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F1 technology... heading to a supermarket near you

NEWS STORY
24/04/2015

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.

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 corresponding benefits for their carbon footprint. 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.

"We're proud to be giving our fridges a turbo boost with this fantastic aerodynamic technology," said John Skelton, Head of Refrigeration at Sainsbury's PLC. "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."

"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," added Craig Wilson, Managing Director of Williams Advanced Engineering. "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."

Coming next... Ferrari to help develop a supermarket trolley that still works perfectly when one wheel is broken.

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1. Posted by Hondawho?, 24/04/2015 15:21

"1. Posted by stoney, 2 minutes ago

"@Hondawho?: That's right - they took on the lessons learnt from Ferrari's pitstop procedures..

Yes thats exactly what I heard, but also in return I think they actually funded one of the theatres with some Ferrari technology as well? Hearsay only
"

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2. Posted by stoney, 24/04/2015 15:17

"@Hondawho?: That's right - they took on the lessons learnt from Ferrari's pitstop procedures...

"

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3. Posted by JimH, 24/04/2015 14:38

"To say that Sainsbury's uses 1% of the total energy used by the UK is extremely misleading. Just think about the numbers! In 2012, total (UK) electricity (NOT total energy, I might add) consumed was 317.5 TWh (27.3 million tonnes of oil equivalent). Demand for electricity in 2012 was 35.8 GW (Giga Watts) on average, and 57.490 GW at its peak (source URL: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Energy_in_the_United_Kingdom). 1% of even that (TWh) figure then divided by 1100 (number of stores) would mean that each store, on average, consumes 2.886 GIGA WATT HOURS (GWh) per year! Who are these figures trying to kid? Put all the supermarket chains together and the total would be a massive percentage of the UK energy consumption. As a reference comparison, Britain’s most recent nuclear power station (Sizewell-B) - a decent size nuclear power station - only produces about 1.2 GW (Sizewell B - source: http://www.imeche.org/knowledge/themes/energy/nuclear-power/about-nuclear-power/nuclear-uk)."

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4. Posted by Hondawho?, 24/04/2015 11:20

"Am I right in thinking that Ferrai had a hand in one of the hospitals in the UK? Great Ormand St I think, they designed or had influence in the operation theatre design?

Could be wrong but it came from a normally reliable source.

If thats the case its a shame more of the good work is not published perhaps. Mind you what the Daily Mirror might say is a dangerous thing of course! The headline may say "doctors bribed by being given Ferrari for allowing design of hospitals or something daft like that?"

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