A Whole Foods Market store in Los Altos, California, is the home of the first completed installation of the Axiom Exergy thermal storage Refrigeration Battery. Axiom has successfully demonstrated the viability of its energy storage solution by charging and discharging 1040 kWh of load at the facility for up to 10 hours a day over the course of several months.
Without any changes to staff behavior or daily operations, the pilot demonstrated consistent, daily electricity load-shifting by offsetting electricity used by refrigeration compressors and condensers to off-peak times of day. Additionally, Whole Foods’ facility managers are able to receive real-time information about the system’s performance via Axiom’s integrated cloud monitoring platform, including enterprise-level monitoring and analytics, historical data and real-time KPIs such as kilowatt-hours shifted, peak kilowatts reduced and battery charge level.
“We are proud to be leading our industry by being the first to use such an innovative technology to shift our large refrigeration-based energy loads to off-peak hours,” said Tristam Coffin, director of Sustainability & Facilities at Whole Foods Market. “Whole Foods has a reputation for continuously implementing sustainable solutions that also improve facility operations. This pilot is consistent with these efforts. We are excited to be part of Axiom’s groundbreaking solution.”
Refrigeration represents up to 55% of an average supermarket’s electricity consumption. Research shows that by shifting electricity demand to off-peak hours, building owners, such as Whole Foods Market, can take advantage of lower nighttime rates to reduce a store’s expensive on-peak electricity demand by up to 40%.
The Refrigeration Battery was installed at the Los Altos Whole Foods Market as a passive retrofit without modification of the existing refrigeration system or reprogramming of controls. The Axiom system integrator was sited in the facility’s mechanical room, adjacent to the compressor racks and the thermal storage tanks were placed in the loading dock area behind the store.
By leveraging the store’s existing refrigeration system, the Refrigeration Battery stores “cooling” at night by freezing tanks of salt water when energy costs are low. Then, when electricity prices peak during the afternoon, the Refrigeration Battery “discharges” like any other battery to provide uninterrupted cooling services.
Axiom offers the Refrigeration Battery to its customers via a savings-as-a-service model, requiring no upfront capital or out of pocket expense for the life of the project; it is considered an energy service and off-balance sheet, enabling supermarket owners to reserve precious capital for revenue-generating investments. The technology has an estimated lifespan of 25 years.
“Given the unique shape of a supermarket’s demand profile, which is relatively flat compared with other commercial buildings, Whole Foods needed a cost-effective energy storage solution capable of providing long-duration load shifting, as opposed to peak shaving typically provided by electrochemical systems,” said Anthony Diamond, co-founder and CTO of Axiom Exergy. “By demonstrating consistent, daily electricity load-shifting, the Whole Foods installation marks an industry-first and game-changer for facilities with large refrigeration-based energy loads.”
This deployment of the first Refrigeration Battery comes of the heels of both Robbins and Diamond being named on the Forbes list of 30 under 30 for energy, WalMart selecting the Refrigeration Battery energy storage solution for installation at a store in Escondido, and the securing a $5 million contract to install thermal batteries as a part of Con Edison’s Neighborhood Program in New York. ♦