RICHMOND, Calif. — Axiom Exergy announced it has raised $2.5 million from investors to assist in scaling its thermal energy storage solution in the grocery store and cold storage facility markets. By utilizing its Refrigeration Battery, Axiom said businesses like supermarkets and food distribution centers can reduce their peak energy demand by up to 40 percent and protect perishable inventory from spoiling during power outages with dedicated backup cooling.

“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.”

The Refrigeration Battery can shift six hours of a building’s refrigeration-based electricity loads, providing the host and utility with a 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, said Axiom. A simple addition to facility operations, installation of the Refrigeration Battery does not require physical or programming modifications of existing equipment.

“Central refrigeration accounts for 9.1 percent of electricity consumption in U.S. commercial buildings,” said Amrit Robbins, president and co-founder of Axiom Exergy. “Energy storage for addressing peak demand needs, load shifting, and backup power is critical for this multi-billion-dollar slice of the energy pie. We’re very excited to find so many blue-chip supermarket chains and electrical utilities that share our vision of transforming refrigeration systems into flexible, intelligent energy assets.”

Axiom Exergy said it has developed an energy storage solution that is tailored to the unique needs of grocery stores and cold storage facilities. One dollar saved on a supermarket’s operating expenses is equivalent to $48 of additional revenue. With supermarket energy usage three times higher per square foot compared to other retail stores, 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.

The company said electrical utilities seeking to manage congestion on their grid can also benefit from its technology. With aggregated fleets of Refrigeration Battery solutions deployed at hundreds of sites throughout a service area, grid operators gain a cost-effective, 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, Axiom helps utilities manage some of their most energy-intensive customers.

The new funding will assist in Axiom’s growth, positioning it to deploy the first wave of Refrigeration Battery systems in supermarkets and cold storage facilities throughout the U.S. 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.

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Publication date: 8/18/2016

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