(Yicai Global) March 16 -- Researchers at Peking University (PKU) have developed the first environmentally-friendly above-0 degrees Celsius Chinese snowmaking equipment. It has passed pilot-testing in Yanqing Shijinglong Ski Resort in a far Beijing suburb.
The demonstration prototype can produce six cubic meters of snow per hour. The project has passed snowmaking tests at over 10 degrees C as well as temperatures ranging from 2-3 degrees C, with carbon dioxide as the refrigerant. This equipment runs effectively even when ambient temperatures linger above zero, Beijing Daily reported.
The equipment produces white fluffy snowflakes quite like natural ones, with moisture content adjustable on demand, said Zheng Qiuyun, a developer and associate researcher in PKU's engineering school. Heat the snowmaking machine generates can also be recycled directly for athletes' showers, indoor heating and other daily uses. The equipment's capacity can also be raised to 80 to 150 cubic meters per hour, Zheng added.
The 2022 Winter Olympic Games and Winter Paralympic Games are slated for February to March 2022 in Beijing and nearby Zhangjiakou in China's east-central Hebei province. This snowmaker will ensure the smooth running of the games even in relatively warm conditions. Machines that create snow in an over 2-degree C environment are available at home and abroad but are very sensitive to weather. Most use Freon, which harms the ozone sphere and raises atmospheric temperatures. Existing above-0 degrees C snowmaking machines are really icemakers that shred the cubes they generate into small frozen particles, rather than making real snowflakes, and the hard surface they produce may injure athletes.