Houston-based Viking Cold’s thermal energy storage system uses phase change material that solidifies when the chillers are running and absorbs heat as it melts. This allows chillers to run less frequently and still keep the Butterfield & Vallis warehouse within a few degrees of -18°C.
The thermal cells were installed in the ceiling of Butterfield and Vallis’ 10,000ft² refrigerated warehouse in 2015. The cells consist of a salt hydrate solution contained in conductive thermal plastic tubes.
The system is one of 20 built and installed by Viking in cold storage warehouses in Puerto Rico, Bermuda, St. Thomas, California, New Mexico and Texas.The company is also said to be working on pilot grocery store installations in Texas and California.
Butterfield and Vallis says that a 2013 tax break on the importation of energy-saving technology helped make the system economically feasible. It is estimated that the system will pay for itself in four years.