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Williams’ F1 rear wing tech will feature in… supermarkets

Sainsbury’s uses aerofoil to keep fridges cold, aisles warm and energy consumption down

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Formula One technology has famously trickled down into stuff you eventually see on regular road cars. Tech like paddleshifters, or carbon tubs. But trickling into regular, um, supermarkets? Yeah, that too.

Sainsbury’s has announced that it is to roll out a new aerofoil across its 1,400 UK stores said to reduce the energy used by its fridges (up to 30 per cent in lab testing). Yes, every word in that sentence happened.

In fact, Williams Advanced Engineering reckon the aerofoil will cut energy consumption by a whopping 44m kWh per year. Or the equivalent of boiling 320 million kettles. That’s almost a week’s worth of tea in the Top Gear office.

The design of the aerofoil in question was inspired by the rear wing on a Williams Formula One car, said to help keep fridges cold, and the corresponding aisles warmer, while using less energy overall.

It’s already been trialled in 50 Sainsbury’s stores across the country, recording an energy consumption drop of 15 per cent. Now – together with a company called Aerofoil Energy Ltd – WAE will retrofit the device, and ensure all new fridges come with it installed.

“Formula One is the ultimate R&D platform which can be applied beyond the racetrack to solve some of society’s most demanding challenges,” explains Williams Advanced Engineering’s managing director Craig Wilson.

We’re eagerly anticipating the application of a blown rear diffuser on a four-slice toaster…

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