TechnoAlpin: Making at limit temperatures - increased power when it really counts
For many ski areas in the northern hemisphere, it’s once again time to start waiting for ideal temperature windows to cover the slopes with snow. At the very beginning of winter, temperatures are often in the limit range and temperature inversions make it even harder at the start of snow season. TechnoAlpin’s analyses have revealed that during the snowmaking phase through to mid-December, more than 70% of snow hours are at wet bulb temperatures between -2C° and -5°C. In order to meet these particular requirements, technology leader TechnoAlpin’s R&D department have spent the past few years focusing heavily on increasing snow output at limit temperatures for both lances as well as fan guns.
INTELLIGENT SOLUTIONS FOR MORE POWER
Improved cooling of compressed air and optimized nucleators in our fan guns contribute to impressive snow output at limit temperatures. Starting with the TR10 model, all new snow guns have a local heat exchanger with an optimized surface. This means that the compressed air is routed around the cold snowmaking water and is cooled from approx. 100°C to approx. 10°C — without using any additional energy. At absolute limit conditions, this clever solution can be the difference between a total standstill and snowmaking operations as usual.
The number of adjustable steps in our lances has been increased, and the nozzle configuration has been adapted to limit ranges to ensure that they work as efficiently as possible throughout the entire temperature range. This increases snow output overall, but particularly at the start of the snow curve - which is where it really counts.
Another significant factor that contributes to efficient snowmaking at limit temperatures is optimized control and planning. Thanks to the latest generation of our ATASSpro software with an integrated weather module, you can precisely identify snow windows for the next few days. Production forecasts in ATASSpro and SNOWMASTER allow you to precisely plan the amount of snow that can be produced over the next few days. State-of-the-art machine learning algorithms work in the background while results are clearly displayed to users. This significantly simplifies resource planning and means that better snow conditions can be recognized even earlier. Ambient temperatures that are cooler by as little as -2°C allow for savings of over 20%.
WATER AND AMBIENT TEMPERATURES
In addition to ambient temperatures, water temperatures also play crucial role when snowmaking at limit temperatures. As a general rule of thumb, a temperature that is 4°C lower corresponds to a wet bulb temperature that is around 1°C lower. If water is cooled like this, snowmaking can start at correspondingly warmer ambient temperatures. This simultaneously increases the system’s efficiency a significant amount. It’s possible to save around 15%. TechnoAlpin cooling towers have a sophisticated operating principle in which the water is cooled as it is distributed over a large area in a honeycomb system. This honeycomb principle keeps energy consumption low and output incredibly high.
All of these intelligent solutions combine to form the strengths of TechnoAlpin’s systems at limit temperatures and simplify work in ski areas at this crucial time of year.