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Energy store fridges reduce peak energy use

USA: A US virtual power plant provider claims to have successfully piloted using convenience store refrigerators for energy storage.  

Maplewell Energy of Broomfield, Colorado, a developer of on-site energy saving solutions, is unlocking demand flexibility at the grid edge for commercial, industrial, and government enterprises. 

The company’s JANiiT platform provides real-time demand charge management and demand response for commercial and industrial buildings up to 250,000ft2 (23,000m2). 

The beta version of its demand management software was piloted at two Parkland convenience store sites in Denver and Salt Lake City. Using on-site refrigerators and HVAC as energy storage, the pilot was said to be successful in dynamically balancing the buildings’ energy use and reducing peak usage. 

The thermal energy storage pre-cools canned and bottled beverages prior to an energy peak, optimising and balancing loads as needed. Initial performance are said to have shown a 25% reduction in peak energy usage for the convenience store, with savings going directly to the building operator. With the addition of energy storage, future reductions are expected to reach 42%. 

Peak energy use before and after JANiiT implementation at the Salt Lake City site

JANiiT is to be deployed at two additional sites for the convenience store operator, an office building and an industrial facility. 

Maplewell’s demand management software goes beyond a traditional building management or automation system to integrate forecasting, predictive control, and real-time feedback-based optimisation that is proactive instead of reactive. 

Until now, the advanced forecasting and predictive control technologies available in the Maplewell beta had eluded players in the energy space. However, advances in forecasting in Maplewell’s JANiiT system is said to have achieved better optimisation, enabling customers to realise true value in using demand management systems to drive down cost, lower demand peaks, and more effectively manage usage of energy assets. 

“Most building management systems lack any sort of dynamic demand management capability for controllable loads. The pilot showed that our solution can dynamically manage demand without impacting enterprise operations, resulting in significant savings for commercial and industrial building owners and operators,” said CEO and co-founder of Maplewell Matt Irvin.

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