Lithium-ion batteries may be the future but thermal batteries are here now

While the media is reporting on high-profile lithium-ion battery projects from the likes of Tesla, Altagas, AES, and others, energy storage startup Axiom has quietly expanded over the last three years and is forming partnerships with utilities and major grocers—most notably Whole Foods. Axiom’s strategy is to freeze salt water during off-peak hours and use the cold thermal energy stored in that frozen mass to provide cooling during peak hours. This cuts down substantially on peak demand charges for the customers who have installed the technology and provides additional benefits, such as enhancing grid stability, providing customers with cooling ability during outages (assuming generators have enough capacity to circulate the cold air), and reducing noise during peak business hours. Utilities in California and elsewhere continue to evaluate Axiom’s product performance as the company grows from a garage-based startup into a significant energy storage player.