Refrigeration: Green Lights for Thermal Energy Storage


How thermal energy storage will move the European food industry to meet the EU’s energy goals.

By James M. Bell Jr., CEO, Viking Cold Solutions

The European Commission estimates that heating and cooling make up nearly half of all of the European Union’s (EU) energy demand and 84% of that energy is generated from fossil fuels. The estimated 7.2 million tons of oil equivalent consumed annually for industrial cooling alone does not fit into the EU’s ambitious climate and energy goals such as the Energy Efficiency Directive‘s target of 30% energy efficiency by 2030. There is a clear regulatory impetus to improve energy efficiency with potential energy savings in the European cold chain industry as high as 72%. Cold chain operators and those in the food industry also have a strong financial incentive to improve efficiency, with energy representing the largest expense in the industry.

Heating and Cooling Tech

One way the European Commission seeks to achieve its energy goals is through its Energy Performance of Buildings Directive, which most significantly calls for all new buildings to be nearly zero energy by 2020. To specifically address buildings’ heating and cooling systems, the European Commission developed a Heating and Cooling Strategy in 2016. The strategy outlines initiatives to help reduce energy consumption from heating and cooling systems, which includes increasing the share of renewables and integrating heating and cooling systems with intelligent controls and emerging technologies, such as thermal energy storage.

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