Greater Boston Food Bank Cuts Peak Energy Consumption 75 Percent Using Digital Cold Energy Storage Tech
*The Greater Boston Food Bank
- March 4, 2019
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Time-dependent, aka time-of-use, energy pricing has been on the rise across the U.S., posing opportunities, as well as challenges, for energy-intensive industrial and commercial businesses, such as cold storage facilities. Energy storage and energy efficiency technology and services providers are stepping into the breach and offering a variety of innovative, digitally networked systems and services.
Improved energy storage chemistry and materials lies at the root of Viking Cold Solutions' Thermal Energy Storage System (TES). A proprietary, patented Phase Change Material (PCM) absorbs ambient heat in a facility— typically when utility grid prices are low— and stores it for later use— typically during peak periods of demand. That can translate to significant energy cost savings, especially for high-consumption, energy-intensive utility customers, such as The Greater Boston Food Bank and other cold energy storage facilities, especially in light of utility peak-demand charges that can account for as much as 70 percent of a facility's energy bill.
TES's passive, closed-loop design and operation, as well as the ease with which it can be installed and work in concert with a cold energy storage facility's existing HVAC and electrical systems, helps keep installation, operations and maintenance costs down. High-efficiency, long-duration, scalable thermal energy storage capacity, a 20-year life and the non-toxic, food-safe and recyclable PCM— composed of deionized water and inorganic salts— also help keep costs down and improve investment returns, management explains.
A utility-thermal energy storage tech partnership
The Boston-based company on March 4 announced that one of its TES systems was up and running at The Greater Boston Food Bank's 117,000 square-foot, high-efficiency Yawkey Distribution Center in South Boston. Installed in partnership with utility Eversource, the thermal, cold energy storage system is reducing peak electricity demand at the food bank— the "the largest hunger relief organization in New England"— during targeted peak hours 75 percent, early stats show. The system has also improved temperature stability inside the facility's freezer, according to Viking's press release.
“Thermal energy storage systems serve as a storage medium for a building's refrigeration system and is a cost-effective solution to store and dispatch the large amount of energy required by refrigeration equipment in cold storage facilities,” said Eversource Vice President of Energy Efficiency Tilak Subrahmanian.
“We recently launched a program designed to install new technologies, like thermal energy storage, to lower energy use and demand during peak energy usage hours. Our partnership with the Greater Boston Food Bank will help them better manage their energy and deliver a cutting-edge solution that will benefit the organization overall and support its critical mission.”
With regard to data and communications, Viking's TES is cloud-based, which allows for remote, 24x7x365 systems monitoring, operations and maintenance, as well as the use of big data analytics solutions and software algorithms to enhance overall systems performance and custom-tailor it to The Greater Boston Food Bank's, or other TES end-user's, needs and objectives, according to Viking Cold Solutions.
Cold energy storage at The Greater Boston Food Bank
Greater Boston Food Bank and Eversource have been working to carry out several lighting upgrades at the cold energy storage since 2015, as well, according to the non-profit. Those have yielded approximately $42,000 in energy bill savings annually. The two continue to look for more ways to reduce energy consumption and increase energy efficiency, including in the areas of refrigeration, lighting and HVAC upgrades, they say.
"Our goal is to provide healthy meals to those in need across Eastern Massachusetts," Senior Vice President of Supply Chain and Food Acquisition Cheryl Schondek was quoted in a news release.
“We strive for cost saving operational efficiencies, and our partnership with Eversource and the installation of the Viking Cold TES system better enables us to achieve this goal. We appreciate their commitment to our mission to end hunger here.”
And at the end of the day, the energy savings Viking's TES yields will enable The Greater Boston Food Bank to better carry out is primary, core mission. According to the non-profit, it will be able to serve an additional 10,500 meals per year to those in need.