The aerofoil technology, used to make F1 cars more aerodynamic, will help to chill food to the same temperature, creating energy savings of up to 15%, while keeping aisles up to 4C warmer for customers.

Designed by F1 engineers William Advanced Engineering, the system steers cold air directly back down fridge units to stop cold air from spilling out onto the aisles. 

Sainsbury’s head of sustainability Paul Crewe said: “By keeping the cold air in our fridges using this technology, we’ll see an energy reduction of up to 15% which, when multiplied across all of our stores is a significant amount of energy saved.

“By looking outside of our industry, and borrowing technology from an industry that is renowned for its speed and efficiency, we are accelerating how we are reducing the impact on the environment whilst making shopping in Sainsbury’s stores a more comfortable experience.”

Cold technology

The retailer has been testing the product at a number of stores in an effort to achieve its target of reducing absolute operational carbon emissions by 30% by 2020. Sainsbury’s will install the new technology across its 1,400 stores by mid-2018.

Fridges contribute between 60-70% of the typical 1.5 million kWh of energy used by each of the UK’s supermarkets. Sainsbury’s has already undergone a series of innovations to ramp up its refrigeration cycle sustainability efforts.

Last year, it became the first company in the world to trial a refrigerated delivery truck cooled by a liquid nitrogen powered engine. This came after an announcement that it would incorporate “closed-loop” natural refrigerant trailer units for its delivery vehicles.

Sainsbury’s has also utilised ground-source heating technology to collect the heat from the back of its refrigerators to warm up its stores – cutting energy use by more than 30%.

George Ogleby

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