In a conversation with Mr. Rajat Gupta, Director, TESSOL

What kind of energy storage can your systems help clients achieve?

Our products are based on thermal energy storage technology using phase change materials and advanced heat exchangers. We have application of this technology in any heating and cooling application with an expensive or an intermittent energy supply – therefore cold chain is an ideal sector for us to focus on.  

Using our solutions, customers can get significant operating cost benefits in addition be ensuring a better temperature performance. Our solutions also have a huge application in stationary storage given the Indian context of intermittent power supply in rural and semi urban areas. In such places, Thermal storage combined with the grid or any other non conventional source can give a seamless performance without the need for any backup.

How do your PLUGnCHILL range of product work?

It is important to highlight that PLUGnCHILL is a modular concept of energy storage that can be applied to various heating and cooling applications. Cold chain transport is the most popular applications currently and there are much more complex applications in the pipeline. 

PLUGnCHILL Transport vehicle works by utilizing the energy stored in our units when connected to power. In a vehicle application, once the vehicle returns to the dock, one can connect it to power for a period of 4-6 hours and charge the thermal storage units. Once the storage is complete, the vehicle can maintain temperatures for upto 10-12 hours with multiple deliveries. This cycle needs to repeat on a daily basis. On an average, due to the use of electricity instead of diesel, our customer is able to save upto 50-60% of his daily refrigeration costs. This has led to a huge reduction in the overall cost of ownership and therefore increased the popularity of these solutions.

Cold Chain & Refrigeration is of particular interest to CCM Readers. Can you talk us your Fuel Free Refrigerator System?

There are three main benefits of the PLUGnCHILL technology from TESSOL:

 a) Performance: The temperature performance of our PLUGnCHILL unit is significantly better than the conventional direct drive units. It is independent of engine RPM, load and has a large amount of stored energy to give highly superior temperature performance. This is of strong interest to the processors transporting their goods safely. 

 b) Reliability: Being independent of the engine, the system protects the goods even during a vehicle breakdown. This gives an ample window for the customer to rescue goods. It also makes the operation of the unit independent of the driver.

 c) Cost saving: Due to the efficiency of the unit and the use of electricity vs Diesel, the technology leads to a reduction in reefer operating cost between 50-60%. This accompanied by minimal maintenance costs, leads to a much lower lifetime cost of ownership. This is of specific interest to transporters looking for within 24 hour or intracity transport solutions.   

You serve clients in a wide variety of industry sectors. In which sectors is adoption of your solutions growing fastest?

We have served a large variety of sectors across India. Some of the popular sectors include Bakery, Ice cream, Dairy and Dairy products, Vegetables, Poultry, Seafood and Frozen foods. We are now looking to enter the Pharmaceutical sector given the high reliability requirement that our system can assure to transporters and customers. The fastest adoption has been in Bakery, Poultry and Ice cream segments primarily due to the size of the market and nature of product.

Can you tell us about some of your clients?

We were fortunate to get engaged with marquee clients like Monginis Foods and Godrej Tyson foods in the initial stages itself. Engagement with them pushed us to create high performance units and gave us more insight on different commodities. Westcoast foods was our first client to use the frozen solution and since then Frozen product has become one of the largest selling units for us. Now we have a large number of small and large clients across the country who use this solution for various applications.

What’s your biggest success story with a client?

Godrej Tyson foods is one of our first customers and extremely forward looking in embracing new technologies. They were involved in our initial process of product design and stressed on the need for a reliable and low operating cost solution. Once we demonstrated the technology to them, they had the following observations:

  1. Acceptance with their Quality team which measured the temperature performance and confirmed that it was better than using ice or a reefer.
  2. Much better reliability given that the driver or operator had no lever to switch off the cooling to save diesel.
  3. Much lower operating costs with a reasonable capital expenditure. They were able to get significant benefit in terms of per km cost reduction in their logistics.

Their acceptance of the product was a significant endorsement for our technology and helped us expand our market.

Are you showcasing your technology at any industry trade shows this year?

We were present in most of the major exhibitions last year and will be again showcasing new developments in the products this year as well. One can expect to see us in the Ice cream expo, Logistics and Warehousing exhibition and most probably the cold chain show 2016.

What is the Indian government doing to support companies adopting your systems?

Yes. The government is aware of this new development in the technology and has been supportive of introducing this in the cold chain. As per the National Horticulture Board guidelines, the PCM technology based products are eligible for a 100% subsiy upto 35 lacs. It would be more beneficial if we could get support from the government in terms of more available charging points which can hugely accelerate the adoption of such clean technologies.

What products do you offer here in the India, of particular interest to Cold Chain Logistics professionals?

All our products should be of interest to cold chain professionals. Our core technology can be scaled from a very small to a large trailer. Therefore we can provide solutions across the supply chain which is our biggest strength. Some typical solutions are given below:

  a) Refrigerated Transportation: Our transport products can provide frozen / chilled or multiple temperature capability in vehicle platforms as small as a 3 wheeler to a 20 feet vehicle.

  b) Cold room and storage: Our cold storage solutions are typically used in a 1 to 15MT kind of a cold room and are best suitable where there are power availability issues. They provide seamless temperature maintenance with upto 24 hours backup. Due to our modular design, the temperature and backup time can be customized as per customer need. 

  c) Last mile delivery: These are typically small sized boxes with active or passive cooling. The typical size varies from 20liters to 500 liters and has application in distribution of goods. This will be apt for quality conscious e-commerce players and smaller processors.

Tessol is all set to expand India and Internationally. Which are your most important other markets?

While we look to expand geographically, our first focus is to establish ourselves pan India. In terms of international locations, we would like to explore more developing markets in the African continent and countries around India. We are currently developing our 2nd generation product which once in production may enable us to access the EU and North American market as well.

Finally, where do you see TESSOL going from here?

Scalability of the solution is of core importance to us. We are committed to developing multitude of applications around the energy storage platform and develop modules that can be integrated easily by integrators in the market. Going ahead our first focus is to establish our current products and applications well and then get into adjacent markets with large market potential.

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