Energy storage company Axiom Energy has raised $2.5 million from a number of notable investors which will assist the company in scaling up their thermal energy storage solution for the cold storage and grocery markets.
The funding will help Axiom to scale up its Refrigeration Battery energy storage solution which will help facilities and businesses such as supermarkets and food distribution centres to reduce their peak energy demand by up to 40 percent. It will also help to protect perishable goods from spoiling during power outages with dedicated backup cooling. Investors in the project include the Element 8 Fund, Victory Capital, MIT Angels, Sierra Angels, JB Straubel and various others.
The Refrigeration Battery can shift six hours of a building’s refrigeration-based electricity loads, providing the host and utility with a unique, long-duration, behind-the-meter asset. The technology works by using the existing refrigeration system’s excess capacity to “store cooling” at night by freezing a tank of salt water. During afternoon peak hours, the Refrigeration Battery uses the frozen tanks to supply refrigeration services to the building, eliminating the need to run energy-intensive compressors and condensers. A non-invasive, modular, retrofit, the Refrigeration Battery operates in parallel with existing refrigeration systems to shift daytime energy loads to less expensive off-peak hours. A simple addition to facility operations, installation of the Refrigeration Battery does not require physical or programming modifications of existing equipment.
“The Axiom Exergy team has deftly reimagined what it means to supply energy storage by developing a robust, cost-effective solution specifically for markets where saving energy costs has a big impact on the bottom line” said Lars Johansson, co-manager of the Element 8 Fund. “We’re proud to be funding this talented and dedicated team, whose vision is bringing intelligent energy storage solutions to an underserved market.”
Amrit Robbins, President and Co-Founder of Axiom Exergy, added that central refrigeration accounts for 9.1 percent of electricity consumption in US commercial buildings. Energy storage for addressing peak demand needs, load shifting and backup power is critical for this multi-billion-dollar slice of the energy pie. Mr Robbins said that the company is delighted to find so many blue-chip supermarket chains and electrical utilities that share its vision of transforming refrigeration systems into flexible, intelligent energy assets.
The development of the Refrigeration Battery has been tailored to the unique needs of grocery stores and cold storage facilities. This is important given that one dollar saved on a supermarket’s operating expenses is equivalent to $48 of additional revenue. Currently, supermarket energy usage is three times higher per square foot compared to other retail stores. By utilising the Refrigeration Battery these facilities can boost their profit margins by shifting electricity demand to inexpensive, overnight hours, and benefit from backup cooling to protect against catastrophic food spoilage events during power outages.
Electrical utilities seeking to manage congestion on their grid can also benefit from the Axiom Exergy technology. With aggregated fleets of Refrigeration Battery solutions deployed at hundreds of sites throughout a service area, grid operators gain a cost effective, long-duration, behind-the-meter energy storage resource with more than six hours of load shifting capacity. As the average supermarket demands 400-600 kW of power during peak hours, the Refrigeration Battery can help Axiom Energy to manage some of their most energy-intensive customers.
Axiom’s growing pipeline of projects currently includes over $5 million in orders and recently raised funds will assist in promoting the company’s growth, positioning it to deploy the first wave of Refrigeration Battery systems in supermarkets and cold storage facilities throughout the US. Additionally, funds will be utilized to expand the project development team, advance product development and testing, and fund early pilots with major grocery chains in California.