Theory and research
A fundamental goal for the Norwegian Ski Federation and the Norwegian Biathlon Association, together with their partners, is to contribute to a future where snow is easily accessible for the next generation of skiers and boarders, regardless of if natural snow only exists in the high mountains.
To make this goal possbile, the project “Snow for the future” was started in 2017, and first marketed through the city of Trondheim’s Nordic World Skiing Championship bid. The project is led by SINTEF og NTNU, both World renown research institutions, and with financial backing by the Norwegian Ministry of Sport and Culture. Phase I of the project focused on mapping today’s existing technologies for snow production (especially temperature independent technology), and the potential for improvements.
More detailed information about phase I of “Snow for the future” can be found in it’s final report .
Phase II of the project was financed in 2019, with the goal of researching and developing technologies that can make snow production and snow preservation even more energy efficient, simpler and less expensive. It is also a goal to communicate the project’s knowledge, learnings and new technologies – and with this in mind the “Centre for Snow Competency” was initiated.
The Centre is however just one of the several original “Snow for the future” project goals.
- Develop a novel technology for efficient and environmenly friendly temperature independent snow production with solutions for interim storage in various cases
- Increase the number of skiing days in local communities and centralized facilities to aid in further development of the skiing tradition and culture in Norway and Europe
- Increase the predictability of organizing events, competitions, and activities pertaining to skiing in Norway and Europe
- Secure the future value creation for new technology manufacturers to sustain and further develop skiing destinations in Norway and elsewhere in Europe
- Establish a research platform and competency centre for snow technology and its practical applications, Center of Snow Competency, that will give lasting effects both nationally and internationally
- Generate new jobs and improve public health
For phase II, the main goal is to develop a novel technology for energy-efficient production of artificial snow, including snow production in plus degrees and production independent of the outdoor air temperature. The project focuses on systems and solutions that ensure a sustainable snow production with a limited environmental footprint. Heatpump technology based on environmentally friendly natural freezing elements will be developed, with the focus on utilizing the cold side for snow production and the warm side for the purpose of using or storing heat.
- One possibility is to use the surplus heat from the snow production to heat adjacent buildings, swimming pools, etc. Contrary, it is also possible to use surplus heat from industrial processes or district heating during temperate months of the year for snow production. Such an integrated system also includes storage and reuse of snow.
- In a combined system for snow production and utilization of surplus heat, the produced snow becomes a by-products with minimal use of extra energy. This enables cost efficient snow production in centrally located areas. An illustration of an integrated system with temperature indepedent snow production, storage and reuse of snow, and utilization and delivery of surplus heat is shown below: