Williams’ F1 innovation to cut store refrigerator energy use

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 an aerodynamic device to cut the energy used by store refrigerators.

Aerofoils are designed and engineered profiles that control the direction of air flow. Aerofoil Energy and Williams are developing a retrofittable aerofoil system that attaches onto each refrigerator shelf to keep more of the cool air inside the refrigerator cabinet. This innovation is expected to result in significant energy savings for supermarkets and convenience stores, with corresponding benefits for their carbon footprint.

Aerofoil Energy is working with Williams to refine the aerofoil concept, using Williams’ expertise in aerodynamic design and testing. 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 stores.

Speaking about the trial John Skelton, head of refrigeration at Sainsbury’s said; “‘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, said, “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.”

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