The countless man-hours and millions of pounds poured into the development of Formula One cars rarely generates technology useful outside of the racetrack. Now though, race car aerodynamics are being used to make your weekly shop a more pleasant experience.
Williams Advanced Engineering – the commercial arm of the longstanding Williams F1 team – has teamed up with UK start-up Aerofoil Energy to create an aerofoil for use in supermarket refrigerator aisles.
Attached to individual shelves within the chilled units, the aerofoils are designed to stop cold air leaking out into the aisle by redirecting it back onto the food. Not only is this simple addition set to make supermarkets vastly more energy efficient, but it'll also spell the end of the uncomfortable 'cold aisle syndrome' for shoppers.
Sainsbury's has been testing the new aerofoils in stores and has reported a whopping 30 per cent reduction in energy consumption. With supermarkets and convenience stores accounting for five and 10 per cent of the country's entire energy usage, the aerofoils could prove to have a massive cost and environmental benefit.
"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."