Traditional supermarket refrigeration systems that keep pizzas frozen and lettuces fresh are now also being used to heat homes and harness renewable energy.

By connecting supermarket refrigeration with district heating systems through heat pumps, Danfoss is helping supermarkets go beyond food to become part of local energy networks. Additionally, there is electricity storage capacity in the refrigerator’s cooling compressors, which can be used to store excess renewable energy for periods of high electricity demand. Thus, the heating and energy storage potential of supermarket refrigeration systems can be unlocked to add flexibility to the energy grids and heating networks of the future.

As supermarket refrigeration systems are typically designed for “the hottest day in a ten-year period”, the systems have up to 70% surplus capacity, which can be utilized to supplement external energy systems. These innovations improve energy efficiency in supermarkets, and also generate a new income source through energy and heating sales to district energy utilities.

Danfoss claims that supermarkets can obtain up to 40% cost and emission savings by leveraging the full potential of their refrigeration systems, especially in the context of variable electricity prices.

Why you should care

Supermarkets currently use around three percent of global electricity. At the same time, one of the most significant challenges to scaling renewable energy sources such as wind and solar are their variable supply patterns. Using excess heat and surplus compressor capacity in supermarket refrigerators can help to integrate more renewable energy in energy grids. This solution uses existing infrastructure to more efficiently use energy, and is already being used by more than 20 supermarkets in Denmark.

How the Global Goals are addressed

Affordable and Clean Energy

Using the refrigeration systems in supermarkets to store electricity and add to district heating helps to increase the share of renewable energy which can be sustainably guaranteed in electricity grids.

Sustainable Cities and Communities

Expanding the role of supermarkets from simply supplying food to also storing and supplying energy can help to increase the sustainability of cities globally.

Climate Action

‘Connected’ supermarkets can help to reduce emissions through electricity storage and heating supply. Accumulated CO2 savings can be in the range of 60-70%, according to Danfoss.