The Town of Amherst took another important step towards being a greener community when it took possession of its first-ever, electric-powered Zamboni on Monday, March 14, 2022.
“Town council and staff are committed to making Amherst a greener community. It’s one of our strategic priorities,” Mayor David Kogon said.
“This new electric-powered Zamboni helps us reduce our greenhouse gas emissions and, along with other green projects that we have and are undertaking, helps the Town of Amherst become an even more environmentally friendly community.”
The $200,000 machine, purchased from Saunders Equipment Ltd. of Fredericton, replaces a natural-gas-powered Zamboni that has cleaned the ice surface at the Amherst Stadium for the past 17 years. Included in the purchase price was the electric charger and a laser ice-levelling system.
To the fans in the stands, the new machine will look very similar to the one it is replacing, but there is one big difference – the way the machine is powered. Instead of a natural-gas-powered engine, the new Zamboni is powered by sealed lithium batteries that do not require maintenance, are emission free and carry the same life expectancy of a gas-powered engine.
“This machine can be charged at any time,” Everette Tucker, a service advisor with Saunders Equipment Ltd., said. “You bring the machine off the ice and plug it in kind of like your cellphone. Normally, with a 10-minute flood, it takes about 15 minutes to recharge it.”
The fans will notice the new machine is much quieter as it works. What they may not notice is the fact that no carbon dioxide emissions emanate from the machine while it resurfaces the ice.
“The elimination of emissions will make the Amherst Stadium a much healthier, safer and enjoyable experience for the fans and the athletes,” Kogon said. “It also creates a cleaner space for our employees to work in.”
The fans may notice a large pole attached to the new Zamboni. It’s part of the laser-levelling system that will ensure the stadium’s ice surface is very level.
“The system basically takes the adjustment of the blade out of the hands of the operator and takes the guesswork out of it for the operator as they will no longer have to adjust the blade while driving. The system will do it for them automatically,” Tucker said.
The machine also boasts a system that cleans the tires by a push of a button and has a system that washes the ice before the final flood.
“The machine cuts the ice, then washes it. In this process, water is pumped onto the ice. This water lifts the cut ice and any debris, such as lint from hockey socks, off the surface of the ice and then the dirty water is sucked back into the machine into a separate container before the ice is flooded with warm water,” Tucker said. “This results in a very clean, shiny ice surface.
Staff received training on the new machine on Tuesday, March 15, 2022.
Funding for the machine is coming from the town’s operating reserves instead of long-term debt as originally planned. As a result, the town is saving about $43,000 in debt interest costs over the next 15 years.