Axiom Cloud's Early Leak Detection software can flag refrigerant leaks in cases or racks. (Source: bbernard for Shutterstock)
Axiom Cloud's Early Leak Detection software can flag refrigerant leaks in cases or racks. (Source: bbernard for Shutterstock)

Axiom Cloud Secures $5 Million in Funding for Refrigerant Leak Detection Software

The funding will support the accelerated deployment of the Californian software provider’s Early Leak Detection module.

California-based software provider Axiom Cloud has announced that it has secured $5 million (€4.58 million) in funding for the accelerated deployment of its artificial intelligence (AI)-powered early leak detection (ELD) software.

According to the company, its ELD module helps food retailers and cold storage operators identify refrigerant leaks without the need for onsite hardware or sensors. Instead, it uses AI to flag eight system-level performance changes, which Axiom Cloud says are the leading indicators of a leak. These include superheat values, valve positions, component runtimes and enthalpy values.

The funding round was led by Japanese multinational corporation Toshiba Tec and Boston-based investment firm WindSail Capital Group. It comes a few months after the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)’s proposed refrigerant management rule under the American Innovation and Manufacturing (AIM) Act.

The regulation, which was proposed in October 2023 and is yet to be finalized, would restrict HFC emissions from refrigerant leaks and other sources in commercial and industrial refrigeration applications.

“This is our industry’s moment to make a big dent in climate change,” said Amrit Robbins, CEO and Co-Founder of Axiom Cloud. “The EPA recognizes that refrigerant leaks are accelerating climate change as typical refrigerants have a GWP [around] 3,000 times greater than carbon dioxide. The AIM Act addresses this problem head-on.”

“This is our industry’s moment to make a big dent in climate change. The EPA recognizes that refrigerant leaks are accelerating climate change as typical refrigerants have a GWP ~3,000 times greater than carbon dioxide. The AIM Act addresses this problem head-on.”

Amrit Robbins, Axiom Cloud.

According to Matthew O’Rourke, Managing Director at WindSail Capital, Axiom is leading the retail grocery sector’s transition away from “outdated modes” of refrigeration.

“We believe Axiom Cloud’s technology can deliver reductions in emissions and help drive the energy transition while delivering strong financial returns,” he said.

Automatic leak detection

In addition to repairing leaks and using reclaimed refrigerants, the rule, if adopted as proposed, would require operators of refrigeration appliances containing more than 1,500lbs (680kg) of HFCs to install automatic leak detection (ALD) systems.

This rule would apply to approximately 20,000 existing facilities in the U.S., said Axiom.

“There is a growing need for companies across all industries and sectors, including our customers in retail, to adopt innovative technologies to remain in compliance and achieve our collective sustainability goals,” said Toshiba Tec.

“There is a growing need for companies across all industries and sectors, including our customers in retail, to adopt innovative technologies to remain in compliance and achieve our collective sustainability goals.”

Toshiba Tec

According to the software provider, it is recognized by the EPA as one of 10 compliant ALD system providers and one of only three that offers indirect leak detection that doesn’t require the installation and maintenance of sensors on refrigeration equipment.

“Axiom’s proven leak-detection solution is listed by both the EPA and the California Air Resources Board (CARB) and its best-in-class performance has been proven across hundreds of facilities,” explained Robbins. “It can be deployed rapidly across thousands of sites without the need for expensive hardware retrofits, all while generating a great ROI.”

The EPA has estimated that if the provisions included in the proposed refrigerant management rule are fully implemented, they would prevent HFC emissions equivalent to approximately 142 million metric tons of CO2e between 2025 and 2050. This would represent at least $6.1 billion (€5.6 billion) in net incremental benefits, the agency added.

Axiom’s ELD module is easy to integrate into existing refrigeration control systems and enables real-time remote monitoring and delivers detailed notifications, explained the company. It said the software can minimize false positives, optimize leak detection efficiency and offer other insights into system performance based on a personalized algorithm.

Axiom says that its ELD module can detect leaks anywhere in a system, including cases or racks, and that it often identifies the exact location of the issue to ensure more efficient servicing. Compared to traditional methods, it claims the technology enables end users to catch leaks at an earlier stage, which can save on refrigerant costs, downtime and product spoilage, as well as greenhouse gas emissions.

“This approach fulfills regulatory requirements and offers a cost-effective, rapid deployment solution for facilities aiming to mitigate environmental impact, leading to a significant reduction in leak rates and Scope 1 greenhouse gas emissions,” it said.

After being tested by 242 grocery stores and cold storage facilities, the software was released for commercial use in North America in August 2023.

As of August 2023, Axiom’s ELD was still in beta testing for natural refrigerants, including CO2 (R744), propane (R290) and ammonia (R717).

“Axiom’s software is used in facilities with natural refrigerants to lower maintenance costs, avoid system downtime, lower energy costs and detect refrigerant leaks early,” Robbins told R744.com. “Axiom’s software understands the unique challenges and opportunities associated with natural refrigerants.”

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