Lineage Logistics LLC, a provider of temperature-controlled logistics solutions based in Novi, Michigan, was named a winner of the 2019 Better Practice Awards by the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Better Plants Program (Better Plants). 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 pioneering a new and innovative way to improve energy productivity using a process the company calls “flywheeling,” which proactively manages energy consumption using a proprietary machine-learning technology to reduce both cost and waste.
Last month, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) issued a utility patent to Lineage and primary inventor Dr. 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. 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,” said Greg Lehmkuhl, president and CEO of Lineage.
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.
“We are entrusted with ensuring that billions of pounds of food across the United States and the globe are kept at optimal temperatures throughout the supply chain, and we are obsessed with finding new ways to do this even more safely and efficiently than has ever been done before,” said Michael J. McClendon president, Lineage Europe and EVP, network optimization.
“Better Plants partners such as Lineage are implementing innovative energy efficiency solutions in the industrial space that are cutting costs and energy-use and the Better Practice Awards honor their leadership,” said Valri Lightner, DOE advanced manufacturing office acting director.
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.
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 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.
Better Plants partners voluntarily set a long-term goal, typically to reduce energy intensity by 25 percent over a 10-year period across all their U.S. operations.