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Con Edison offers New Yorkers US$5 million thermal storage promo

Axiom Exergy’s system uses existing refrigerators’ excess capacity at night to freeze a tank of salt water, which can in turn provide refrigeration services to buildings during peak hours. Credit: Axiom Exergy
New York utility Con Edison is offering local businesses incentives to install over US$5 million of thermal energy storage systems that kick in during peak hours, and can be controlled remotely.

Supermarkets, grocery stores and other cold storage facilities in parts of the New York boroughs of Brooklyn and Queens can take advantage of the incentive as part of Con Edison’s ‘Neighborhood Program’ to promote more efficient energy usage.

Specifically, Con Edison is offering eligible businesses help to purchase and install Axiom Exergy’s Refrigeration Battery system, which affords between 1.5MW and 2MW of storage per unit, and an aggregate power supply of up to 8MWh.

Axiom’s system uses existing refrigerators’ excess capacity at night to freeze a tank of salt water, which can in turn provide refrigeration services to buildings during peak hours, eliminating the need for energy-intensive compressors and condensers.

As such, cold storage facilities can run on stored energy when demand and costs are high, and save when they are low. It can also provide backup cooling to reduce food spoilage during power outages.

Using ‘internet of things’ (IoT) and cloud technology, Con Edison can instruct Axiom to activate thermal batteries remotely to reduce strain on the grid. Batteries can also be programmed to take the strain at set times when supply is short and prices are high. Axiom’s KARL cloud platform will also provide Con Edison with real-time performance monitoring, data analytics, and alerts.

Amrit Robbins, president and co-founder of Axiom Exergy, said: “Con Edison is taking an innovative approach to help address surging power demand on its grid by working with grocery store and cold storage facility owners to reduce their energy bills and enhance their razor-thin profit margins.”

Axiom’s solution works with existing fridge systems; installation does not require physical modifications or programming modifications of existing equipment. Axiom reckons businesses can reduce their peak electricity demand by up to 40%.

Robbins said: “By deploying Refrigeration Battery systems, these locations can convert power-hungry refrigeration systems into intelligent ‘batteries’ 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.” 

Greg Elcock, in charge of the initiative for Con Edison, said: “By working with customers to help them use energy more efficiently, we have been able to keep service reliable during another hot New York summer. We will continue to help customers in these sections of Brooklyn and Queens choose from a variety of technologies and energy options that will help them manage their usage.”

Con Edison is also offering incentives for businesses to install doors on open refrigerated display cases to further reduce peak energy demand.

Axiom suggested its Refrigeration Battery system can “shift” six hours of a building’s refrigeration-based electricity loads.

Viking Cold, a utility in California, suggested in March that thermal storage could allow fridges and cold storage units to operate without grid power for as much as 12 hours.

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