According to the article in The New York Times, resurfacers first ran on gasoline, then diesel fuel, then propane. Busy ice rinks have to be resurfaced hourly, and fossil-fuel-powered resurfacers pose even greater problems by emitting fumes that can linger in a closed arena.
Although they are cheaper to run, electric resurfacing machines are expensive, selling at $160,000--about twice the amount a propane model costs.
The article quotes Denis Hainault, director of ice sports for the Vancouver Organizing Committee, as saying the electric resurfacers are "one of the pillers of the Olympic movement to be sustainable as much as possible." The Vancouver Olympics committee has ordered 17 electric machines so far, which are being leased by Resurfice.
As someone who's definitely looking forward to the 2010 Games (I already have my tickets!), I'm even more excited by the thought of going to a green Olympics! Look out for my review blog in 2010...