Plate ice machines for snow production: Freezing of plates and possible improvements

Plate ice technology is found to be a good candidate for temperature independent snow production by SINTEF’s analyses, and this research project includes an in-depth study of this technology.  Plate ice technology works by freezing a water film that flows down vertical plates which are cooled from the inside. The plates of ice are released into a crusher in a cyclic process that warms up the plates.

An energy calculation identifies the consumption for each of the components in the plate ice machine, based on thermodynamic calculations and operating data from the machine provider.  A freezing model was created and estimates the thickness of the ice layer over time, based on a variable evaporation temperature.


Defrosting was identified as a «low hanging fruit», both for reduction of energy and for increased capacity. The method used is defrosting by heated gas, where the gas from the compressor outlet is led directly into the freezer plates. The duration is timed without any feedback from the process.  Defrosting makes up a reduction of capacity of 8% and uses 6% of the consumed energy.  Different measures were suggested to alter the strategy for defrosting, such that the speed of production could be increased and the energy consumption lowered.

This research is part of the project “Snow for the future”. The research report was published in 2021. Author is Espen Halvorsen Verpe. Contact person is Cecilia Gabrielli (