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Formula One aerodynamics in the supermarket

24 April 2015

Williams Advanced Engineering has collaborated with UK start-up, Aerofoil Energy to help make the supermarket cold aisle more energy efficient.

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 a considerable amount of energy, with some of the cold air used to cool produce spilling out into the aisles resulting not only in increased energy consumption, but also the so-called 'cold aisle syndrome' which can be unpleasant for shoppers.

Aerofoil Energy and Williams are developing a new aerofoil system that can be retrofitted to each refrigerator shelf to keep more of the cool air inside the refrigerator cabinet. Williams’ Advanced Engineering division is using computational fluid dynamics to model and simulate new designs before testing them at its factory in Oxfordshire.

A number of supermarkets are evaluating the aerofoil technology in trials at selected sites; Sainsbury’s, the UK’s second largest supermarket chain, has been testing the product at a number of its stores and reports promising results. 

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