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Sainsbury’s to use aerofoil technology in all cold aisles

Retailer will be adopting chiller technology based around Formula One engineering principles in a bid to improve cost efficiency and customer comfort

Sainsbury’s will be adopting aerofoil technology for in-store refrigeration across all its cold aisles in a move claimed to be a first for a UK supermarket retailer.

The adoption of the cooling technology, which has been developed by Aerofoil Energy in collaboration with F1 specialist Williams Advanced Engineering, is expected to improve customer comfort and energy efficiency in all the company’s stores.

Aerofoil technology will be used in aisles stocking products that will include meats, yoghurts and cheeses, with the aim of curbing energy use equivalent to over 320 million kettles boiling, according to the manufacturer.

“The fridges will remain at the same temperature to keep food cool and fresh, however the aisles will be warmer for customers by up to 4°C – helping to make the shopping experience more comfortable for customers,” said Aerofoil Energy in a statement.

The new technology is designed to prevent the cold air in fridge units from escaping into the aisles of stores. It works by making use of aerofoils to steer cold directly back into the unit based on principles from race car engineering, the developer has claimed.

All refrigerator unit shelves used in Sainsbury’s stores will have aerofoil systems attached to them, based around similar design built into F1 racing cars to redirect airflow.

Mike O’Driscoll, chief executive of the Williams Group - the engineer of the technology - said the adoption of aerofoils by such a major retailer was a prime example of how race car innovation could have wider applications for more sustainable systems.

“As air quality and sustainability concerns revolutionise traditional industries, there is huge growth potential for our business in deploying energy efficient technology in a range of sectors, not just automotive. Formula One is the ultimate R&D platform which can be applied beyond the racetrack to solve some society’s most demanding challenges.”

Sainsbury’s announcement comes as a number of UK and EU-based supermarket retailers such as Tesco and Aldi are looking at innovative new approaches to in-store and operational cooling.

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