An article by Sudarsan Thattai, Chief Information Officer
September 24, 2020
This week, Lineage was named to
Fortune’s 2020 “Change the World”
list, a prestigious ranking that recognizes companies that drive positive social impact through their core businesses. We are certainly in great company on the list: Alphabet for their AI developments that directly save lives; Colgate-Palmolive for tackling packaging recyclability; and Microsoft for its work to become not just carbon-neutral, but carbon-negative.
Of all the important milestones our business has reached over the years – and there have been many – this is among those of which I am most proud. Since our founding, we have maintained a shared purpose of “changing the world” by transforming the food supply chain to eliminate waste and help feed the world.
Lineage is the leader of an industry that stores, transports and delivers food eaten by consumers in nearly every corner of the globe. We alone move more than 30% of the temperature-controlled food in the United States. We don’t take our responsibilities lightly – both as the guardians of the food supply as well as significant energy consumers in the industrial sector.
On average, our facilities are 200,000+ square feet of storage space or the freezing equivalent of 150,000 home freezers. That said, electricity is one of the largest opportunities for us to reduce waste across the network.
To reduce our energy use, we have built an applied sciences team that matches the caliber of top Silicon Valley technology firms. This incredible team of physicists, engineers, mathematicians, data scientists and technologists are responsible for our award-winning (and proprietary) energy management technologies , which help keep costs down while also protecting the environment and ensuring the safety and freshness of the world’s food supply.
Our inclusion on Fortune’s “Change the World” list was in recognition of two of our energy efficiency innovations: a redesigned and optimized blast freezing process, and an energy efficiency and scheduling algorithm known as “ flywheeling ”. These innovations drastically reduce our facilities’ energy usage, while shedding load on demand to better utilize sustainable sources of energy.
Blast freezing, the process by which perishable food is rapidly cooled below 0°F, is a critical step in the cold chain that maintains the quality and longevity of frozen foods. It is an extremely energy-intensive process due to the thermal properties of the blasted products. A single blast cycle in a single blast freezer could freeze up to 200,000 ice cube trays worth of water.
Flywheeling, on the other hand, reduces energy consumption and optimizes energy costs using historical data, weather data, a building’s thermal properties, and missile guidance methodologies to avoid times of peak energy demand, in favor of times in which renewable energy is plentiful. The net result is a giant thermal battery. Such batteries have contributed to the reduction of our energy intensity by 40% over the past several years.
Not only has Fortune recognized how these innovations are changing the world, the US Department of Energy has honored Lineage in two consecutive years (2019 and 2020) via its Better Plants Program.
As a company at the frontline of the energy conservation and clean energy, we feel a significant responsibility to achieve our purpose by innovating to change the world.
No doubt about it, we are creating the future of the cold chain by combining our institutional knowledge of cold storage logistics, with leading technological and data science capabilities. We are thrilled to be at the helm of such a critical industry, relevant and tangible to most people on Earth.
Thank you, Team Lineage, for living our purpose every day!