How to keep snow ice cool in the desert

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IT IS a chilling task which would probably make many people freeze in their tracks.

But a Yorkshire company is rising to the challenge - and calculating the cost of keeping snow cold in the heat of the desert.

Ski Dubai and the artificial island network of Pearl-Qatar in Doha are both feats of engineering and determination, defying nature as snow is produced in the desert to create the first ever indoor black run, and land is reclaimed from the sea to build the ultimate statement in luxury living.

But they throw up the questions of how much it costs to keep snow cold and how to cool some of the most expensive villas in the world.

Now Contrec Manufacturing (UK) Ltd, an electronics company near Halifax, is supplying dozens of its heat calculators to developments in the Middle East, including at these landmark sites, to monitor the energy consumed in cooling operations.

Pam Casson, managing director of CML, said: “Our instruments are operating in some of the most innovative and dynamic buildings being constructed in the world at the moment.

“It’s amazing to think our heat calculators have been installed in such diverse places as Ski Dubai and Pearl-Qatar as well as the Dubai Metro and the huge international airport just north of Jeddah in Saudi Arabia.”

When Ski Dubai opened in 2005 it became the world’s largest indoor snow park, offering five runs or varying difficulty, height and steepness. The longest run is 400 metres with a descent of 60 metres, making it the first ever indoor black run.

It takes a lot of energy to create enough snow to service the enormous 22,500 square metre construction and keep it cool. Contrec’s instruments have been installed to monitor this energy consumption.

Pearl-Qatar in Doha is one of the most striking developments in the region. When the whole project is complete the Pearl Lagoon will have more than 13 artificially constructed islands, featuring luxury villas, apartments and five star hotels, as well as shops, restaurants and entertainment facilities.

The initial estimated construction cost of the project when it was first revealed in 2004 was $2.5bn, and it is now believed the final cost will be in the region of $15bn.

There are 125 systems operating Contrec’s heat calculator in the Pearl to date.

With a daily average temperature of 36 degrees celsius in the summer, Saudi Arabia needs to keep cool. The King Abdulaziz International Airport, just north of Jeddah, was opened in 1981 and is the country’s busiest airport.

The Hajj Terminal has been designed to handle the vast numbers of pilgrims visiting the country to take part in rituals associated with the annual Hajj and can accommodate 80,000 travellers at the same time.

Contrec’s heat calculators, which are designed to measure the energy consumed in chilled water cooling systems, are working there too.

Contrec was established in Australia in 1980, and quickly began to expand.

It began producing batch controllers for the food and beverage industries, and battery powered instruments for the remote Australian outback where power supplies were unavailable.

With the rise of automation within the petroleum industry, it became one of the leading manufacturers of advanced tanker loading systems for road, rail and barge filling applications.

It began to export around the world, and dedicated offices were set up, including a leading edge facility near Halifax.

Contrec’s products are used in a wide variety of applications.