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F1 aerodynamics helps lower supermarket energy usage

18 July 2019

Tesco is joining forces with Aerofoil Energy to transform the performance of refrigeration cabinets via the application of Formula One-derived aerodynamics.

Image courtesy of Williams Advanced Engineering

As well as installing the award-winning Aerofoils in their supermarkets throughout the UK and Ireland, Tesco will go one step further by adopting Aerofoil Energy’s Vortex future-fridge technology, delivering energy and carbon emissions savings to rival that of fridges with glass doors.

Open-fronted fridges are a large consumer of power in supermarkets. The Aerofoil, from Aerofoil Energy, uses aerodynamics developed with Williams Advanced Engineering to guide cold air more efficiently down the front of the fridge. This results in substantially less cold air being lost from the unit, resulting in lower energy use, fewer carbon emissions and warmer aisles in stores. When applied across the major UK retailers that have ordered or installed them, Aerofoils have the potential to save annually the equivalent of a month's worth of the domestic CO2 emissions from a city the size of Manchester.

Vortex is the future-fridge technology project of Aerofoil Energy. Using advanced Computational Fluid Dynamics modelling with technical partner Williams Advanced Engineering, Aerofoil Energy’s Vortex technology delivers enhanced energy and temperature improvements in refrigerated cases, applicable to both existing and new-build cabinets.

Paul McAndrew of Aerofoil Energy said “Rolling out Aerofoils across an estate the size of Tesco’s will have a tangible impact on energy consumption at a national level and confirms Aerofoil Energy as the number one choice for shelf-edge technology. But that’s only half the story – adopting our Vortex technology for Tesco’s new-build cabinets will set a new standard for energy and temperature performance in supermarket refrigeration generally.”

The Aerofoils are manufactured in Britain from 100% recycled aluminium, which itself is a fully recyclable material. Overall, the adoption of Aerofoils delivers significant benefits for retailers from a sustainability perspective and will make wide-ranging positive contributions to Tesco’s environmental goals.

“The team at Williams Advanced Engineering welcomes the adoption of Aerofoils by Tesco, applying Formula One-derived aerodynamics technology into their stores,” said Craig Wilson, Managing Director of Williams Advanced Engineering. “Our mission is to deliver inspired engineering for a sustainable future and it is great news to see the adoption of this technology by such a respected global retailer.”


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