PRESS RELEASE - Supermarket Fridges Become More Energy Efficient Thanks to Formula One Aerodynamics
5 October 2015, Bloemfontein, South Africa
Williams Advanced Engineering, the division of Williams that commercialises Formula One derived technology and knowhow, has collaborated with UK start-up Aerofoil Energy to develop a new aerodynamic device that can significantly reduce the energy consumed by refrigerators in supermarkets and convenience stores.
Kriel Technology Group, a distributor of “game-changer” technologies has acquired the exclusive distribution rights to market Aerofoil in the Southern Africa region.
For South Africa the impact is huge in terms of decreasing loads on Eskom’s electricity generation capabilities.
Energy consumption makes up a significant percentage of a supermarket’s operational costs, with energy hungry refrigerators that keep the produce cool the largest consumer of power. Open fronted multi deck refrigerators that line the aisles of supermarkets consume excessive energy, with some of the cold air used to cool produce spilling out into the aisles resulting in increased energy consumption and “cold aisle syndrome” which can be unpleasant for shoppers.
Aerofoils are carefully designed and engineered profiles that control the direction of air flow. Aerofoil Energy and Williams are developing a new retrofittable aerofoil system that attaches onto each refrigerator shelf to keep more of the cool air inside the refrigerator cabinet. This innovative technology will result in significant energy savings for supermarkets and convenience stores, with subsequent benefits for their carbon footprint. Tests by Williams and Aerofoil Energy have shown energy savings of between 20-30%. The technology will also make the shopping experience more pleasant for consumers.
Aerofoil Energy are working closely with Williams to refine the aerofoil concept, utilising Williams’ proven expertise in aerodynamic design and testing from four decades of success in Formula One racing. Williams’ Advanced Engineering division is using computational fluid dynamics to model and simulate new designs before testing them at the Williams factory in Oxfordshire.
A number of supermarkets are evaluating the aerofoil technology with promising results. Sainsbury’s, the UK’s second largest supermarket chain, has been testing the product at a number of its stores. Sainsbury’s operates 1,100 stores and uses 1% of the UK’s energy in total. As part of its 20x20 Sustainability Plan, Sainsbury’s has committed to reducing its absolute operational carbon emissions by 30% by 2020 and this technology can play a key role in achieving this target.
Speaking about the trial John Skelton, Head of Refrigeration at Sainsbury’s PLC, said; “‘we’re proud to be giving our fridges a turbo boost with this fantastic aerodynamic technology. Aerofoils help the airflow around Formula One cars and can improve their performance – and that’s exactly how they help the fridges in our stores, by keeping the cold air in. This Formula One inspired innovation has already shown it can cut carbon produced by major refrigerators.”
Craig Wilson, Managing Director of Williams Advanced Engineering, added; “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. Much of our work focuses on improving energy efficiency and the collaboration with Aerofoil Energy is a perfect example of how Formula One innovations can have a tangible benefit to ordinary people and the environment. This technology has global potential and the savings in operational costs and emissions are extremely promising.”
Notes to Editors
• A 30,000sq/ft. supermarket can consume approximately 1.5 million kWh of energy each year. The ‘big 4’ supermarket operators in South Africa own more than 3,000 supermarkets between them, so their energy use runs into billions of kWh's each year.
• Even a small 2,300sq/ft. convenience store will consume 116,100 kWh every year. There are around 40,000 convenience stores in the UK.
• It is estimated that supermarkets and convenience stores account for between 5%-10% of the UK’s total energy use.
• Between 60-70% of the energy used by a supermarket or convenience store is used by the refrigerators.
• The main reason that open fridges consume so much energy is because of the open front. These fridges have a cold air curtain to make them safe. Much of the cold air curtain falls out and has to be continuously replaced. What is recycled mixes with warm air as the curtain is blown down the front face of the fridge, again leading to energy use in order to cool it down again.
• The aerofoils by Aerofoil Energy have been shown to dramatically reduce the spillage of cold air from multideck refrigerators. In tests they have produced energy savings ranging from 18% to 41.5%.
About Kriel Technology Group
Kriel Technology Group is a new diversified player in the technology market covering Automotive, Agriculture, Food Technology, Medical/Life Style and Retail sectors. A close working relationship with its partners and customers in these fields, enables Kriel Technology Group to introduce “game – changer” solutions to professionals and consumers to increase productivity and improve the life quality of their customers.
Kriel Technology Group
M +27 (0) 79 1207 650
About Williams Advanced Engineering
Williams Advanced Engineering is the technology and engineering services business of the Williams Group of companies that includes the WILLIAMS MARTINI RACING Formula One team. Working in close collaboration with its customers and partners in the automotive, motorsport, energy, civil aerospace and defense sectors, Williams Advanced Engineering creates energy efficient performance to meet the sustainability challenges of the 21st Century.