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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: Minimize energy demand (kW) and reduce energy consumption (kWh) during each of the seasonal peak periods and intermediate periods Maintain temperature protocols 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 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.
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.