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Formula One collaboration accelerates development of aerofoils for refrigerated cabinets

Aerofoil Energy celebrates successful partnership with F1 specialist Williams Advanced Engineering

The development of shelf-mounted aerofoils as an energy saving measure has accelerated with the collaboration of Aerofoil Energy and Formula 1 specialist Williams Advanced Engineering. Williams is offering its specialised aerodynamic testing, proven on generations of racing cars to optimise the design of the aerofoils.Williams is using computational fluid dynamics to model and simulate new designs before testing them in the F1 wind tunnels at the Williams factory in Oxfordshire.

The collaboration comes alongside extensive field-testing by Sainsbury’s of the aerofoils across its estate, as reported in RAC February. Other supermarkets are also now trialling the aerofoil devices.

The team at Aerofoil Energy believe the technology is a viable alternative to fitting doors, particularly in retrofit, as retailers look to reduce energy loss from open-fronted multidecks. The multidecks suffer from cold air ‘spilling’ into the aisles and so the aerofoils are designed and engineered profiles that control the direction of air flow.

As well as reducing energy consumption, the aerofoils reduce cold aisle syndrome, making the shopping experience more pleasant for consumers.

The aerofoils by Aerofoil Energy have been shown to dramatically reduce the spillage of cold air from multideck refrigerators. In tests by leading manufacturers such as EPTA and RD&T, they have produced energy savings ranging from 18% to 41.5%.

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, the retailer believes.

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; “Our 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.”

Readers' comments (2)

  • As engineers we are asked to solve problems. Sometimes these are not particularly palatable. This I can understand.

    But to broadcast this and try to justify it to others is total hypocrisy. This news item is a perfect example of the environmental equivalent of the Emperor's New Clothes. We can all see that this glamorous dressing up of the problem of energy wastage by open display cases for what it is, but we are requested to stand back and cheer as it is paraded in front of us

    The most effective way of reducing energy consumption of display cases is to fit them with doors. This is not new technology. Fitting doors to cabinets is a tried and tested measure that results in the best energy reduction. Stores already fitted with display cases complete with doors are report a huge reduction in energy. If this could be rolled out across the whole supermarket estate, the benefits would be massive.

    When will someone standup and call this what it really is? This Emperor really is quite exposed and they know it. When will the rest of us see that too?

    We can't stop shop keepers doing what they do, but as engineers, stop this public hypocritical obscene display

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  • Lol, the Emperors New Clothes. :-)

    I always appreciate your comments Jason but I think you have really nailed it this time.

    That is exactly what it is. As is so much that comes out of the supermarkets' environmental dressing up.

    It would actually make a good category for the forthcoming awards

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