UK Company Tests Energy-Efficient Commercial Refrigeration Shelf

refrigeration shelf grocery supermarket energy savings

UK-based engineering company Flint Engineering has begun piloting a commercial refrigeration shelf that could reduce energy costs by 30% for retailers and supermarkets, The Grocer reported.

Most commercial refrigerators units hold food on stainless steel shelves, Flint Engineering explains. These cabinets rely on cold air circulation for maintaining the required temperature. As a result, the effectiveness varies depending on the density of the produce. Typically, this creates warm spots on the shelves where the produce doesn’t get maintained at the desired temperature, the company adds.

Excess cool air spilling out of the refrigerated shelving areas can also have an effect on energy use. In order to keep customers comfortable while they shop, grocery stores and food retailers may need to raise the heat.

Instead, Flint Engineering worked with Brunel University to come up with a passive condenser shelf. In their refrigeration shelf application, a simple condenser forms part of the shelf and gets chilled in the cold airflow behind the refrigerator’s back panel, the company explains on their site. “The temperature of the condenser immediately drops to the temperature of the airflow, and within seconds the temperature of the shelf drops to that same temperature.”

Currently Flint Engineering is testing its aluminum shelf technology in Kent at a facility owned by the UK-based commercial refrigeration company The Bond Group, The Grocer reported. The Bond Group’s customers include the grocery store and food retail chains Waitrose, Spar, and Farmfoods.

Mark Robinson, director of Flint Engineering, told the publication that tests performed under ISO-controlled conditions produced “pure energy consumption savings of 27%.” He says the company is in talks with leaders at several different supermarkets about doing trials. His company aims to get the shelves deployed during the first half of 2018.

Vendors mentioned above:

  • Flint Engineering
  • The Bond Group
  • Waitrose
  • Spar
  • Farmfoods

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