Walmart has chosen Axiom Exergy for a “refrigeration battery” demonstration project in San Diego.
The refrigeration battery would be “charged” at night by freezing salt water and discharged during the day to provide cooling and to reduce the store’s purchases of on-peak power.
- The project is funded by utility members of California’s Emerging Technologies Coordinating Council, which promotes energy-reducing technologies.
Walmart is moving toward 100% renewable energy. The retail giant does not have a time frame for that target, but says it already derives 25% of its global electricity needs come from renewable sources. That said, Walmart has also starting eyeing energy storage as a prime investment to help smooth the intermittence of renewable energy. Right now, the retail giant has 17 energy storage projects in California, including six 200 kW, 400 kWh solar-tied batteries.
“Walmart is actively evaluating different energy storage technologies that have the potential to reduce our operating costs and improve stores’ resilience during power outages and extreme weather events across our portfolio,” Mark Vanderhelm, vice president of energy for Walmart, said in a statement.
Axiom Exergy, on the hand, is carving out a niche in the energy storage sector by targeting supermarkets, making it a good fit for a company like Walmart. Supermarkets have thin margins, making cost savings an important contributor to profitability.
Axiom says its refrigeration battery can reduce on-peak electricity demand at the Walmart store by up to 40%. It also has the potential to reduce refrigeration related operating costs and improve resilience across stores. Refrigeration can represent up to 55% of the average supermarket’s electricity consumption.
“By deploying refrigeration battery systems, businesses 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,” Amrit Robbins, president and co-founder of Axiom Exergy, said in a statement.