July 8, 2019

Lineage Logistics’ ‘flywheeling’ energy efficiency technology wins award

Lineage Logistics has been named the winner of the 2019 Better Practice Awards by the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Better Plants program. The DOE Better Plants designation is bestowed to organizations that are making outstanding accomplishments in implementing and promoting the practices, principles and procedures of energy management.

The DOE recognized Lineage for its “flywheeling” approach to energy efficiency, which proactively manages energy consumption using a proprietary machine-learning technology to reduce both cost and waste.

Last month, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) issued a utility patent to Lineage and primary inventor Alex Woolf, principal data scientist at Lineage, covering the flywheeling technology (US 10,323,878 B1).

“This great honor from the DOE is a testament to the hard work and dedication of our talented team, and it is quite humbling to be recognized as a leader in energy conservation,” said Greg Lehmkuhl, CEO, Lineage. “Flywheeling is one of the many ways Lineage lives our purpose of transforming the food supply chain to eliminate waste and help feed the world.”

The temperature-controlled supply chain is energy-intensive by nature, making energy conservation a key priority for Lineage. On average, each of the company’s more than 200 facilities across North America, Europe and Asia can store approximately 24,000 pallets of inventory, the equivalent of approximately 770,000 home freezers. Lineage’s North American power consumption is approximately equivalent to that of a mid-sized U.S. city.

About flywheeling

Lineage’s flywheeling technology minimizes energy costs and increases utilization of renewable energy sources by precisely timing electricity consumption. It determines when peak demand for energy usage will occur and avoids the relevant periods by super-cooling the warehouse in advance. Lineage’s algorithms rely on advanced physics, mathematical optimization, large-scale sensor deployments and machine learning to accurately quantify how each building interacts with its environment and optimize accordingly.

Lineage piloted flywheeling at its Mira Loma, California facility in 2018 with the goal of reducing the cost of refrigeration per pallet of goods. As part of this effort, Lineage deployed the flywheeling algorithms and also upgraded warehouse infrastructure, instrumentation and control equipment. In 2018, Lineage achieved a 39% reduction in normalized cost at Mira Loma as a result of this initiative, and has plans to roll it out to additional locations within the network in the coming year.

This flywheeling project is just one example of the innovative industry-leading technology work done by the Lineage Data Science Team — the only team of its kind in the industry. Comprised of some of Silicon Valley’s brightest physicists, mathematicians, marine biologists, engineers and technologists, the team uses thermodynamics, mathematics, AI/machine learning, robotics, statistics, oceanography, computer simulation and data visualization to disrupt the world’s food supply chain by optimizing costs, increasing energy efficiencies to build the warehouses of the future and eliminating waste.

Lineage will be formally recognized at the upcoming Better Buildings, Better Plants Summit in Arlington, Virginia, on July 10-11. During the summit, Lineage will present its award-winning project as part of the “Best of the Betters” session.

For more on Lineage’s Data Science Team, visit its website.