How to

7 October 2016

Axiom’s ‘Ice Batteries’ Could Revolutionise Supermarkets’ & Cold-stores’ Energy Consumption

It’s a symptom of our capitalist society that, when demand for any product or service increases, the price often follows. Such is the way with electricity, for which providers in many areas charge more during peak usage times. Particularly between 2pm-6pm on summer weekdays, which is referred to by New York utility company Con Edison as ‘super peak’, the cost can surge upward substantially.

Enter Axiom Exergy, a relatively young technology company aiming to tackle the issue within the refrigeration and cooling sectors. To this end, they have developed a new form of ‘ice battery’, which is ‘charged’, for lack of a better term, overnight when energy prices are significantly lower. The new battery stores thermal energy rather than electrical power, in the form of frozen saltwater.

The system has a little more to it than an over-fancy ice cube, however. The battery makes use of an optimised charge cycle to deliver intelligent energy use over a sustained period of up to 6 hours. Consumers can also take full advantage of a site-specific analysis of your premises, energy consumption and costs. The new battery is also designed to work with most existing refrigeration systems, so there’s no need for an extensive and expensive overhaul of your current equipment.

Speaking to Business Insider, Axiom’s president and co-founder, Amrit Robbins, seemed confident about his product’s future success:

“It doesn't make sense to have these enormously power hungry systems just running at a flat constant rate all the time. Supermarkets spend about 55% of all energy they consume to create cold, so rather than storing energy or electricity, we just store cold directly for later use.”

“[Utilities are] moving toward much more intelligent, cloud-connected sets of assets that can be turned on and off as necessary. We’re in the right place at the right time.”

The new ‘ice battery’ system certainly seems to hold a lot of promise, with plans to install the units into 20-25 supermarkets throughout the Brooklyn and Queens boroughs of New York recently getting the green light.

Moving forward, large refrigeration units are far from being their only potential application. The company also plans to install their batteries into home and office air-conditioning equipment and even household fridges, so this technology could become fairly widespread. With the current shape of our planet, we can only hope so, as reductions in global energy consumption are urgently needed if we are to effectively combat the perils facing us at the present time.

Sam Bonson

Sam is an aspiring novelist with a passion for fantasy and crime thrillers. He is currently working as a content writer, journalist & editor in an attempt to expand his horizons.