Case Study: USCS Safely Cuts GHG Emissions While Reducing Electrical Costs

January 19, 2023 Blog Articles, Case Studies, Cold Storage

United States Cold Storage (USCS) is one of the top refrigerated warehousing and related logistics services companies operating throughout North America.  Their Tulare South facility is a 116,482 square foot frozen food warehouse located in the agriculturally focused Inland Empire of Southern California.  The state of California has committed to reaching a goal of 100% renewable and zero-carbon electricity by 2045, and USCS is just as committed to reducing their energy usage. To help California meet its energy demand reduction goals, USCS set out to focus on energy efficiency and better temperature control in their energy-intensive warehouses.

Operations managers at USCS face daily energy use challenges.  To help alleviate these issues, USCS chose their Tulare South location to explore options with energy-saving technologies.  The goals were to safely meet California’s energy demand reduction initiatives by lowering demand and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions while also addressing energy-use concerns, decreasing costs, and increasing sustainability and resiliency.

USCS adopted Thermal Energy Storage (TES) technology to reduce their carbon footprint and lower their energy costs.  Viking Cold Solutions installed energy meters, sensors, and controls throughout Tulare South’s temperature-controlled warehouse to monitor its operations and performance.  Viking Cold then installed energy storage modules containing environmentally friendly Phase Change Material (PCM) which, when combined with cloud-based optimization algorithms, allowed Tulare South to control when and how it uses and procures energy.  The facility’s digitization, energy storage, and cloud-based optimization allows Viking Cold to continuously assess and improve the performance of USCS’s frozen food warehouse.

By utilizing Viking Cold’s TES technology and optimization services, USCS lowered Tulare South’s peak period demand by more than 30% and refrigeration energy consumption by 25%, resulting in an annual carbon footprint reduction of over 350 tons at this facility.  The frozen food warehouse not only increased energy efficiency but also increased temperature stability in the freezer by over 40%, better protecting the food.

Operators of cold storage facilities, businesses with refrigeration loads, and utilities that need to control peak demands on the electrical grid all stand to gain significantly from Thermal Energy Storage.  USCS Tulare South is a prime example of how TES technology effectively lowers energy demand and consumption while improving temperature stability in cold storage facilities.  As a result, operational costs are reduced, product is protected, and environmental effects are minimized.

For a more detailed account of Thermal Energy Storage and its benefits, download the USCS Tulare South Case Study.


Viking Cold Receives Top Tech Startup Award

December 20, 2022 Awards, Blog Articles

Viking Cold Solutions has been awarded the first-ever Top Tech Startup Award by Food Logistics and Supply & Demand Chain Executive. This award recognizes top software and technology startups in the supply chain and logistics industry.

According to Food Logistics and Supply & Demand Chain Executive, technology and software companies are leading the way in supply chain innovation. Many of today’s tech startups are positioned to significantly disrupt the supply chain space with their innovations in artificial intelligence, robotics, fulfillment execution, and real-time visibility.

“The future of the supply chain industry is directly impacted by the development of these new technologies, and I’m very excited to see what’s next for these winners,” says editor-in-chief of Food Logistics and Supply & Demand Chain Executive, Marina Mayer.

Viking Cold Solutions is honored to be included amongst the industry’s top disrupters. Our technology empowers solutions and services that significantly reduce GHG emissions, operational costs, and business risk for cold storage operations with high refrigeration-based energy loads. Our focus is to make cold storage systems more sustainable, efficient, and resilient for the world.

To view the full list of Top Tech Startup Award winners, visit the Food Logistics and Supply & Demand Chain Executive websites.

For more information on Viking Cold’s award-winning technology, and how it can reduce energy consumption and increase the sustainability of your cold storage facilities, contact us today!


Isla Frio Partners with Viking Cold for Hurricane Resiliency

September 23, 2022 Blog Articles, Cold Storage

Isla Frio’s cold storage facility, in Cidra on the island of Puerto Rico, was well prepared with a back-up generator and fully charged Thermal Energy Storage (TES) when Hurricane Fiona made landfall on Sunday, September 18th.  The island was overwhelmed by historic amounts of rainfall, ranging from 6 to 20 inches, with some areas receiving over 3 feet of rain from the storm.  As the days progressed, Hurricane Fiona strengthened and left the entire island without power.  Fortunately, the resilient combination of TES and back up generation allowed Isla Frio to maintain their required safe temperatures throughout the storm – and for days longer than other facilities – by running the generator only during the day and turning it off at night to save diesel. In fact, diesel consumption was reduced by over 50% and extended the time the generator could run from 6 days to over 12 days.

Chart 1 – Isla Frio’s Main Freezer Temperature from September 5 – 23
Source: Viking Cold Solutions’ Cold Chain PortalTM

In Chart 1, the change to the temperature settings to a -10 Fahrenheit setpoint before the hurricane is clear on September the 10th.  This provided fully charged Thermal Energy Storage to work intermittently with Isla Frio’s generator and allowed Isla Frio to maintain safe temperatures throughout the hurricane without products ever passing -5 degrees Fahrenheit – even without any power.  Isla Frio kept their clients’ products safe and were immediately able to help feed the people of Puerto Rico during their time of need.  As a trusted partner to dozens of Puerto Rico’s food storage and distribution businesses, Viking Cold Solutions was there before Hurricane Fiona, during the storm, and now to help the island recover by providing resilient, safe, and energy efficient temperature control technology.

Chart 2 – Isla Frio’s Cooler & Freezer Temperatures from September 18 – 23

Source: Viking Cold Solutions’ Cold Chain PortalTM

Isla Frio’s TES system maintained facility temperatures day after day, as pictured in Chart 2, even when there was no power available by providing supplemental refrigeration and intelligent control.  The TES technology reduced temperature stratification and cut temperature fluctuations while absorbing and consolidating 50% to 85% of heat infiltration.  Our 24/7 remote monitoring and notification service kept our clients at Isla Frio well informed about their facility during the storm and provided valuable data for effective decision making.

As Hurricane Fiona churns its way past Bermuda, Viking Cold Solutions was already there working with our clients to again weather the storm.  We’re relieved that our Puerto Rico clients are recovering quickly with our resilient technology and look forward to helping more businesses get through extreme weather and manage expensive, intermittent electricity.  Whether it’s a hurricane, equipment failure, forest fires, or other natural or man-made disasters, Viking Cold Solutions’ resilient sustainability technology is there to help.  For more information about how our TES technology can help your facility, click here.

Today Is World Energy Storage Day!

September 22, 2022 Blog Articles, Energy Storage

Energy storage is a rapidly evolving technology and has been advancing to the forefront of the electrical industry, shifting the focus to the effective integration of renewable energy.  Various international enterprises recognized the increasing value of energy storage and have created World Energy Storage Day to commemorate its significance.  This global movement is celebrated on September 22nd every year by policy officials, associations, and industries working to promote and adopt energy storage, e-mobility, and green technology for a more sustainable future.

According to the Energy Storage Association, energy storage is an enabling technology; it saves consumers money, improves reliability and resilience, integrates generation sources, and helps reduce environmental impacts.  It’s a key element for the entire grid, augmenting resources from wind, solar, and hydropower as well as nuclear and fossil fuels, demand-side resources, and system efficiency assets.  By tapping into energy storage during outages, businesses can continue normal operations and avoid costly disruptions.  When demand shifts and baseload resources can’t react quickly enough, energy storage can inject or extract energy to match the load as needed, making the grid more responsive and reducing the need to build backup power plants.

The effectiveness of energy storage is based on its ability to respond quickly to changes in demand, the rate at which energy is lost during the storage process, the total amount of energy it can store, and the speed at which it can be recharged.  More than 90% of global grid battery storage is dominated by lithium-ion batteries, which are today’s most widely used battery storage alternative, reports the Environmental and Energy Study Institute.  However, there are multiple types of energy storage that can provide large-storage capacities, such as pumped hydro, compressed air, and thermal.

With the rapid development of energy storage, business owners and policymakers are looking towards more environmentally friendly sources of energy storage beyond lithium-ion batteries.  According to Precedence Research, the global energy storage systems market size is projected to surpass $435 billion by 2030 and grow at a CAGR of over 8% from 2022 to 2030.

Record investments in energy storage are being fueled by declining costs and new incentives.  As reported by the Environmental Defense Fund, costs for energy storage have declined by 74% since 2013 and are projected to decline 8% per year through the mid 2020s.

In fact, the cost of some storage has decreased so quickly that many utilities are switching to renewable energy combined with storage instead of investing in expensive new natural gas power plants.  Over the next ten years, combining energy storage with renewable energy sources could completely change the way we purchase, sell, and utilize energy.  State and Federal laws, such as the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022, are also opening new market opportunities and revenue streams, which will be the primary driver of growth outside of cost.  Incentives can bridge market gaps and assist in further market adoption.

In the U.S., certain industries such as cold storage, consume over $50 billion in energy annually.  Refrigeration energy cost is one of the top operating expenses which drives demand from operators for energy reduction technologies.  These businesses include over 4,200 cold storage warehouses, more than 40,000 grocery store freezers, and over 620,000 restaurant freezers.  To help these businesses, Viking Cold Solutions developed and commercialized thermal energy storage technologies that offer both sustainability benefits and deliver proven 20% to 35% energy savings in temperature-controlled environments.

With the growing concern over the prices of fossil fuels, their environmental impacts, and the capacity and resilience of energy grids around the world, stakeholders are increasingly turning their attention to energy storage solutions.  To learn about how thermal energy storage technology reduces energy use and carbon emissions while increasing resiliency, click here.

New Law Promotes Transformative Changes in Clean Energy

August 31, 2022 Blog Articles

The clean energy landscape dramatically shifted due to the signing of the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 on August 16th.  This new law significantly increases the tax incentives available for energy transition initiatives and technology while removing many of the roadblocks that have hindered the United States’ shift to cleaner energy.  Certain industries will see a major rise in financing due to these new regulations, which will alter how capital is managed and invested, tax credits are monetized, and clean energy projects are financed.

$369 billion will be spent on climate and clean energy initiatives, including tax subsidies for electric and renewable vehicles, investments in U.S. production of sustainable technologies, and environmental justice.  The Act also authorizes the Department of Energy to issue guarantees of up to $250 billion for clean energy projects.  Norton Rose Fulbright notes that these fall under three types of energy infrastructure projects.  One type is projects that retool, repower, reuse, or replace outdated energy infrastructure.  Another is attempting to make energy infrastructure operational so that air pollution or greenhouse gas emissions can be avoided, reduced, used, or sequestered.  The third type of projects consist of initiatives to repair environmental harm brought on by energy infrastructure.

The Act is also extending the project eligibility to dedicated energy storage and geothermal energy.  According to J.P. Morgan, solar and wind production have been down the last few years in part due to the uncertainty surrounding the renewable Investment Tax Credits (ITCs) and Production Tax Credits.  However, with the Inflation Reduction Act, we can expect to see an increase in wind and solar production.  Additionally, there will be a new standalone 30% investment tax credit for energy storage, particularly battery, pumped hydro, and thermal.  Wood Mackenzie predicts that a 30% storage Investment Tax Credit would lead to a 20-25% rise in U.S. storage deployments over the next five years.  Many analogies have been made to the solar business, where, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association, the Investment Tax Credit was one of the most important government policy tools for fostering industry growth.  The solar industry has expanded by more than 10,000% since the ITCs implementation in 2006.

The Inflation Reduction Act further offers long-term tax credit incentives for a wide range of renewable energy technologies.  These incentives represent a considerable improvement over the current energy tax credit programs, which were only applicable to a restricted number of technologies and have been the subject of continuous phase-out and extension cycles during the past two decades.  With the guarantee of a long-term and steady tax credit through at least the next ten years, the majority of clean energy technologies, such as wind, solar, biomass, thermal, and carbon capture, are now more financially viable.  A variety of innovative energy transition technologies that had not previously qualified for tax credits are now eligible for subsidies under the Act, including energy storage projects, clean energy manufacturing facilities, hydrogen projects that adhere to minimum carbon emission standards, biogas production facilities, and current nuclear power plants.

With new incentives for energy storage, companies such as ours can more cost effectively deploy energy saving technologies to more clients and industries.  The Inflation Reduction Act will open many doors for energy storage and those interested in temperature control and thermal energy management.  With our Thermal Energy Storage, Viking Cold has developed the only proven, environmentally friendly way to store renewable energy in the refrigerated and temperature-control industries.  We look forward to using the provisions of the Inflation Reduction Act to help businesses to be more efficient and reduce their carbon footprint while lowering their energy costs up to 50%.

Whatever its other impacts, the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 is the broadest ranging legislation to address sustainability and decarbonization of the energy sector in our lifetime.  To read the Inflation Reduction Act in full, click here.  For more information on how thermal energy storage can help manage refrigeration energy costs, click here.

How Viking Cold Can Help Your Energy Efficiency Goals

April 27, 2022 Blog Articles, Case Studies, Energy Storage

Energy costs around the U.S. have been climbing leaving consumers wondering “how high will they go?” States such as Hawaii, Massachusetts, and California have the highest electricity rates in the country, with California as the second-largest energy consumer in the nation after Texas. In the last five years, electricity costs in the Los Angeles area exceeded the national average by 34% or more since 2018 – see Chart 1.

Chart 1: ­Average prices for electricity U.S. & Los Angeles

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Despite California’s high-energy consumption, its per capita energy consumption is less than most states due in part to its mild climate and its energy efficiency programs. The Golden State primarily produces electricity from solar, geothermal, and biomass energy, making it one of the most energy-efficient states in the country – but that isn’t enough for California. The state has committed to reaching a goal of 100% renewable and zero-carbon electricity by 2045, and the California Energy Commission (CEC) is leading the way.

The CEC supports energy research and development programs to spur innovation in energy efficiency and has lately completed a major study on the route to zero net energy (ZNE), which includes Viking Cold Solutions’ Thermal Energy Storage (TES) in the blueprint for a path to net zero emissions for commercial buildings. The Viking Cold TES system was installed in the walk-in grocery freezer at a San Francisco Whole Foods store. This installation included Phase Change Materials (PCM) mounted on the ceiling of the walk-in freezer as well as cloud-based intelligent controls integrated with the existing refrigeration controls.

According to the report, refrigeration accounts for a majority of the store’s electrical load, therefore thermal PCM, also known as thermal energy storage or TES, is a promising method for storing small amounts of excess energy. TES allows refrigeration compressors to run less often when energy costs are high (and energy production is low) and to run more often and store thermal energy when energy costs are low (and there is excess generation). This reduces cycling of the compressors and refrigeration energy costs, ultimately improving the efficiency of existing refrigeration systems. This is done by increasing the percentage of the total refrigeration run time that occurs during hours with lower ambient temperatures, thereby running the compressors at higher efficiency levels – see Chart 2.

Chart 2: ­Plot comparing the predicted baseline energy with post-retrofit energy consumption for Viking Cold System

Source: CEC Report, Figure D-9

TES technology combines intelligence with PCM to maximize the energy efficiency of the refrigeration system. Viking Cold PCM cells add thermal mass to a room, providing the ability to hold designated temperatures for much longer periods, which helps reduce refrigeration runtimes. Intelligent controls and an energy-management system help maintain a constant temperature and alert operators about any mechanical malfunction or power outage. The CEC study concluded that TES technology produced 25% energy savings and was proven as an applicable energy conservation measure to help achieve California’s energy efficiency goals. The results of this study were released by the CEC as a blueprint for a successful path to ZNE commercial buildings in California, but this blueprint could easily be one for the entire world.

Read more about Viking Cold’s approach to cold storage efficiency here. For additional information about the CEC study, click here.

Viking Cold Solutions Wins pv magazine’s Sustainability Award

March 29, 2022 Awards, Blog Articles

pv magazine recently recognized Viking Cold Solutions as the 2021 Sustainability Award winner for its innovative Thermal Energy Storage (TES) technology and services. This accolade is awarded to companies with technological innovations and groundbreaking solutions in the solar and energy storage industries.

An independent panel of jurors cited the energy efficiency and the scalability of the company’s TES technology as two of the reasons Viking Cold was selected over hundreds of other companies vying for awards. This international recognition of TES technology’s contributions to greater efficiency and reduction of greenhouse gas emissions from energy-intensive temperature-controlled facilities supports Viking Cold’s core mission:

To transform refrigeration by reducing its carbon footprint, operating costs, food loss, and electrical grid impacts using innovative Thermal Energy Storage technology and services.

The Sustainability Award was presented to Viking Cold during a globally live-streamed ceremony from Berlin, Germany, in February.

View full video: here.

During the event, pv magazine’s panel discussion with Viking Cold’s CEO, James Bell, further revealed that TES technology offers an effective and sustainable solution to a major environmental challenge: food degradation and waste. In fact, Viking Cold has developed the only proven, environmentally-friendly way to store solar energy in the cold storage industry.

James commented, “TES allows energy-intensive refrigeration equipment in C&I facilities to be cycled down during peak hours of the day, effectively cutting the production of carbon emissions and reducing carbon footprint by tens of thousands of metric tons.” Users can expect improved temperature stability and to save up to 50% on their energy expenses while improving their refrigeration system efficiency by 20% to 30%.

With a 20-year system life and no mechanical components, TES is an effective solution to managing demand and storing solar or other renewable energy in the cold chain. “This is an ingenious and very efficient solution to solar’s ‘duck curve’ problem and we hope to see widespread deployment,” said one juror from the selection committee.

Read more about Viking Cold’s approach to cold storage efficiency here. For more details on our recent awards and milestones, check out our latest press release. And for more information about a TES solution for your facility, contact us here.

Another successful TES installation for a sustainability focused 3PL company

January 28, 2022 Blog Articles, Case Studies, Cold Storage, Energy Storage, News Articles, Supermarket

Initial results show 20%-30% energy savings on a recent deployment of Thermal Energy Storage technology in a US Cold facility in Tulare, California.

US Cold references the energy saving and carbon reducing technology in their quarterly newsletter- the Shield- accessible here.

Here at Viking Cold we are excited that another world class company has embraced the energy and cost savings of TES technology and the sustainability and carbon reduction that it provides to the cold chain which consumes more electricity than any other source except lighting.

#sustainability #carbonreduction #vikingcoldsolutions

Another Successful, Sustainable Thermal Energy Storage Installation in Mexico

October 8, 2021 All News, Blog Articles, Case Studies, Cold Storage, Energy Storage

Viking Cold has successfully installed another Thermal Energy Storage (TES) and refrigeration optimization system inside a third-party logistics frozen food warehouse in Mexico. Our client, Frigoríficos ARCOSA, is a leading cold storage provider with distribution centers across Mexico and has over three decades of experience providing temperature-controlled solutions and support services to their food & beverage and retail clients. They are also proud members of the Global Cold Chain Alliance (GCCA).

Operating energy-intensive refrigerated facilities in Mexico presents many challenges. Not only do operators like ARCOSA have to deal with the expected business and logistical challenges of cold storage, but the energy market in Mexico has variability which creates difficulties for operations budgets and profitability. After payroll, energy related expenses are typically the second highest cost for cold storage facilities, and refrigeration can be up to 90% of their energy costs. Without technologies and strategies that add energy flexibility, variable energy prices can negatively impact the bottom line.

In Mexico, like many other places around the globe, energy prices vary based on time-of-use with consumption and demand charges significantly higher during peak periods and intermediate peak periods (sometimes referred to as partial peak periods). Because cold storage warehouses must maintain temperatures to protect food quality, technologies that safely reduce refrigeration energy consumption and demand during Mexico’s high-priced periods without loss of temperature control are critical to cold storage profitability.

With these needs in mind, ARCOSA approached Viking Cold to see if refrigeration optimization and TES technology with Phase Change Material (PCM) could provide the energy flexibility needed to reduce energy costs and GHG emissions in their refrigerated warehouses in Mexico. Viking Cold first evaluated their 64,000 square foot freezer in Juquila.

At the time of evaluation and installation, this plant experienced intermediate peak prices up to 17 hours per day and peak prices up to four hours per day with some seasonal variations. The operating strategy had three goals:

  1. Minimize energy demand (kW) and reduce energy consumption (kWh) during each of the seasonal peak periods and intermediate periods
  2. Maintain temperature protocols
  3. Not increase energy use during any period

An interface between existing refrigeration controls and Viking Cold’s refrigeration optimization software was implemented, additional sensors were added, and TES modules containing PCM specifically engineered to the warehouse’s temperature requirements were easily integrated into the existing warehouse infrastructure.

Results have exceeded expectations, since installation of the TES and refrigeration optimization solutions:

  • Demand reductions over 380 kW during all peak periods
  • Annual weather-normalized consumption reduction of over 400,000 kWh – the equivalent of 280 metric tons of GHG emissions
  • Temperatures held within requirements
  • Approximately $120,000 (MEX$2,400,000) of annual savings at current energy prices

ARCOSA owner and President Gabriel Guzman noted, “ARCOSA’s partnership with Viking Cold has begun with positive results for both cost reductions and sustainability improvements that we hope to replicate in our other facilities.”

The flexibility Viking Cold provided to manage when and how their refrigeration system uses electricity has provided ARCOSA with confidence that when energy market changes do occur, they have technology-enabled flexibility that reduces energy risks and improves the sustainability of their cold chain operations.

North American Clean Energy: Why Refrigerated Warehouses Need Long-Duration Thermal Energy Storage

July 16, 2021 Cold Storage, Energy Storage, News Articles, Utility & Grid

North American Clean Energy has published an article by Viking Cold’s Director of Marketing, Damon Vance, that discusses how many commercial & industrial (C&I) refrigerated warehouses across the country are contributing to solutions for some of the challenges on the electrical grid. The C&I facilities in the cold chain, when utilizing energy storage and refrigeration optimization solutions like Viking Cold’s, represent a significant opportunity to help reach the goals of utility operators and the Biden Administration’s $36 billion decarbonization plan. By enabling cold chain facilities with added sustainability, resiliency, and flexibility operators of both cold storage and the electrical grid can reduce costs and GHG emissions.

Read the article or contact Viking Cold to learn more about the intense electrical load, aging infrastructure, and rapid growth rate of the refrigerated cold chain and how new technologies like Thermal Energy Storage (TES) are helping them improve refrigeration efficiencies, reduce their carbon footprint, and contribute to the growth of renewable energy sources as we enter the energy transition.

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