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USA: Retailer Walmart is trialling a thermal storage systems at one of its stores in San Diego.

Seeking to reduce refrigeration operating costs across its portfolio of stores, Walmart has selected Axiom Exergy to complete a field demonstration of its Refrigeration Battery energy storage solution. This field demonstration project is being completed with the support of two of California’s largest electrical utilities.

The Refrigeration Battery stores cooling at night by freezing tanks of salt water when energy costs are low, releasing it during the day when electricity demand and electricity prices are at their peak.

Walmart and the supporting utilities have contracted with KW Engineering to provide third-party measurement and verification for the project.

“Walmart is actively evaluating different energy storage technologies that have the potential to reduce our operating costs and improve stores’ resilience during power outages and extreme weather events across our portfolio,” said Mark Vanderhelm, VP Energy of Walmart. “This demonstration is consistent with these efforts as well as Walmart’s commitment to fostering innovation — we are excited to review the potential of Axiom’s solution to these issues.”

The field demonstration with Walmart is funded by utility members of California’s Emerging Technologies Coordinating Council (ETCC).

“This demonstration will illustrate how refrigerated facilities like supermarkets can significantly reduce their electricity demand during on-peak hours and how utilities in California can use our solution to help reduce strain on the grid by deploying a low-cost, long-duration, behind-the-meter energy storage solution,” said Ryan Adelman, Axiom Exergy’s chief commercial officer.

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VRF patent

Axiom Exergy has also recently been granted a patent for a DX thermal energy storage system which will extend its ice battery technology to VRF air conditioning applications.

The patent comes on the heels of $2.5m in funding announced this summer from investors to help fulfil over $5m of contracts for demonstration projects in California and a large, multi-site rollout with energy company Con Edison in New York. The company has also been accepted into StartX, an accelerator programme affiliated with Stanford University and the Stanford-StartX fund.