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.

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.

Inbound Logistics Podcast: Sustainable and Profitable Refrigerated Logistics

July 14, 2021 Blog Articles, Cold Storage, Energy Storage, Food Processing, Supermarket, Utility & Grid, Webinars & Podcasts

Jeof Vita, the host of the Inbound Logistics Podcast, spoke with Viking Cold President & CEO, James Bell to discuss how Thermal Energy Storage (TES) technology is helping cold chain operators balance their need to be more sustainable and profitable with the amount of refrigeration required to protect their food’s quality (Episode 118).  Utilizing Viking Cold’s refrigeration optimization solutions to address the unique temperature and energy challenges of different cold storage facilities from food producers and 3PL providers to foodservice distributors and retailers is also discussed. Additionally, they cover how the unique energy storage and efficiency capabilities of TES are improving how refrigerated facilities are interacting with the electrical grid for improved sustainability and reduced operating costs.

POWER: Distributed Generation Part of Puerto Rico Rebuild

March 2, 2021 All News, Cold Storage, Cold Storage Construction, Energy Storage, Food Processing, News Articles, Solar + Storage, Utility & Grid

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.”

The article highlights Viking Cold as one of the leading sustainable Distributed Energy Resources (DER) delivering cost-effective, reliable, and resilient power to the island’s industrial and commercial businesses.

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.

New Warehouse Podcast: Digitization & Sustainability in Refrigerated Warehouses

February 8, 2021 Cold Storage, Energy Storage, Food Processing, Supermarket, Webinars & Podcasts

Kevin Lawton, the host of The New Warehouse Podcast, interviewed Viking Cold Solutions’ President & CEO James Bell to discuss the current and future state of digitization and sustainability inside refrigerated warehouses. They discuss how digitization and thermal energy storage work in cold storage to maximize the efficiency, resiliency, and sustainability of the cold chain.

The conversation also covers some of the additional levels of complexity of refrigerated spaces and how the impacts of the pandemic have driven the adoption of technologies such as WMS, automation, robotics, and thermal energy storage inside refrigerated warehouses. James and Kevin also discuss the market conditions driving more construction of cold storage facilities and how digitization and new technology is being included in the design and building of new warehouses.

Additionally, Kevin and James cover the electrical grid impacts of refrigerated spaces, and how with thermal energy storage and warehouse digitization operators can reduce costs and create new revenue streams.

Listen to the full conversation on the podcast here: EP 150: Digitization and Sustainability in Refrigerated Warehouses with Viking Cold Solutions

 

Cold Facts: Cutting-Edge Warehouse Energy Alternatives

October 16, 2020 Cold Storage, Energy Storage, News Articles

Cold Facts magazine has listed Viking Cold Solutions among the cutting-edge warehouse energy technologies delivering cost-efficient and sustainable benefits in temperature-controlled applications.

The magazine, published by the Global Cold Chain Alliance, included Viking Cold in an overview of technologies that have advanced in recent years to provide “savvy facilities” with new ways of answering their refrigeration challenges.

The article explains how Viking Cold’s thermal energy storage (TES) technology allows operators to safely shift energy use during high-tariff periods to maximize cost savings while also reducing total energy consumption. It highlights how TES opens the door to more renewable energy use while enabling operators to take advantage of utility programs, incentives, and demand-response economics.

James Bell, President & CEO of Viking Cold, noted that the cloud-based intelligence platform used to manage TES provides operators with the controls and visibility to maximize operational efficiency in cold storage facilities. At the same time, it minimizes the use of refrigeration equipment.

He explained how it draws on real-time data to automate temperature optimization and energy consumption. The long-duration storage technology discharges for up to 13 hours per day to maintain stable temperatures that protect food quality and shelf life, even if electricity or equipment fails.

Bell added that TES technology can interface with warehouse management systems, automation platforms, data analytics, and artificial intelligence (AI) tools. Adoption of all of these potentially powerful technologies is accelerating in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, said Bell, as facilities look to closely measure, monitor, and limit energy consumption with a view to introducing greater cost reduction and enhancing sustainability.

“Cold storage and electrical grid operators both are facing new energy challenges. As the world moves towards renewables and green sources of electricity, TES technology is a unique and powerful tool to help address these challenges,” Bell concluded.

To read the full article on warehouse energy alternatives, visit the Cold Facts magazine page on the GCCA website. The article starts on page 28.

For more information on Viking Cold’s cutting-edge thermal energy storage technology, and how it can enhance cost efficiencies and sustainability for your cold storage facilities, get in touch today.

Viking Cold Adds Voice to ESA Webinar

October 8, 2020 All News, Energy Storage, Utility & Grid, Webinars & Podcasts

Viking Cold provided insight into the advantages of its Thermal Energy Storage technology as part of an educational webinar hosted by the Energy Storage Association (ESA).

The session, titled Thermal Energy Storage: Challenges and Opportunities, gave ESA members a chance to learn about the technologies and trends shaping the thermal energy storage sector, forming part of the association’s work to help establish a more resilient, efficient, sustainable, and affordable electrical grid.

Marc Chupka, ESA’s Vice President of Research and Programs, welcomed Collin Coker, Vice President Sales & Marketing, to share an overview of Viking Cold’s Thermal Energy Storage technology and highlight how it fits into this landscape.

Coker explained how TES has a drastically lower levelized cost of energy (LCOE) of two cents per kilowatt-hour (kWh), making it far more cost-effective than conventional electrical storage mediums, such as lithium-ion batteries.

He briefed the ESA audience on the phase change materials (PCM) at the heart of Viking Cold technology, describing how it demonstrates significantly higher heat-absorption rates compared with frozen food, while continuously releasing cold energy to provide stable temperatures that protect products held in commercial & industrial (C&I) warehouse environments as well as grocery store and restaurant walk-in freezers.

Coker pointed to the fact that resiliency is built into the Viking Cold TES solution since no power is required and the PCM can hold temperatures three times longer than the thermal mass of food alone, helping defend chilled environments against power outages, natural disasters, and mechanical failures.

With intelligent controls to manage energy release over extended periods and 24/7 visibility of energy, temperature, and operational data, Coker added that Viking Cold brings greater levels of efficiency to cold chain environments while enhancing sustainability efforts. In the case of one customer, net power consumption has declined by 43% over a 13-hour period along with a 29% peak demand reduction, he said.

Coker went on to highlight successful utility-supported programs involving Viking Cold’s TES technology, which includes a multi-customer project involving some of the largest food distribution companies in the world. In total, this initiative accomplished 1.3 megawatts (MW) of energy curtailment over a four hour ICAP period.

He concluded with the findings from a third-party measurement and verification study, showing how one site is using Viking Cold’s TES technology in combination with excess solar power generation during the day to achieve a 95% reduction in overnight energy consumption, effectively taking the site off the grid.

The ESA webinar is available in full, including access to the accompanying slides, via the ESA’s YouTube channel.

For more information on how Viking Cold’s Thermal Energy Storage is bringing greater levels of resiliency, efficiency, sustainability, and affordability to cold chain environments, get in touch with us today.

POWER Magazine: Managing Demand with TES

October 1, 2020 All News, Cold Storage, Energy Storage, News Articles, Utility & Grid

POWER magazine, a leading source of information for the power generation industry, has published an article highlighting the benefits of Viking Cold’s Thermal Energy Storage (TES) technology in managing power demand for utilities and cold storage customers.

The article, authored by Collin Coker, Vice President of Sales and Marketing at Viking Cold, gave an overview of the changing energy landscape, where factors such as the increase in Distributed Energy Resources (DERs) and the variability of renewable generation sources are having a bearing on power providers’ ability to manage demand when and where it is needed.

Coker points out that time of use, capacity, transmission, and distribution all impact the total cost of electricity for the end-user. This presents an acute issue for food businesses with commercial and industrial (C&I) refrigerated facilities, where a continuous energy supply is needed to control temperature fluctuations and avoid any damage being caused to the products being stored.

Underlining this point, he cites data showing that C&I refrigeration sites have the highest demand per square foot of any industrial load, with energy often accounting for up to 70% of their total electric bill.

Coker explains how Viking Cold’s TES technology has been designed specifically for such applications, using proprietary Phase Change Material that remains near a constant temperature while storing large amounts of energy that can be released over long periods, covering higher cost periods of peak demand.

Among the Viking Cold clients the article highlighted as managing demand through the use of TES was Dreisbach Enterprises in Richmond, California, which has reduced demand between 300 kW to 500 kW for 13 hours per day, six days a week while also improving temperature stability by 50% and avoiding the technique of ‘flywheeling’ on the food. Overall, Dreisbach Enterprises was able to achieve a cut in freezer energy consumption of 35%.

To read the full article, and for more news and insight into energy operations and maintenance, visit the POWER magazine website.

For more information on how Thermal Energy Storage can bring greater control and cost-savings to your cold storage facility, get in touch with Viking Cold today.

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