Asda installs Formula One technology to drive refrigeration energy savings

Supermarket Asda will install technology inspired by Formula One racing across stores, in a move that could reduce refrigeration energy consumption by 17% while lowering carbon emissions.

Asda is installing new devices provided by Aerofoil Energy at 187 of its supermarkets. The technology is based on devices used by Williams Advanced Engineering in Formula 1 racing cars, which uses aerodynamics to guide cold air across an application more efficiently.

“Like all the Walmart family, we’re committed to lowering our energy use, with a target of a 30% reduction in energy intensity by 2025 from our 2010 baseline,” Asda’s senior manager for construction design standards, Brian Churchyard, said. 

“The rollout of Aerofoils, alongside other initiatives we’re undertaking, such as moving to 100% LED sales floor lighting this year, will significantly help us in achieving this target, as well as improving the shopping experience for our customers.”

Aerofoil Energy worked with Williams Advanced Engineering at a technical facility in Oxfordshire to refine the process, which could reduce refrigeration-based emissions at Asda by 17%. US-based tests using the technology also suggest that extended shelf life for fresh produce is possible – helping to reduce food waste.

Cool Runnings

Asda joins Sainsbury’s in using the Aerofoil technology. The system steers cold air directly back down fridge units to stop cold air from spilling out onto the aisles. 

Elsewhere, Tesco could reduce its carbon footprint by 40% – well above the 26.5% reduction it is targeting against a 2006 baseline – through the installation of low GWP refrigerants across 1,200 UK stores. German discount supermarket group Aldi has also invested £20m in natural refrigerants which will be installed across all of its UK stores. The transition to CO2 refrigeration units will see Aldi’s potential refrigerant gas carbon emissions cut by 99%.

Williams Advanced Engineering’s managing director, Craig Wilson, added: “Using state-of-the-art aerodynamic capabilities here at Williams we have worked with Aerofoil Energy to design and develop Aerofoil to deliver multi-million-pound energy savings, tons of CO2 emission reductions and an improved climate in stores for shoppers.”

In 2016, the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol set phase-out timelines for countries to move away from using hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) for operations such as air conditioning and refrigeration. Research suggests that European retailers are behind schedule to phase-out HFCs in favour of more environmentally friendly technology.

Matt Mace

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