Viking Cold Solutions™ is a thermal energy management company focused on making the world’s cold storage systems more efficient, flexible, and sustainable while protecting food quality. Our long-duration Thermal Energy Storage (TES) Systems, with a levelized cost of energy (LCOE) less than 2 cents per kWh, have been installed inside frozen food production, storage, and distribution facilities around the world. Viking Cold’s innovative application of environmentally-friendly Phase Change Materials (PCM) and cloud-based intelligent controls and monitoring combines energy storage with efficiency to enable flexible energy management and reduced energy costs.
Viking Cold Solutions enables companies to achieve up to a 35% or greater reduction in energy costs through efficiency and energy storage flexibility.
Thermal Energy Storage (TES) leverages phase change material to store energy in the form of cold for future use. It is engineered to freeze/thaw at specific temperatures commonly used in frozen cold storage (-20°F to 32°F or -28°C to 0°C). This allows the refrigeration equipment to be turned off for long periods of time (up to 13 hours) while maintaining stable temperatures in the freezer.
Our TES system works well for new construction, retrofit, or refurbishment projects.
The coronavirus pandemic has greatly disrupted the U.S. food industry, resulting in significant changes in consumer behavior and an increased demand for industrial cold storage warehouse space. With quarantines still in effect around most of the country, consumers have been forced to eat at home more and either “panic-buy” large quantities of extra groceries and/or shift to more online orders more frequently. Additionally, because of its longer shelf-life and surge in available options, the frozen food category has seen significant growth in both online and in-person grocery purchases, forcing grocery and cold storage facilities to scramble to keep up. According to the American Frozen Food Institute (AFFI), seven in 10 frozen food shoppers have increased the amount of frozen food they’re buying since the start of the pandemic. Six months in, U.S. shoppers are continuing to stock up their freezers with frozen meals, meats, ice cream, and frozen novelties. Not only is the number of consumers purchasing frozen food growing, but many have also switched to ordering directly online from restaurants and foodservice distributors. The question is: How has this rapidly changing behavior affected the cold storage industry – an essential element of our supply chain dedicated to protecting, delivering, and handling temperature-controlled goods in the United States. Warehouse demand, in general, has been accelerating in recent years, largely due to the booming e-commerce industry. The world’s largest commercial real estate services and investment firm, Coldwell Banker Richard Ellis (CBRE), examined the relationship between e-commerce grocery growth and cold storage warehouse capacity in its 2019 “Food on Demand Series: Cold Storage Logistics Unpacked” report, forecasting that in order to meet the demand generated by online grocery sales, an additional 75 to 100 million sq. ft. of industrial freezer and cooler space will be needed within the next five years – an increase of roughly 47%. CBRE researchers also suggest that much of the cold-storage sector’s growth is likely to occur in gateway markets like Los Angeles and the New York area, as well as in top food-producing states such as California, Texas, Wisconsin, Florida, and Washington state. As the pandemic persists, cold storage facilities are at record high capacity and struggling to keep up with the continuous demand. Cold storage facilities typically fall into the categories of public refrigerated warehouses (PRWs), foodservice and wholesale, grocery distribution centers and retail stores, and food processing facilities. Due to changing demand, PRWs have been forced to provide smaller, more frequent orders. National food industry news source, The Food Institute, stated that “Instead of supplying a full pallet of a single product to a warehouse, PRWs are now delivering a pallet with multiple products directly to the store. These small orders increase labor requirements and change transportation options drastically.” Many expect major PRWs to accelerate the industry’s consolidation trend in order to gain more control over the United States’ cold storage footprint. It is also expected that to address the changing market, cold storage facility operators will be proactively upgrading their warehouses with new technologies to improve operational efficiency and flexibility. Warehouse upgrades that are seeing a surge in popularity include technologies such as Viking Cold Solutions thermal energy storage (TES), warehouse management systems (WMS), and material handling automation and robotic systems. The intelligence platform of Viking Cold’s TES system not only optimizes temperatures and energy use, but provides valuable, actionable data that allows operators to make operational improvements. Additionally, there has been a growing interest in sustainable, carbon-reducing technologies. Viking Cold’s thermal energy storage systems also address these needs by increasing refrigeration energy efficiency an average of 26% while better protecting food and improving temperature resiliency. By absorbing and consolidating up to 85% of the heat infiltration, TES also allows refrigeration systems to be safely cycled off for up to 13 hours each day to avoid demand or time-of-use energy fees, while maintaining stable temperatures. The technology leverages existing refrigeration systems and easily integrates with controls, other data platforms, and racking structures to bring efficiency, flexibility, and additional food protection to the frozen food chain. The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated changes in consumer behavior, implementation of technology, and broad market trends in the food industry. The entire distribution chain from food processors to logistics companies to retailers is under added pressure to make improvements to stay profitable and keep food on our tables. The future remains unclear but enabling technologies like Viking Cold’s TES are helping the food and beverage industry feed our families by improving operations, cutting costs, and lowering the GHG emissions of refrigeration.
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 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.