MA Cold Storage Facilities Gain 1.3 MW of Thermal Energy Storage

by | Jun 13, 2019

MA Cold Storage Facilities Gain 1.3 MW of Thermal Energy Storage

(Photo: A frozen food warehouse that has Viking Cold Solutions thermal energy storage systems. Credit: Viking Cold Solutions)

Viking Cold Solutions installed eight behind-the-meter thermal energy storage (TES) systems for cold storage facilities in Massachusetts. The facilities gained these behind-the-meter systems as part of a utility-backed demand management program in the state.

Altogether the systems store and facilitate the management of approximately 1.3 megawatts of onsite energy, Viking Cold Solutions says. The Houston-based company provides thermal energy storage for low-temperature storage industries.

Systems components don’t require additional real estate, the company said. In Massachusetts, cold storage facilities in the demand management program are around 50,000 square feet on average, and the largest is 157,000 square feet.

The Greater Boston Food Bank was the first TES installation in the demand management program. Their new TES system resulted in a 75% reduction in energy use during targeted peak hours as well as substantial cost savings, New England energy company Eversource said in March. Other facilities in the program include the world’s largest foodservice distributor and a number of frozen food processing companies, according to Viking Cold Solutions.

“Energy is the second highest direct operating cost for cold storage operators, who must run their refrigeration systems nearly 24 hours per day,” the company says. “Additionally, these facilities have the highest energy demand per cubic foot of any industrial category on the grid.”

Viking Cold reports that their TES systems store enough energy to cycle off refrigeration for as many as 13 hours per day to avoid time-of-use and demand charges, plus they improve existing refrigeration systems’ efficiency and reduce consumption by more than 25%.

Energy storage deployments in the United States have skyrocketed in the last year. Wood Mackenzie Power & Renewable’s latest US Energy Storage Monitor published this month showed that deployments during the first quarter of 2019 were up 232% year-over-year. Besides Viking Cold Solutions, the report highlighted Axiom Energy and Calmac thermal storage vendors in the cooling refrigeration and technology space.

“In comparison to battery energy storage, thermal energy storage is a more efficient technology,” the report said. “Unlike batteries, which suffer round-trip efficiency losses, the materials needed for thermal energy storage are cheaper and last longer. Furthermore, thermal energy technologies also do not have the same flammability and safety concerns that bear inherent risk in the case of lithium-ion battery systems.”

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