- A Whole Foods Market store in Los Altos, CA is the first retailer to install the Axiom Energy Refrigeration Battery, a new energy storage technology designed specifically for grocery stores, according to a company release. The ice battery can protect food from spoilage during power outages and cut a store's peak electricity usage by up to 40% by taking advantage of lower energy prices at night.
- The battery stores "cooling" at night by freezing tanks of salt water when energy costs are low. When electricity prices peak in the afternoon, the battery "discharges," providing uninterrupted cooling
- “By deploying the Refrigeration Battery, businesses can convert power-hungry refrigeration systems into intelligent assets that can respond dynamically to the needs of the facility and the grid operator, taking into account energy prices, weather patterns, and grid programs like demand response," Amrit Robbins, president and co-founder of Axiom Energy said.
With refrigeration making up about 55% of an average supermarket's electricity consumption, the Axiom Energy Refrigeration Battery seems like a savvy investment that could provide long term benefits. The tech has an estimated lifespan of 25 years, according to the news release.
The battery requires no additional oversight from store staff, and managers can receive real-time information about the system's performance and the battery's charge level with an integrated cloud monitoring platform. The installation process doesn't require stores to get rid of old refrigeration equipment, either. The battery installed at the Southern California Whole Foods location leverages the grocery's existing system to "store" energy as part of a zero-down, non-invasive installation that "starts saving energy costs from day one," according to the release.
This new cooling technology is great news for a grocery industry operating on razor-thin margins. Significant energy bill savings could be significant boon to retailer's bottom lines, giving grocers the opportunity to pour that extra money intro store remodels, revamped private label lines and other initiatives that could vault them ahead of their competitors. It will be interesting to see how this Whole Foods store will fare following the installation, and if the natural grocery chain decides to implement the battery in more locations as a result. If that does happen, it's likely that other major retailers will want to cash in on this opportunity for energy savings as well.