Snowmaking System Design * Research & Development * Investigations * Energy Based Mountain Information
The Snowman Newsletter – Spring 2012
(The application of rational thought and science for demystifying the snowmaking process)
Winter 2011 – The Winter that was Not… The glorious Spring and early Summer weather of 2012 has certainly removed this past winter from our immediate memory. However, a state of denial of the recent weather patterns is not recommended. It is worthwhile to consider the possibility of a repeat in this warm weather pattern – so what is the plan? The weather elves continue to dance with their computer models for the long range forecast. These models are based on past weather data that is then used to predict future weather patterns. The success rate of these long range forecasts is known to every astute snowmaking supervisor, manager and weather observer – they are dismal and truly of little use for operational purposes.
The immediate summer forecast is pretty straightforward – hot and dry for most of the US, with early signs of drought appearing. Will this continue into the fall and early winter? Well based on last winter as an extreme measure, gear up your systems for maximum early season production and take advantage of every window as temperatures permit. This may be the year that you realize the value of a water-cooling system. If it turns out the temperatures reverse themselves to the cold side you are then ahead of the game. Some interesting links follow.
Long Range Forecast from the weather elves – wait until Sept/Oct.
2012 Summer and Fall Forecast from Astromet.
Seals gather water temp data under Antarctic ice.
Various opinions on upcoming winter weather.
EnergenX Battery Chargers… New Product Introduction - With sustainability, waste reduction and energy efficiency being at the forefront of ski area green marketing efforts, there are a rash of new products that make claims, that at times, are too good to be true. In one line of research MVT came across a product that claimed to rejuvenate and repair most lead acid batteries back to brand new performance specs utilizing a unique process and electronics differing from standard chargers. After speaking with the company we purchased a charger and put it through its paces utilizing seemingly dead batteries that were slated for disposal. With a high degree of skepticism we used this charger on a dozen lead acid batteries of various amp-hour ratings. MVT tested and documented the results over a three-month period while continuing to improve upon the test methodology.
MVT managed to salvage nine of those batteries, which were returned to service in motorcycles, four wheelers, garden tractors and even a truck. MVT’s Toyota Tacoma received a rejuvenated battery for proof testing back in the first week of June – since then the rejuvenated battery has operated flawlessly while in daily use without any starting problems!!!
According to the manufacturer, this charger will dissolve all the Lead Sulphates on the internal plates in an old battery with successive use. The build up of heavy sulphation on battery plates is due to the constant discharge and then recharge by ordinary charging methods ultimately resulting in battery failure. Ordinary chargers do not completely desulphate the battery plates. Regular use of the EnergenX charger will prolong the service life and power of existing good batteries! Without a persistent heavy coating of lead sulphate a battery will perform until the plates deform or fall apart.
An interesting side note is that a battery being charged with the Energenx technology does not heat up – it stays cool to the touch. During the charging process the battery exhibits a subtle inner vibration that is apparent to the light touch.
MVT is convinced that this technology has a multitude of uses at all ski areas – auxiliary lift motors, snowmobiles, four wheelers, vehicles, grooming tractors, golf carts, emergency power supplies, solar panels, etc.
Prime Benefits - Extended battery life, lower life cycle costs and a reduced hazardous waste stream.
Contact MVT for more information and pricing on this groundbreaking product from EnergenX. Available as trickle charger and main line charger for various DC voltages applicable to lead acid (wet and gel cell), NiMh and NiCad batteries.
ICE*NOT Snowmaking Tower Tube Water Deflector… New Product from MVT that solves existing snowmaking operational issues.
Existing Problem: Standard air-water snowmaking towers operate under all wind conditions. This creates common blowback of snow crystals onto the tower tube that stick, melt and trickle down the tube, this water then drips from the tower tube onto the tower mount and adjusting mechanism. In most instances this water will freeze into a relatively solid mass requiring removal by mechanical means (hammer) or by heating with a propane torch.
Simple Solution: MVT’s ICE*NOT is designed to deflect water away from the snowmaking tower tube and eliminate/greatly reduce the water that freezes onto the mounting and adjusting mechanism. This product is designed to be snowmaker proof and easily installed onto the lower end of the tower tube. The ICE*NOT is manufactured in the USA from a high-density polyurethane compound that retains its strength in all snowmaking temperatures. Simple mounting with a U-bolt and stainless steel clamp. Available in basic black with option for other colors.
Contact MVT for more information and pricing on this innovative product.
Check out the videos of the Water Deflector in action at our backyard studio. This was fun!
Dissa and Data… The Internet can be very useful at times with information that just a few years ago was unobtainable. MVT was sent a link to an almost real time wind sight that allows the user a first hand look at the wind direction patterns in a national view or zoomed neighborhood. Great for tracking major changes of weather or just staring at all the little moving arrows. Very, Very Cool.
Wind Patterns http://hint.fm/wind/
Snowmaking Factoids… The standard design value for an acre-foot of snow is 200,000 gallons of water. This value at times is conservative and at other times optimistic. The value is variable due to various ice crystal sizes produced at different temperatures under changing snowmaking conditions. The height of the snowmaking tower along with wind speed and direction further complicate the issue. Snowmaking tests under good conditions will yield much better values, however the real world always is a reality check.
Tall Low E towers with a single water nozzle setup and fixed air flow operate well in a relatively narrow band of temperature. For example, if this setup is calibrated for the warm upper temperature range of a maximum of 250 F then the water particle, as it freezes, will start off as relatively large, as the temperature drops it will diminish in size until it becomes a dust like particle at about 180 F – the actual usable range is a span of 5 to 6 degrees. One can note the transition to snow dust by the position, size and height of the cloud produced by the tower. In extreme cases hardly any snow will land on the desired snowmaking trail, so in this instance the acre-foot value would be very, very high – ludicrous. Shut the darn thing off or switch water jets.
This is one of the major reasons for multiple stages on Low E towers and electric fan guns. Watch the cloud and adjust accordingly.
Mountain View Technologies, Inc. and the Snowman have provided innovative, practical and technology-based solutions for over 25 years. Let our experience and expertise work for you and your area in providing solid design concepts and management tools that can create a positive impact on your snowmaking energy demand and operational costs.
The contents of this newsletter are solely the research, thoughts and opinions of Yaroslav Stanchak, aka The Snowman, and are in no way indicative of any other perceived reality that the reader may be involved in.