Guest: Manik Suri | Founder & CEO | Therma
Category: 🍏 Sustainable Food | Food Cooling
Podcast’s Essential Bites:
[3:06] MS: "We work with folks across the supply chain, from farm to fork, production to consumption. We have operators of large regional and national brands, [...] like McDonald's, Burger King, Taco Bell, Pizza Hut, [...] we work with some hotel operators, [...] growers, [...] some farms, [...] brewers and [...] then we also work with a lot of foodservice operators in other industries, for example schools and universities."
[4:08] MS: "Think of this as an IoT or Internet of Things based application. So we have sensors that work remotely and wirelessly using local battery power. They're able to collect and send signals, particular temperature and humidity readings, continuously from the inside of refrigeration. [...] Those sensors can collect that data and get it out through the side of the fridge or the freezer, reliably and wirelessly. And that's one of the things that wasn't possible until recently. The signal gets collected, sent back through a hub or a gateway, back to the cloud. And there we can run analytics and we can report on that information. So we can find patterns, we can flag issues, or let companies or operators know when it seems like there's a problem."
[6:13] MS: "There's a couple of ways in which we're reducing the energy footprint of refrigeration. One is that we're able to see what's going on with temperature in real time. Historically, most businesses would over-cool. [...] Because we can see the temperature continuously, we're able to make recommendations, that you can actually raise a setpoint a couple of degrees and you're fine. We can tell you if anything's gonna happen or if the temperature starts to rise. [...] The second layer of the product allows a user [...] to actually reduce the amount of energy [...] when energy prices rise, or when the utility needs the extra power, or when there's nothing inside the fridge or freezer [...]. And so that ability to dynamically control and turn the refrigerator up and down in response to things like energy price and use is a way to create significant savings."
[8:51] MS: "We're also helping to catch equipment issues. Because we can see the temperature and humidity curves, we're actually able to see, in many cases when equipment is having problems, whether that's a wiring issue, or a coolant leak, or a compressor that's looking like it's going to go down or being overworked. We can see in the curves in the temperature graphs, when equipment is actually struggling or when it's looking like it's not working correctly. And that often leads us to trigger or recommend an early intervention."
[21:24] MS: "There are 1.5 billion refrigeration units in the world, 90 million commercial refrigeration units. [...] Refrigeration is growing at 8% a year and 15% in the developing world. And cooling when you think of it as air conditioning is growing 33x by the end of the century. [...] I think this approach to being dynamic and intelligent about load management can apply to any source of energy consumption."
[36:23] MS: "A third of all food that's made is thrown out every year. [...] Food waste is a $1.6 trillion a year problem. [...] Storage and handling is one of [the reasons]. So we're trying to reduce food waste, especially down at the fork, when you've already put all this energy and effort into making product and getting it all the way to the restaurant. The amount of resources that have gone into that steak or that piece of sushi or whatever's in that fridge or freezer to then throw that out because of equipment issues or human error or grid failures, that's just avoidable and has a huge climate footprint."