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.
Refrigeration engineers often receive a lot of valuable training and education through their professional organizations. Viking Cold’s Global Director Brad North, P.E., CEM presents some of the key benefits of Thermal Energy Storage (TES) using Phase Change Material (PCM) in refrigeration applications to a national HVAC and refrigeration engineering association. In this 21-minute video presentation to engineers in the HVACR industry, refrigeration benefits such as reducing energy use, improving sustainability, minimizing temperature stratification, extending temperature resiliency, and improving interconnectivity with power from the electrical grid are covered.
Brad begins his presentation with relevant cold chain statistics about facilities where refrigeration optimization with intelligent Thermal Energy Storage is being achieved by leveraging PCM. He also explains some of the unique thermodynamic properties of PCM that allow TES systems to achieve positive refrigeration energy and temperature management results. He then covers how the PCM is configured and easily installed into various cold storage refrigerated facilities without additional space requirements or the loss of valuable storage area.
Also covered in the presentation is a brief evolutionary history of the refrigeration practice known as flywheeling – subcooling the food and surrounding room to then minimize refrigeration during periods with high energy costs. Brad discusses factors that influenced the start of flywheeling, are transforming flywheeling practices with new technologies, as well as how PCM safely extends the length of flywheeling periods while reducing the risk to food quality and shelf life. He also shares how PCM is able to slow temperature increases in a room without active refrigeration and shows case study data illustrating a reduced rate-of-rise and improved temperature stability.
Inside cold storage facilities temperature stratification throughout the room generally occurs. Brad shows some examples of how properly installed PCM combined with intelligence reduces the extent of temperature stratification and creates a more uniform temperature across the vertical space of these refrigerated rooms. With the introduction of PCM a new “stratification floor” is created that consolidates more of the heat near the ceiling in the airflow of the evaporators for improved temperatures around the food and for easy removal of the heat by the refrigeration system.
Thermal Energy Storage is often considered a way to simply shift when energy is consumed by refrigeration systems. Brad explains many of the factors that allow Viking Cold’s TES technology to not only shift the timing of refrigeration but also to safely reduce the total kWh energy consumption (energy efficiency) of the refrigeration systems. Hear about the factors that enable this such as reducing the horsepower per ton ratio, the ability to run refrigeration systems at maximum designed efficiency or “fully loaded”, the consolidation of up to 85% of the heat infiltration near the top of the room, the PCM’s higher heat capacity and heat transfer rates, and the fact that TES systems do not have mechanical components that cannibalize the energy savings with parasitic losses.
Also discussed in this refrigeration engineer’s presentation are additional attributes of TES that provide energy flexibility and the ability to safely and easily participate in multiple utility and grid operator programs. Many of these programs reduce costs, some provide financial incentives for technology upgrades, and some programs can generate revenue streams for operators of refrigerated facilities. The added refrigeration flexibility from TES enables participation in programs such as demand response, permanent load shed, targeted load shed, peak shaving, responding to market index pricing signals, renewables plus storage, and capacity programs.
Temperature resiliency inside the refrigerated cold chain is paramount to maintaining food quality and shelf life while minimizing food loss. Brad also explains how PCM adds resiliency to cold storage rooms. Common scenarios that disrupt cold storage operations and create a need for temperature resiliency are becoming more common and include mechanical breakdown of refrigeration system components and loss of power from ice storms, hurricanes, wildfires, utility-initiated de-energization, and more. Refrigerated facilities that have TES installed have up to three times longer temperature protection during any of these situations that may cause the loss of refrigeration.
Whether you are a facilities or business leader, refrigeration engineer, cold storage operator, or somewhere in the temperature-controlled cold chain, there is something in this short professional association presentation for you. Quickly learn about mitigating risk, cutting costs, improving sustainability, stabilizing temperatures, and more.
Click above to watch this short 21-minute refrigeration engineer professional association presentation. Or contact us today to learn how our refrigeration optimization and thermal energy storage solutions will save you energy and money.
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.
ASHRAE Journal, the official publication of the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers, has published an article outlining the resiliency benefits of thermal energy storage (TES) in commercial and industrial refrigeration applications. Temperature controlled food storage facilities have a number of risks that come from the increasing number of extreme weather-related power outages or from refrigeration system breakdowns. The ASHRAE article also describes additional benefits such as energy efficiency, improved temperature stability, and increased energy management options for facilities with TES.
On the MarketScale Energy podcast, President & CEO James Bell explores risk reduction in the cold chain. Dealing with frozen food has a lot of inherent risks: which include the enormous and continuous energy required to safely store frozen food, the variable and continually increasing energy prices, potential loss of power due to increasingly more common natural disasters, refrigeration system mechanical failures, and ultimately liability for lost or damaged product. Thermal Energy Storage (TES) can address each of these issues to add resiliency and efficiency, as well as reduce risks in the storage of frozen food applications.
Food Processing Magazine has published an eHandbook outlining new technologies that food processors can use to improve food safety and food quality in their operations. A number of new food processing technologies and their benefits are described including the food quality and energy-saving benefits of thermal energy storage.
Progressive Grocer has published an article outlining the not-to-distant future of sustainable grocery store refrigeration. Numerous technologies from companies like Viking Cold, Emerson, Honeywell, and CoolSys are referenced as the key to what is rapidly becoming the new normal in grocery stores: improved refrigeration sustainability.
Those in the cold storage biz know that more thermal mass inside a freezer allows that freezer to float, or flywheel, longer without active refrigeration. But is food the right thermal mass to use to cut energy costs? Can flywheeling periods be even longer? Can more energy be saved? Can it be done without using food as the thermal battery? Read the full article published on FoodDive.com to learn how thermal energy storage improves the economic benefits of flywheeling without requiring additional energy or risking the quality of the food we put on our tables every day.