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Formula One technology to reduce refrigerator energy consumption

Williams Advanced Engineering has been working Aerofoil Energy to use Formula One technology to reduce refrigerator energy consumption. 

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”.

According to Williams, “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”. 

So, the Formula One team’s boffins have created a retrofittable aerofoil system that attaches onto 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 the Williams factory in Oxfordshire.

Formula One technology to help reduce refrigerator energy consumption

According to Williams, there are a number of supermarkets evaluating the new aerofoil system, including Sainsbury’s which operates 1100 stores in the UK and uses 1% of the UK’s total energy. The company is committed to reducing its energy consumption by 30% in 2020.

Speaking about the trial John Skelton, Head of Refrigeration at Sainsbury’s PLC, said; “‘We’re proud to be giving our fridges a turbo boost with this fantastic aerodynamic technology. 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, added; “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. 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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Isaac Bober

Isaac Bober