Published on August 2nd, 2016 | by James Ayre0
Tesla CTO JB Straubel Joins Investment Round For Axiom Exergy’s “Refrigeration Battery”
August 2nd, 2016 by James Ayre
The energy storage firm Axiom Exergy has raised $2.5 million in new funding — from the Element 8 Fund, Victory Capital, the MIT Angels, Propel(x) angels, the Sierra Angels, and JB Straubel (co-founder and CTO of Tesla Motors), amongst others — according to an email sent to CleanTechnica.
The new funding will be used to aid in the sale and deployment of the firm’s Refrigeration Battery solution — which can cut a business’s peak energy demand by up to 40%, and also reduce spoilage losses due to electricity outages — throughout the US supermarket and cold storage facility industry. Some of the new funding will also be used to expand the company’s development team and product development + testing (pilot projects included).
It’s with noting here that the firm currently possesses a signed-contract project pipeline of around $5 million. The fundraising follows on the company’s recent win at VERGE Accelerate Hawaii.
The email sent to CleanTechnica provides more, explaining: “The Refrigeration Battery can shift 6 hours of a building’s refrigeration-based electricity loads, providing the host and utility with a unique, long-duration, behind-the-meter asset. The technology works by using the existing refrigeration system’s excess capacity to ‘store cooling’ at night by freezing a tank of salt water. During afternoon peak hours, the Refrigeration Battery uses the frozen tanks to supply refrigeration services to the building, eliminating the need to run energy-intensive compressors and condensers. A non-invasive, modular, retrofit, the Refrigeration Battery operates in parallel with existing refrigeration systems to shift daytime energy loads to less expensive off-peak hours. A simple addition to facility operations, installation of the Refrigeration Battery does not require physical or programming modifications of existing equipment.”
“Central refrigeration accounts for 9.1% of electricity consumption in US commercial buildings,” commented Amrit Robbins, President and Co-Founder of Axiom Exergy. “Energy storage for addressing peak demand needs, load shifting, and backup power is critical for this multi-billion-dollar slice of the energy pie. We’re very excited to find so many blue-chip supermarket chains and electrical utilities that share our vision of transforming refrigeration systems into flexible, intelligent energy assets.”
Owing to the relatively low profit margins of most supermarkets, cutting down on operating expenses has a relatively (as compared to many other industries) outsized impact on profitability. On average, $1 of saved operating expense translates to $48 of additional revenue.