Case studies

Project: „Ski Dubai“ / United Arab Emirates

Planning / Implementation / Main components

Plate heat exchangers manufactured by Alfa Laval Lund, Sweden; supplied by Alfa Laval Middle East, Dubai Screw compressors by GEA Grasso GmbH


Ammonia (NH3)

System start-up

November 2006

„Ski Dubai“ is the world's third largest indoor snow park and offers a wide range of winter sporting activities for up to 1,500 visitors on premises covering 22,500 m². The snow park has five skiing slopes, covered with more than 6,000 t of snow that is cooled by an ammonia refrigerating system.


The objective was to ensure environment-friendly and efficient refrigeration.


The snow is cooled by a glycol circuit which is connected to the refrigerant circulation of the machine by two Alfa Laval plate heat exchangers. At an evaporation temperature of -22°C, the ammonia cools the secondary refrigerant to -15°C. The glycol is then transported through a piping system 100 km in length that runs through the building floor under the layer of snow which is one metre thick. In addition, the glycol circuit feeds the 29 air coolers in the ceiling of the building, which keep the temperature in the snow park at a level of -1 to -2°C during opening hours. After midnight, the air temperature is lowered to -8°C for production of 30 t of new snow, which happens every night. Water is cooled down to 1°C in a water chiller and then pumped to the snow canons. The heart of the refrigerating machine consists of three Grasso screw compressors. A computer control system adjusts the output of the compressors exactly to the refrigerating demand, thus reducing their energy consumption. Further potential for saving energy is offered by the insulation which turns the snow park into a giant cool box. Walls that are 5 m thick warrant that the generated cold remains in the building, keeping the snow park at low cost at temperatures below freezing point. In this way, energy accounts for less than ten percent of the total operating costs.

Technical data:


Type of facility

Indirect ammonia refrigerating plant



Refrigerant volume

6 t

Secondary refrigerant


Refrigerating capacity

2,600 kW

Main components:

3 screw compressors by Grasso, 2 plate heat exchangers by Alfa Laval, 29 air coolers

Special features / Comments:

The whole refrigeration process also benefits the adjoining Mall of the Emirates: the 30 to 40 t of "old snow" which are replaced by new snow every night in "Ski Dubai" are recycled to water in a melting pit. The cold water is then used for air-conditioning in the shopping centre and for irrigation of the adjoining gardens.



Alfa Laval Middle East
Kevin John Koshy
P O Box 21467
Dubai, U.A.E.

Phone: +971 4 347 1200
Mobile: +971 50 845 8640 Fax: +971 4 347 1302
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