Formula One device to help save energy in supermarkets

A Formula One inspired aerodynamic device that can significantly reduce the energy consumed by refrigerators in supermarkets has been devised.

Energy consumption makes up a significant percentage of a supermarket’s operational costs, with energy hungry refrigerators taking up 60 to 70 per cent of it, so new aerofoils haven been designed to control the direction of air flow and save energy.

Traditionally open fronted multi deck refrigerators consume excessive energy, with some of the cold air used to cool the goods spilling out into the aisles – the unpleasant ‘cold aisle syndrome’ we’re familiar with.

The Formula One inspired innovation, a retrofittable aerofoil system, can be attached onto each refrigerator shelf to keep more of the cool air inside the refrigerator cabinet. Aerofoils help the airflow around Formula One cars improve their performance and in a similar way they can help keep the cold air in the refrigerators.

Craig Wilson, managing director of Williams Advanced Engineering that co-developed the system, said: “Williams Advanced Engineering’s mantra is to take the best of Formula One technology and knowhow and work with a range of industries to help improve their products and services.”

It is estimated that supermarkets and convenience stores account for between 5 – 10 per cent of the UK’s total energy use, with a 30,000sq/ft supermarket consuming approximately 1.5 million kWh of energy each year.

“This technology has global potential and the savings in operational costs and emissions are extremely promising,” he said.

The use of the device is expected to result in significant energy savings for supermarkets and convenience stores, with additional benefits for their carbon footprint and will hopefully also make the shopping experience less crisp for consumers.

Sainsbury’s, the UK’s second largest supermarket chain, has already been testing the product at a number of its stores.

Williams Advanced Engineering worked closely with UK start-up Aerofoil Energy to develop the aerodynamic device.

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