacement.

The ice3 Cube Solution

Emerald Environmental Technologies’ ice3 Cube System is a custom modular, ammonia-free, ultra-low charge of R410A refrigerant resulting in an eco-friendly commercial refrigeration system for your ice rink or commercial property. You can count on Emerald Environmental Technologies ice3 Cube System to be an efficient, quiet, environmentally friendly, cost effective, and maintenance free solution for an ammonia-free ice rink refrigerant plant to carry your rink safely into the future.

Request a Consultation

The expert team at Emerald Environmental Technologies can help define and customize which ice3 Cube combinations are ideal for your community/municipal/outdoor, upgrade project, or collegiate rink. Emerald Environmental Technologies is based in New England and services the entire east coast up through Canada. Please contact us today to request a free consultation. Email or call 603-238-9249 with questions.