CORDIS - EU research results

Demand flexibility for cold appliances for supermarkets and retail stores

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - FLEXCOLD (Demand flexibility for cold appliances for supermarkets and retail stores)

Reporting period: 2015-06-01 to 2015-11-30

The FLEXCOLD project will evaluate the feasibility of developing a Time of Use controller for Commercial Refrigerating Equipment (CRE), such as used in supermarkets and food retail stores. The FLEXCOLD controller enables supermarket and retail store refrigeration equipment to provide electricity demand flexibility, and at the same time reduce it's energy consumption. Small scale (indirect) electricity demand flexibility is desirable as it provides the energy system with flexibility, thus further enabling the growth of the share of renewable electricity production in the EU. The objective of the Phase 1 feasibility study is to elaborate the business plan for the development and EU market introduction of the FLEXCOLD Time of Use controller for commercial refrigeration equipment. Three sub-objectives are related to specific items of the initial business plan (section 1.3): - market: development of a business model based on a substantiated and validated value proposition and selected customer segment. Fine tuning of the value proposition with selected representatives from the intended customer segment.- technology: field test assessing the technical feasibility of the concept, planned for June 2015 in a Belgian supermarket of the Colruyt chain. Assess time constants from data measured earlier in 4 Dutch supermarkets.- company: identification and analysis of strength and weaknesses, and of bottlenecks for growth. Financial and contingency planning. Search for business partners for market introduction in other EU countries. Set up relationships with stakeholders.
A FLEXCOLD Business model has been selected and elaborated. The results are captured in chapters 2-10 of the technical report.

Value proposition has been refined and validated with selected representatives from different customer segments, interviews conducted with Colruyt (B). Danfoss (Dk) and Scholt Energy Services (Nl). Cost benefits have been assessed for these markets.

The technical feasibility of the technology: has been assessed in a field test at a Colruyt supermarket in Halle near Brussels. The results are very satisfactory:

Hourly energy price, small temperature variation (-18⁰C/-21⁰C): measured cost savings 0,6 %
Hourly energy price, large temperature variation (-18⁰C/-25⁰C): measured cost savings 6,0 %
15 min. energy price, small temperature variation (-18⁰C/-21⁰C): measured cost savings 4,1 %
15 min. energy price, large temperature variation (-18⁰C/-25⁰C): measured cost savings 11,2 %

Especially the last configuration is of interest for the near future., and shows a considerable cost saving.
The experiments also have satisfactorily shown the fail safe characteristics of the controller.

Bottlenecks for growth of the company have been identified and analyzed – resulting in the choices made for the business model. SME partners for market introduction in other EU countries have been identified, but as the business model focuses on larger companies, these SME companies have not been contacted. Several new stakeholders have been involved: Scholt Enery Services, Senfal (Nl), and Mondragon (Es).
The project shall continue, the strategic vision has been substantiated in the form of a detailed business planm which is embedded in chapters 2-10 of this report.

There has been one considerable change in the business model, as compared to the original vision, which is the focus on the primary market: this is no longer the supermarket itself, but the equipment supplier to the supermarket (especially the manufacturers of case controllers. This will have no impact on the addressable market, but the marketing will be far more effective.

To develop the FLEXCOLD business further, support is sought for the following actions:

Change to a hardware platform with lower costs
Reliability testing of hardware components
Manufacturing process of the hardware product
Demonstration projects for additional potential customers / additional market segments
Further technical (software) development of the product following the developing energy market
Diversification of the FLEXCOLD technology to other markets (e.g. air conditioning).
Proposed marketing name / logo
View of supermarket with Refrigerated Display Cabinets