Revolutionizing Energy Efficiency in Refrigeration Systems

Published on 2023-07-31

Startup Story

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Articae offers an AI-powered IoT platform for optimizing energy efficiency in refrigeration systems. By collecting and analyzing data, their solution enables significant cost savings, maintenance efficiency, and greenhouse gas reduction. Targeting industrial plants across Europe, Articae aims to capture a 10% market share and deliver scalable, impactful results


About Articae

Articae is a startup dedicated to tackling energy consumption challenges, specifically focusing on regeneration and HVAC systems.   
My journey and Manuel's began three years ago when we embarked on a quest to find solutions for these systems. Initially, our goal was to enhance their performance. However, as time went on, our focus shifted towards optimizing their energy efficiency.

To achieve this, we harness the power of artificial intelligence (AI) alongside other cutting-edge technologies such as thermodynamics and expert control. By leveraging AI algorithms, we can continuously learn from data and real-time inputs, allowing us to make informed decisions that maximize energy efficiency. Additionally, our team comprises data scientists, developers, cloud specialists, as well as marketing and sales professionals, totalling eight individuals working collaboratively on this project.

Optimising Refrigeration System Efficiency: Articae's Data-Driven Approach

Articae's approach to addressing refrigeration system efficiency revolves around the utilization of IoT, big data, AI, and other advanced technologies. We collect a wealth of data from the refrigeration plants by installing sensors throughout the entire installation. Additionally, we can gather data from existing SCADA systems or other communication protocols.  

Once the data is collected, we proceed to the analysis phase. Traditionally, this analysis would be done manually, relying on engineering knowledge and traditional methods. By analyzing the data, we can draw conclusions about the system's performance, identify potential problems, and detect any inefficiencies or deviations from expected standards.

Our consulting process aims to identify and rectify these issues to optimize system performance. We develop models for refrigeration plants and optimize their conditions based on external factors or specific operational points. By identifying the optimal working points, we can make adjustments and control variables within the system, such as changing set points. This leads to improved performance and efficiency of the refrigeration system.

Through this comprehensive 360-degree improvement cycle, we retrofit and optimize the entire plant. Our goal is to continuously improve and enhance the performance of the system, ultimately increasing energy efficiency. 

Articae's services for optimal efficiency

The main challenge we tackle is the development of a scalable IoT platform based on artificial intelligence. This platform enables us to optimize a wide variety of refrigeration plants, providing adaptable solutions for each unique setup. By measuring and analyzing the energy performance of the system, we can identify areas for improvement and optimize efficiency using our IoT platform. We also adapt the control mechanisms of the plant to ensure it operates under the best possible conditions.

In addition to our software solutions, we provide hardware options to enhance the monitoring and measurement capabilities of refrigeration systems. For smaller plants, we offer measuring equipment that enables energy output analysis and process optimization. For larger installations, we provide centralized monitoring solutions that may require more extensive hardware elements and algorithm adjustments.

Our services extend beyond software and hardware solutions. We offer consulting services based on our extensive engineering expertise in the field of refrigeration. These services are delivered through our partner network, ensuring that our clients receive expert guidance and support to optimize their systems.

At Articae, our goal is to provide comprehensive solutions that address the specific needs of our clients. By combining advanced technologies, hardware components, and consulting services, we enable businesses to achieve optimal efficiency in their refrigeration systems.

The benefits of Articae solution for the different stakeholders

One of the main problems associated with energy consumption in refrigeration systems is the lack of knowledge about real energy performance. At Articae, we provide our clients with deep insights into their system's energy usage, enabling informed decision-making and targeted optimization strategies. By understanding their energy performance, businesses can identify inefficiencies and take proactive measures to improve efficiency.

High electricity consumption costs are another significant challenge for our customers. With the current energy crisis leading to expensive energy prices, our solution becomes even more valuable. Articae's system focuses on energy savings, achieving an average improvement in energy performance of 14%. This translates into substantial cost savings for our clients, not only in terms of reduced energy consumption but also in maintenance costs due to improved system longevity.

Furthermore, our solution contributes to reducing the carbon footprint of refrigeration systems. By minimizing both direct emissions and indirect emissions from electricity consumption, we help businesses make significant strides towards sustainability and environmental responsibility. This reduction in greenhouse gas emissions aligns with global efforts to combat climate change.

When comparing ourselves to competitors, scalability is a key advantage of Articae's approach. Unlike others who focus on individual projects, we have developed a scalable platform that can be extended to multiple platforms simultaneously. Through our extensive partner network, we can expand our reach and offer our solution to a wide range of clients. This scalability not only enhances our business model but also allows us to achieve a faster return on investment compared to our competitors.

Articae's target market is industrial refrigeration systems  

Artica's solution is primarily aimed at industrial refrigeration plants across Europe. Our target market includes approximately 9,000 industrial refrigeration systems with annual energy consumption exceeding two-gigawatt hours. This addressable market presents a significant opportunity for Articae, as we aim to capture a market share of approximately 10% in the coming years.  

Industrial refrigeration plants in various industries can benefit from our solution. We cater to a wide range of sectors, including food and beverage production, cold storage facilities, pharmaceutical manufacturing, chemical processing, and more. These industries often rely heavily on refrigeration systems to maintain temperature-controlled environments, making energy efficiency a crucial aspect of their operations.

A case study in fish processing

We can share a case study that showcases our solution in action: we have been working on a significant project in Spain, collaborating with a fish processing industry, specifically focusing on tuna processing.

Over the past few months, we have been actively monitoring and collecting data from the refrigeration systems in this fish processing plant. This comprehensive data collection phase forms the foundation of our solution. With this valuable data in hand, we are currently in the process of developing advanced algorithms and modelling techniques that will optimize the plant's energy performance.

Our objective is to implement these tailored solutions and algorithms by the midpoint of this year. By doing so, we anticipate significant improvements in the plant's performance, resulting in energy savings and enhanced operational efficiency. 

Positive stakeholder feedback and market insights

Articae has received significant feedback from various stakeholders within the market, providing valuable insights into the requirements and needs of different industries. Through extensive visits to food and beverage plants, particularly within the food sector in Spain, we have engaged with important clients who have expressed positive sentiments regarding our solution.

Currently, many of these plants rely on manual processes to achieve energy savings. However, due to limited resources and personnel, it becomes challenging for them to consistently adapt parameters or optimize plant settings. The introduction of an automatic control system driven by artificial intelligence, capable of dynamically adjusting the plant's operational parameters for optimal energy consumption, has garnered strong interest and enthusiasm.

For example, for a refrigeration system with an annual energy consumption of three to four gigawatts, implementing our solution can translate into savings of over 60.000 euros per year or even more. Such compelling economic benefits have further fueled the positive feedback received from stakeholders.

While some stakeholders are initially cautious about sharing proprietary knowledge or granting access to their customers, we are actively working to overcome this barrier. Our approach involves offering technology solutions and establishing mutually beneficial partnerships that provide recurring revenues to our partners. By creating a collaborative environment and demonstrating the value of our solution, we aim to reduce any reservations and foster long-term relationships based on trust and shared success.

Challenges faced along the process

Throughout the development process, Articae has encountered various challenges, which can be categorized into commercial and technical aspects.

On the commercial side, one of the primary challenges has been securing funding and achieving scalability. Investors may perceive difficulties in scaling up the solution, which can impact the availability of financial resources. Additionally, some potential customers may face budgetary constraints or prioritize investments in other areas. Overcoming these challenges requires presenting a compelling return on investment and demonstrating the long-term benefits of energy efficiency improvements. The ability to attract and retain customers across different industries also plays a role in addressing commercial challenges.

On the technical front, Articae has faced several obstacles. Developing the solution necessitates a deep understanding of multiple disciplines, including engineering, data science, and artificial intelligence. The field of refrigeration systems is complex and specialized, requiring expertise in system dynamics, control, thermodynamics, and energy efficiency. The technical challenges further extend to gaining knowledge of specific brands and systems, as customers often have proprietary and brand-specific processes and maintenance protocols. Artica's team has worked diligently to acquire comprehensive knowledge and expertise in these areas, ensuring the effective implementation of the solution.

Tackling these challenges has required assembling a skilled team capable of integrating knowledge from different branches and disciplines. By combining expertise in engineering, data science, and energy efficiency, Articae has been able to address the technical complexities associated with optimizing refrigeration systems. The team's holistic approach ensures that the solution aligns with the company's overarching goal of achieving energy efficiency while overcoming barriers and meeting the unique requirements of each customer.

About the author

Juan Carlos García Carrizo

CEO en Articae