As part of the ORLEN Skylight accelerator program, PKN ORLEN is now testing the innovative technology of PESL (Perovskite Electronic Shelf Labels) by Saule Technologies
Labels powered by perovskite cells enable the use of algorithms to dynamically manage prices and promotional content at a selected ORLEN station, allowing for the adjustment of product prices taking into account their seasonality, availability and periodic promotions.
PKN ORLEN, as a leader of change, uses innovative solutions in various areas of its activity. Therefore, as part of the tests carried out jointly with Saule Technologies, over 150 PESL (Perovskite Electronic Shelf Label) labels powered by artificial light appeared at a selected ORLEN station in Warsaw. Ultimately, the pilot project will cover the assembly of over 1,500 labels.
“– An important element of building a competitive multi-energy concern is the search for new solutions. Focusing on innovation-driven development, and cooperation with external startups. PKN ORLEN is constantly developing tools for the implementation of research and development projects, and one of them is the ORLEN Skylight accelerator. The concern, as an attractive business partner, enables young technological companies to implement projects that respond to diverse, demanding challenges. Cooperation with Saule Technologies will allow us to improve the solutions used at our petrol stations in order to meet customer expectations even more accurately” – said Patrycja Panasiuk, the Deputy Executive Director for Strategy, Innovation and Investor Relations at PKN ORLEN.
At the current stage of the pilot, PKN ORLEN is testing the compatibility of the electronic label management system with a limited volume of electronic labels. The next step will be to install labels in various sizes corresponding to individual products from the offer throughout the filling station.
photo 1: PESL (Perovskite Electronic Shelf Labels), an example of application. source: ORLEN Press.
The innovative PESL labels can be powered by both natural and artificial light. The labels are equipped with a two- or three-colour display that can show both text and graphics. The advanced perovskite cells used in this solution, due to their high efficiency in artificial light, do not have to occupy a large area in order to perform, making it a great solution for retail shelves with limited space. The perovskite module is able to provide power to the store label for many years.
“– Shelf labels with regular batteries can be used for about 2 to 5 years on supermarket shelves, depending on the number and frequency of content updates. Our modules, our shelf labels have a lifespan that is two to three times longer, even with every dynamic content update.” – recalled Artur Kupczunas, the Co-Founder of Saule Technologies, providing an estimate of a 10 years lifespan per PESL with the average daily numer of 4 price updates.
Moreover, the perovskite module-based PESL price tag, powered by a fundamentally infinite source of energy, introduces the breakthrough concept of light recycling. Green energy obtained from both natural and artificial light allows is fully sufficient for its performance, which together with its long lifespan and IoT properties makes it an environmentally-friendly alternative to regular battery-powered electronic price tags or printed paper shelf labels. Also, thanks to the IoT technology, it allows for smart, dynamic price changes at many locations at the same time:
“– The retail area is constantly looking for new solutions on the market that could improve work and increase sales at stations. (…) Thanks to PESL, we can react very quickly to changes on the market; change prices, adjust these prices, or run periodic promotions. For now, we are doing a test at one station, but imagine that we could change the price at 2,000 stations centrally and simultaneously to react to the changes in the market!” – said Adam Komarnicki, Project Manager in Sales Support Department at PKN ORLEN.
The dynamic price change allows for saving the personnel time as the workload previously associated with the manual upgrade of the traditional, paper shelf labels is no longer required.
“– It is highly efficient as it allows for using the artificial light as an energy source for the dynamic price tag – just like here, at the ORLEN gas station. The main advantage of the perovskite module-powered price shelf labels is, first and foremost, saving the staff time, as well as energy saving and care for the environment.” – highlighted Malinkiewicz.
When the innovative Saule PESL solution officially premiered in November 2021 (watch the premiere video here), Lukasz Porazynski (PKN ORLEN) addressed the potentially beneficial effect of reduced workload on the customer relations in the following words:
“– Thanks to such shelf labels and actions connected with such new investments we can reduce the workload of our employees. (…) If we connect all stations to the system, we’ll be able to manage it [pricing] centrally and remotely. Thanks to that, our employees will have more time for the customers, and to work with customers.”
With PESL being a breakthrough, innovative solution of all the qualities mentioned above, its implementation for tests at one of the ORLEN gas stations aligns with the ORLEN Group key values: Responsibility, Progress, People, Energy, and Dependability.
video: PKN ORLEN – World’s first gas station to test SAULE PESL / WARSAW, POLAND, 2022. source: PKN ORLEN.
ORLEN Skylight accelerator is addressed to young technology companies from all around the world that have ready-made products and services that implement innovation, e.g. in the area of petrochemical production, renewable energy, internal processes and customer service. The program has been running since mid-2021. During this time, five recruitment rounds were carried out, gathering over 350 applications from startups from Poland and abroad.
The companies had the opportunity to respond to almost 100 technological challenges in such areas as: Retail Sales, Logistics, Petrochemical Sales and Energy. As a result of the evaluation of submitted applications, PKN ORLEN decided to carry out 16 pilot implementations – the introduction of PESL price labels by Saule Technologies being one of them.
“– We joined the ORLEN Skylight Accelerator program because we hope to commercialize our technology very quickly. PKN ORLEN is an ideal partner for this – it is a large company with many partners and great opportunities; I hope that mutual benefits will result from this cooperation.” – declared Malinkiewicz.
Now, a year and a few months later, the implementation of PESL at one of the PKN ORLEN stations has not only made it the world’s first gas station to test this innovative, perovskite dynamic pricing solution but also proved successful. We are glad that the tremendous potential of Saule Technologies’ perovskite electronic shelf labels has been acknowledged and put to test by such an influential market player and we are looking forward to what the future of PESL at the ORLEN stations brings.
photo 2: PESL (Perovskite Electronic Shelf Labels), an example of application. source: ORLEN Press.