Cool way to save energy
Rapidcool technology was devised by British company Enviro-Cool (UK) Limited for cooling drink cans and bottles from room temperature to 4°C in 45 seconds or less. The company received a European Union research funding grant of €903,000 to help progress the concept to commercial production.
Kelvin Hall, founder of Enviro-Cool (UK) Limited, said: “The development grant from the EU has enabled us to develop Rapidcool as a replacement to the existing expensive, high-energy use equipment, such as multi-deck open refrigerators and beverage merchandisers.”
According to results from the company, the device shows energy savings of over 80% compared with some standard open-front drinks chillers and a 54% saving compared with glass-door coolers (figures based on cooling 200 x 500 mL cans per day). The potential saving on electricity costs equates to €832 per fridge per year compared with open-front drinks chillers and €219 versus glass-door coolers (assuming electricity price of 0.20 euro/kWh).
Across Europe, combined commercial refrigerator/freezers are estimated to consume 85 TWh of electricity per annum, equivalent to the energy required to power over 20 million households.
How it works
Rapidcool focuses on the problem of chilling small quantities on demand, taking away the need for heavily stocked chillers to run continuously in order to supply ‘cooled’ drinks during opening hours. To cool the beverage in the fastest way possible without the outer layers of liquid freezing before the inner liquid is cooled, the liquid needs to be efficiently mixed. The key to the now patented V-Tex technology is the way the drink is agitated without causing it to fizz when opened.
Although designed to work as a stand-alone unit, the cooling chamber can also be integrated into existing self-serve chillers.
The project partners have entered formal agreements with two global euro companies in the fields of beverage distribution and the production of white goods. Rapidcool engineers have recently created a robotic arm to add to the commercial unit so the taking and delivery of the can are fully automatic. Consumer trials started in a supermarket in the Netherlands at the end of October. A family of related products is underway which targets domestic use as well as commercial/retail applications. These products could potentially be used in the home, the workplace, bars, restaurants and hotels to cool a variety of drinks from 150 mL canned drinks to 750 mL wine bottles.
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