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Axiom Exergy - Energy Industry Innovation of the Year

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Company: Axiom Exergy, Richmond, CA
Entry Submitted By: W. Tyler Consulting
Company Description: An industry first, the Refrigeration Battery makes it possible for supermarkets, cold-storage facilities, and food processors to intelligently store and deploy refrigeration. The battery plugs into your refrigeration system, just like a display case. It stores thermal energy produced by your refrigeration system during off-peak hours, and deploys it during on-peak hours.
Nomination Category: Company / Organization Categories
Nomination Sub Category: Energy Industry Innovation of the Year

Nomination Title: Axiom Exergy - Make your refrigeration system intelligent.

Tell the story about this nominated innovation since January 1, 2016 (up to 650 words). Describe how the innovation was discovered, developed, refined and/or deployed. Provide an assessment of how the innovation has impacted or will impact your organization, your industry, markets or society.

On the whole, commercial refrigeration accounts for 9.1 percent of all electricity consumption in the US however few technologies exist to actively manage refrigeration loads for C&I customers or grid operators . Axiom Exergy is tackling this significant but underserved slice of the market by deploying an energy storage solution designed specifically for the supermarket industry, which is seeing rapidly growing electricity costs driven by energy-intensive refrigerations system operation and the growth of time-of-use and demand charges by utilities. With its thermal energy storage technology, Axiom helps supermarkets and cold storage facilities increase these razor-thin (1.4 percent) profit margins by allowing them to take advantage of low nighttime energy prices that peak mid-day.

Until now, the high cost of running refrigeration equipment was seen as simply a cost of doing business. Utilities are changing rate structures and adding peak demand charges, dramatically increasing the cost of electricity mid-day. On top of this, supermarkets use three times more energy per square foot than retail stores. With energy being their third-largest expense, more than 55 percent of that goes to refrigeration. Meanwhile, saving $25,000 on their utility bill has the same effect on a supermarket’s bottom line as selling $1.8 million worth of additional groceries or increasing sales by 11%. Thus, these facilities are demanding better ways to control their energy costs.

Axiom’s Refrigeration Battery works by leveraging a store’s existing refrigeration system to store energy in the form of “cooling” at night by freezing tanks 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. Through this approach, the Axiom technology can shift up to eight hours of “cooling” during peak pricing hours. Refrigeration Batteries are non-invasive, modular retrofits operating in parallel with existing refrigeration systems.

Axiom Exergy’s Refrigeration Battery is a thermal energy storage technology that radically reshapes how supermarkets think and use their refrigeration systems, converting refrigeration systems into intelligent and flexible energy storage assetsthat can reduce a store’s peak electricity demand by up to 40 percent. In addition to providing daily utility bill savings, the Refrigeration Battery can provide Back-Up Cooling services r to protect inventory during increasingly common power outages saving thousands of dollars in inventory losses, not typically covered by insurance. As an example, a single power outage last year cost a Bay Area Whole Foods more than $300,000 in food spoilage.

Beyond these features, the Axiom technology also benefits electrical utility operators. As fleets of Refrigeration Batteries are installed in a service area, Axiom can aggregate these systems for utilities to help offset the need to operate expensive “peaker plants” d and avoid blackouts in areas with aging electrical infrastructure. This is why New York utility ConEdison has given Axiom a $5 million, 1.5MW contract to install Refrigeration Batteries in its Brooklyn/Queens service area.

Axiom uses third-party project financing to offer an industry-standard "savings as a service" model, which eliminates up-front cost and up-front risk for its low-margin customers. This model provides Axiom with recurring revenue and the ability to capture the residual value after the initial 7-10 year contract period (system lifespan is 30 years). It also enables the company to own large, aggregated fleets of Refrigeration Battery systems which can participate in profitable demand response programs from the utility or grid operator.

To date, Axiom Exergy has executed over $6 million in signed contracts with multiple major national supermarket chains and electrical utilities. Axiom has installed and commissioned its first pilot unit at the Whole Foods Market in Los Altos, CA and a Walmart San Diego is on track to be the second demonstration. In terms of investment, Axiom has raised $3.8MM in funding form investors that include JB Straubel, the CTO and co-founder of Tesla and Startx, Stanford’s accelerator and venture investment platform.

In bullet-list form, briefly summarize up to ten (10) chief characteristics or benefits of the nominated innovation.

-Businesses with large refrigeration-based energy loads can reduce their peak electricity demand by up to 40 percent.

-Has the ability to combat costly power outages which can spoil perishable inventory.
-Axiom uses 3rd-party project financing to offer an industry-standard "savings as a service" model, which eliminates up-front cost and up-front risk for its low-margin customers.
-Axiom has raised $3.8MM in funding form investors that include JB Straubel, the CTO and co-founder of Tesla and Startx, Stanford’s accelerator and venture investment platform.
-Axiom has received a core patent granted by the USPTO, and was selected as a national finalist for the DOE’s business plan competition (including a $75k prize).
-Axiom has installed and commissioned its first pilot unit at the Whole Foods Market in Los Altos and has a second pilot planned at a Walmart location in Southern California in Q2 2017.