POWER Magazine’s Associate Editor Darrell Proctor recently published an article focused on the rebuilding of Puerto Rico’s electrical grid after a number of devastating hurricanes including Hurricane Maria in 2017. “The Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority has embarked on a $20 billion plan to rebuild the island’s power grid. The initiative includes a commitment to generate 40% of the island’s power from renewable resources by 2025, and 100% by 2050. C&I enterprises using distributed power generation are a large part of the effort.”
Isla Frio, a cold storage company on the island, is building a new 147,000 square foot facility with Viking Cold’s Thermal Energy Storage (TES) technology to add hurricane-resistant food storage capacity to the island. The second phase of the project will include the addition of onsite solar power generation. The combination of renewables with the existing TES installed during construction will maximize the cost-effectiveness of their solar-plus-storage investment and help Puerto Rico meet its aggressive goals to add resilient renewable generation to the grid.
Cold storage firm, Isla Frio Refrigeration Corp., recently acquired a former PepsiCo bottling and distribution plant in Cidra, Puerto Rico. The 147,000 square-foot building on eight acres is being fully renovated to become a state-of-the-art frozen and refrigerated food warehouse, beginning with 50,000 square feet of frozen storage. The end goal of the $10 million project is to supply hurricane-resistant cold and dry storage space for the island while also providing thermal resilience with our Thermal Energy Storage (TES) technology for temperature-controlled goods in the event of a power outage.
Over the years, Puerto Rico has been hit exceptionally hard by natural disasters and other crises, and with an unreliable power grid, these events inflict significant impacts on supply chain efficiency and functionality. During Hurricane Maria in 2017 and the lengthy power loss that followed, our clients’ facilities on the island did not lose any food product, thanks to the TES systems they have installed.
The recent coronavirus pandemic has also amplified the growing need for more cold storage capacity and the island-wide shortage of warehouse space.
The recent acquisition of the PepsiCo plant provides an opportunity to build a highly efficient, energy-secure cold storage facility to support the recovering supply chain and electrical grid on the island.
The energy resources of this construction project are in alignment with the guiding principles of Puerto Rico’s overall grid modernization plan. Led by the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA), the $20 billion plan will reconstruct the island’s grid, ultimately dividing it into eight self-sufficient mini-grids and providing residents with a safer, greener, and more resilient energy supply. In addition, the island has committed to generating 40% of its power from renewables by 2025 and 100% by 2050. These ambitious clean energy goals will drive the widespread adoption of renewable energy generation, which is complemented through the use of sustainable energy storage technologies like our TES systems.
“Puerto Rico has always been very important to Viking Cold Solutions. Our first warehouse installation was on this beautiful island, and it’s appropriate that our first new cold storage construction project be right here in Cidre, PR,” said Paul Robbins, Founder of Viking Cold Solutions.
The Isla Frio project, which began construction in June 2020, will be Viking Cold’s first system installation to be part of a facility’s original design and construction plan; previous installations have been facility retrofit projects. Phase One will be to install our technology and get the cold storage facility up and running by December. Phase Two will build out the rest of the site and may eventually include an onsite solar power resource to assist in powering the facility.
Once the plant is operational with TES technology, carbon emissions and energy use will be minimized, enhanced energy resilience and flexibility will be in place, and the facility will benefit from lower electricity costs – a significant value on an island with among the highest electricity costs in the U.S. The building itself is connected to a large diesel generator to provide backup power and is built at a high elevation, better protecting it from floods. During extended grid interruptions or power outages, the generator and its fuel can be conserved because the TES technology provides built-in temperature resilience to protect food up to several days without power.
We are proud to again be working with another Puerto Rico-based company, this time to help them build their cold storage resources in a sustainable way right from the start. By implementing our energy storage technology, Puerto Rico is one step closer to meeting its goal of generating 100% of its power from renewables by 2050.
Thunder Said Energy, the research consultancy for energy technologies, has released a review of the benefits of thermal energy storage for refrigeration, renewable energy sources, and energy storage at large.
Phase Change Materials (PCM), such as those used by Viking Cold Solutions, are described by the report as a “game-changer” for energy storage technology, particularly with reference to their use alongside renewable energy. The report explains the economics of cold storage, the functioning of Phase Change Materials, and covers a review of 5,800 patents in the space.
Thunder Said’s Phase Change Materials review made the key observation that PCM technologies can:
Earn double-digit Internal Rate of Return
Unlock 20% efficiency gains in freezers and refrigerators
Provide superior efficiency over battery storage
Noting that refrigerators and freezers comprise 9% of the US electric grid, including consumption across 4,200 warehouses, 40,000 supermarkets, and 620,000 restaurants, Thunder Said is bullish on the potentials of Phase Change Materials.
The PCM report, which can be purchased from the authors here, highlights the achievements of Viking Cold Solutions’ thermal energy management technologies, the industry-leading performance that will be of particular interest to the readers. While Thunder Said expects 20% improvements in efficiency gains and commensurate cost savings, Viking Cold’s own installations have delivered efficiency improvements and cost savings of between 25% and 50%, out-performing the analysts’ expectations.
Viking Cold Solutions has developed its own PCMs and proprietary software from its headquarters in Houston, Texas, and now has the technology installed and running in locations from California to Puerto Rico and Mexico to Australia, with years of reliable operation and documented case studies to confirm the technology’s effectiveness in reducing cost, energy consumption, and carbon emissions.
For specific case studies and overviews of Viking Cold Solutions’ technology’s performance, see our Resources. And to find out how we can improve your energy efficiency and reduce your energy costs, contact us here.
Cold Facts, the official publication of the Global Cold Chain Alliance (GCCA), published an article covering new technologies in cold storage construction that add efficiency to cold storage building projects. The article describes a presentation at the 38th Controlled Environment Building Association (CEBA) Conference delivered by Viking Cold Solutions, Cold Box Builders, and Evapco. Representatives from all three companies discuss new efficiency technologies and trends for the cold storage industry, particularly in ammonia refrigerated facilities.
Cold Facts, the official publication of the Global Cold Chain Alliance (GCCA), has published an article highlighting one of our case studies and the resulting benefits of Thermal Energy Storage (TES) in commercial frozen food warehouses. Findings include 35% added efficiency and the flexibility to shed refrigeration load for 13 hours each day while improving temperature stability inside the freezer. You can view the full Cold Facts article with charts and graphs HERE and read the full case study HERE.
The commercial and industrial application of our thermal energy storage (TES) technology has shown tremendous results in an ammonia-refrigerated frozen food warehouse in California. By storing energy in the form of cold and delivering discharge times up to 13 hours per day TES provides utilities a behind-the-meter distributed energy resource (DER) to help manage the inflexible and difficult demand profile of the cold storage industry. Utility Dive has posted an article outlining the temperature, peak demand, and consumption benefits of TES in cold storage facilities outlined in our case study.
The fastest ways to lower energy costs are adding efficiencies to the facility and adding flexibility to how and when to purchase the power that drives refrigeration equipment. This is similar to achieving better fuel efficiency for automobiles on highways versus city streets and throwing in some downhills to further reduce fuel costs. Read more about five specific strategies that lower refrigeration energy costs in frozen food warehouses on Supply Chain Dive.
Adam Valarmo, Director of Business Development for Viking Cold Solutions was interviewed by Proud Green Building while exhibiting at the 2018 AHR Expo in Las Vegas, Nevada. Proud Green Building is made up of professionals, such as builders, remodelers, architects, specifiers, landscape architects, designers, other industry pros and owners who are interested in learning about and integrating high performance, sustainable, and “green” strategies, systems and products to their buildings. This was the perfect opportunity for us to share the incredible efficiency and sustainability features of our Thermal Energy Storage systems.
It’s no secret that cold storage facilities are a huge investment for end users in the frozen food market. Ongoing operational cost, and energy costs in particular, are long-term considerations of any cold storage project. Cold storage architectural, engineering and construction know they must address these issues to secure project bids.