January 1, 2021—Significant energy efficiency gains can be found right under our noses, within the systems that are so ingrained in our modern lives that we take them for granted. For instance, electric motors account for more than half of the world’s electricity consumption, yet have seen very few technological advancements over the past century. Electric motors provide the mechanical power that pumps, conveyor belts, HVAC systems, fans, compressors, and many other critical machines require.
Through the IN² program, NREL researchers helped Turntide Technologies validate the energy efficiency and performance of its Smart Motor System under various operational scenarios while identifying performance gaps in traditional systems. Turntide Technologies’ rebrand from Software Motor Corporation was just one of the cleantech startups’ many developments in 2020.
Turntide has captured the attention of major investors with its ability to cut electricity consumption by two-thirds and serve significant market needs. It was selected as one of the first five companies to receive funding from the Amazon Climate Pledge Fund, and the Smart Motor System is now being used in Amazon facilities, retailers, and commercial buildings worldwide. Turntide also raised a $25 million Series B funding round from BMW i Ventures, and the automaker is piloting Turntide Technologies in its manufacturing plants. The startup also received additional backing from Future Shape, with high praise from its principal Tony Fadell, the Founder of Nest. In 2020, Turntide expanded its customer footprint by 12x, and has successfully completed national packaged rooftop unit (RTU) retrofit projects for various retail customers at more than 2,000 sites.
Turntide has also been partnering with dairy technology company VES to deploy DairyBOS, the Dairy Barn Operating System, to automatically manage ventilation, cooling, lighting, and other parameters, optimizing the comfort and health of farmworkers and animals. This tool will provide proof of concept for other building types and applications in the future. These achievements are even more remarkable when you consider the 2020 economic landscape. As much of the world paused in March due to COVID-19, many Turntide installations went on hold. But within a few months many businesses reopened and demand for its systems increased alongside the growing need for better ventilation systems. 2020 also brought renewed attention to the climate crisis, which is spurring greater demand for solutions that help companies cost-effectively reduce their carbon footprints. Looking ahead, the Turntide Technologies team will focus on fulfilling the growing needs of new and existing customers across different industries and building types.