Amrit Robbins

CEO, Axiom Exergy

Bringing Australian Grocery Stores into the Energy Storage Fold with Long-Duration, Thermal Energy Storage
Wednesday 23 May 2018 11:30 – 12.45

Amrit Robbins is the CEO of Axiom Exergy. He co-founded the thermal energy storage company to bring its disruptive energy storage solution to market. To date, the startup has raised over $5 million in capital, from investors including JB Straubel (CTO of Tesla) and built a pipeline of over $30 million with multiple national supermarket chains (Whole Foods Market, Walmart) and electrical utilities (Con Edison, San Diego Gas & Electric). Prior to Axiom, Amrit co-led the sales, development, and engineering of a $100 million energy efficiency retrofit project for a national supermarket chain for Clark Energy Group (CEG). He earned his B.S. in Atmosphere/Energy Engineering at Stanford University. In 2017, Amrit was named one of Forbes 30 Under 30 for Energy.

Abstract Outline:
Each year South Australia faces blackouts due to heat waves putting excess strain on the grid. With energy costs high, and the need for backup power more important than ever, grocery stores and cold storage facilities are looking towards energy storage to help them manage their energy use more economically. However, electrochemical storage, such as lithium-ion, falls short in addressing the large power demands of central refrigeration. Given the “always on” nature of large refrigeration activities and their unique load curve, these systems require storage technology that offers long-duration, permanent load shifting and the Storage-as-a-Service economics to catalyze adoption.

Thankfully, the Australian market can look towards the success of Whole Foods Market to implement a thermal storage solution to lower peak demand and energy costs. The innovative system leverages the existing refrigeration system to freeze tanks of saltwater at night and discharge that cooling to the refrigeration cases during the day. This Refrigeration Battery has been shown shift up to 10 hours of peak load during the day when prices are high and without changes to refrigeration system performance or daily store operations. In addition, fleets of these thermal batteries can be aggregated and controlled by local utilities to offer grid balancing and demand response control.

Refrigeration represents up to 55 percent of an average supermarket electricity consumption and research shows that by shifting electricity demand to off-peak hours, building owners can take advantage of lower night-time rates to reduce a store’s expensive on-peak electricity demand by up to 40 percent. Similarly, savings from energy bill management and participation in utility demand response programs can offset up to 100 percent or more of the cost of a backup cooling policy.