Denver-based startup Rebound Technologies closed a $1.2 million seed round this week, receiving investment from Closed Loop Ventures, Investors’ Circle, and PRIME Coalition, a public charity that facilitates investments in breakthrough energy companies. The startup was founded in 2012, and specializes in a novel energy-efficient technology for supermarket freezers called IcePoint.
IcePoint units work with legacy refrigeration systems, either new ones or retrofits, to boost performance. Each unit produces ice during off-peak hours, generally at night, and then uses that ice to cool the systems during peak times. What sets the technology apart from competitors is that it relies on ethanol to function as a freeze suppressant rather than a compressor, Greentech Media explained. The resulting slurry becomes the refrigerant.
The proprietary technology allows cold storage logistics companies and food processors to freeze more food in less time and use 40% less energy compared to legacy equipment, Rebound Technologies CEO Kevin Davis said in a public statement about the seed funding.
The startup reported that a facility using two IcePoint units is currently projected to divert 4,400 tons of food waste, decrease GHG emissions by 23,000 tons of carbon dioxide equivalent, and save 14 billion gallons of water annually. Earnings are also being increased by $275,000 per unit, the company added.
Earlier last year, Rebound Technologies completed an IcePoint demonstration at a Whole Foods near Denver. The commercial prototype successfully 46,400 BTUs of low temperature refrigeration over the testing period, according to the case study. Scaled up, IcePoint could potentially save a supermarket $66,000 annually, the startup says.
Refrigeration, along with lighting, represents over half the energy use in a supermarket, Energy Star has found. As a result, supermarket chains are experimenting with ways to reduce demand at peak times.
“Rebound Technologies directly addresses a huge driver of waste in the food supply chain — inefficiencies in the freezing process between the farm and the retailer,” Closed Loop Ventures managing director Rob Kaplan said in an announcement about the investment. “There is a strong demand for this technology.”