Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS


SnowRESolution Report Summary

Project ID: 756998

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - SnowRESolution (All-Weather Snow machine driven by Renewable Energy Sources)

Reporting period: 2017-02-01 to 2018-01-31

Summary of the context and overall objectives of the project

The economy of the ski and mountain industry is dependent on the randomness and unreliability of snowfall. Ski resorts must counteract the lack of natural snow to guarantee that they can open during the busiest tourist seasons. Snow making machines currently available in the market are both costly economically and for the environment. We resolve these issues by offering a clean-tech snowmaking machine, producing snow of the highest quality. Furthermore, our machine can operate in temperatures above 0°C, in all-weather conditions, and therefore it produces snow even when traditional snowmakers (fans and cannons) cannot. The proprietary technology is based on a steam jet ejector chiller (SJEC) and uses the triple point of water. The thermal energy for the ejector can be provided by solar collectors or by a biomass steam boiler. Water is the only working fluid in the entire refrigeration system as there are no chemical additives, which guarantees an ecologically friendly concept for the snow supply. Thermal energy for the machine is provided by renewable energy sources, which may be either a solar thermal collector or a biomass steam boiler.

Work performed from the beginning of the project to the end of the period covered by the report and main results achieved so far

Within the project so far, we have scaled-up the production capacity of the snow machine to 2 m3/h, and in the process optimising one of our key components – the crystallizer. We have set up the assembly line at our facilities in Rovereto and produced one 1.5 m3/h machine and two 2 m3/h machines. We installed the 1.5 m3/h machine in-field in Val Gardena where it was operated for four months during the summer. It demonstrated snow production above 0°C and successfully met its planned production capacity. The 1.5 m3/h machine was also showcased at the InterAlpin ski industry fair where we raised interest from potential customers and industry stakeholders. Finally, we have also secured two pilot sites for the validation of the final machine to be produced during the second reporting period.

Progress beyond the state of the art and expected potential impact (including the socio-economic impact and the wider societal implications of the project so far)

Climate change has caused an increase in average temperature and a decrease of the frequency of snowfalls, is also expected to increase the occurrence of drought and warm periods when traditional snowmaking is not achievable. Producing snow at temperatures above 0°C will extend the time during which snowmaking can be performed and therefore offers the chance to extend the opening season of ski resorts. This will protect the revenues of ski resort and stakeholders in the ski business, and the jobs of hundreds thousands of people employed in the industry. SnowRESolution is the only snowmaker that can be powered by renewable energy sources, which decreases the operating costs for the ski resorts and reduces the environmental impact of snow making (less energy consumption and less carbon emission). By the end of the project, we expect to have a successfully commercialised snow making machine with production capacity of 4 m3/h.

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