The latest figures show that food production contributes about 37% of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. There is increasing external pressure on the industry to reduce its energy consumption, all while companies work to manage the increasing energy demand and costs.
But according to entrepreneur Alon Meshkovich, the majority of companies receive and pay their energy bill at the end of the month, without fully understanding their consumption.
“At the end of the month, they receive their energy bill and see a huge gap between what they thought they consumed and the actual bill. They try to investigate the reason behind it, but since the month has already passed, they just pay it.
“Even sophisticated people trying to manage their energy consumption don’t have the tools to manage it in real time,” FoodNavigator said.
However, according to Mashkovich, there is another way. Together with co-founders Roy Fadida and Dekel Jacob, Mashkovic works to “enable” companies to manage their energy consumption in real time, lower energy costs, and reduce carbon emissions.
Shazam identifies songs, Alteco.ai identifies devices
The three founders founded Alteco.ai in 2020. Having previously established an energy consultancy together, Mashkovic and Vadida (who are now CEO of Alteco.ai and CPO respectively) note the lack of tools available in the market for companies looking to improve management their energy consumption and increase energy efficiency.
“We have seen that there is an enormous need,” Mechkovich remembers. “The problem with many of our customers was that energy was being consumed and not managed, with not understanding what their consumption breakdown looks like.”
The trio, along with Head of Research Dr Yuval Beck, have begun work on technology that will “change the way energy is managed” and “give more power” and vision for decision makers to “process and manage their energy in real time” without the need to additional devices.
The result is software as a service (SaaS) for the food and beverage industry (although the cloud-based platform is “unspecified”) based on Non-Intrusive Load Monitoring (NILM) technology. In essence, Alteco.ai uses a process that analyzes changes in the quality parameters of electrical energy entering a facility and infers which devices are being used, as well as their energy consumption.
The CEO explained that the Apple-owned Shazam smartphone app is able to determine exactly which song is playing, Alteco.ai analyzes the signal to determine exactly which device is playing without the need for additional hardware.
“We give a complete view of a facility’s energy consumption and provide actionable insights, enabling a company to begin managing its energy consumption and encouraging data-driven decision making.”
Energy savings of up to 15%
In food and beverage, margins should be closely monitored. At the same time, the operational side of the industry is “highly distributed”. “They have a lot of sites, a lot of energy, and in this sector, energy is among the top 10 business expenditures.”
Whether utilities are equipped with many or few smart meters, Alteco.ai provides the ability to aggregate their energy consumption data and gain important insight into their energy use. “For example, one of our Proof of Concept (PoC) facility is now able to measure its energy consumption versus its production of goods in tons.”
This is important, because the energy consumption should be in line with the output, as suggested by the CEO. “If energy consumption is high, but production is low, this is a problem that needs to be resolved.”
Thanks to Mashkovich and Fadida’s experience working in the field of energy consulting, the duo realizes that a client can save up to 30% in energy consumption once the energy is properly managed. “Sometimes it can be more than that, without taking into account the savings that come from buying hardware or hiring professionals to analyze this data.”
But Alteco.ai wants to be “more realistic” with its expectations. In a facility implementing its own SaaS tool, the startup believes 15% energy savings can be achieved. “Of course, it depends on the facility. If the facility has been running energy efficient operations for years, we could achieve an additional 5-7% savings.
“If no energy management action is taken yet, we can achieve savings of 15% or more.”
Alteco.ai joined food incubator Fresh-Start — operated by major food company Tnuva, beverage company Tepo, agro-food VC Finistere Ventures, and funding platform OurCrowd — in northern Israel in November 2021. Earlier this year, the company completed An “alpha version” of its software for marketing dissemination.
“We are starting to expand sales and although last year we were operating mostly locally and in Europe, we are now looking to expand into the US,” The CEO of this post said. “We see a lot of interest there, especially now with the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act.
“The climate crisis is global, and we need to fight it together with the most effective energy improvement tools to keep pace with the increasing demand for energy.”