V-Tex could offer fridge-free future for drinks aisles
Finally, a solution to that most vexing of problems: how to make warm beer cold, and quickly. New ‘V-Tex’ technology can chill a can of drink from room temperature to 5C in 10 seconds.
Enviro-Cool (UK) claimed the technology, which has received €932,000 (£786,000) EU funding, would provide an alternative to “halls upon halls of energy-wasting drink refrigerators”. Customers would be able to choose a drink from a supermarket shelf, place it into the V-Tex machine and get it back chilled within seconds.
“Refrigeration currently accounts for over 70% of the energy costs at small retailers and 50% at the average supermarket so there is a need for an alternative, and greener, way to cool drinks at the likes of Tesco,” said Enviro-Cool founder Kelvin Hall.
The company hopes the technology will be ready for commercial use by the third quarter of 2014. It will be carrying out trials at a Dutch supermarket next month.
“There is still a long way to go in developing this technology, but the plan is that this product can replace three walls of chillers in a supermarket and the workers required to stock them,” said Hall. “We estimate that the average saving on electricity costs equate to £700 for each replaced fridge per year.”
The shopper’s grab-and-go mindset would not be a barrier, he claimed. “At the moment, it takes around 10 seconds just to find a can of drink in a store at the right temperature. We are providing an alternative that guarantees a drink will be available at the perfect temperature in the same time.”
Michael Jennings, European Commission spokesman for research, innovation and science, said he hoped retailers adopted the technology. “This will save money, do something for the environment and create jobs,” he said.