Microwaves have long since provided small retailers with a way to quickly heat food on demand for customers, but when it comes to keeping products cool, constantly-on refrigerators are needed, sucking up energy and money. Now a new solution — V-Tex — uses an innovative technique to turn beverages ice cold in less than 45 seconds, reducing the need for mass refrigeration.
According to its creators, led by the UK’s Enviro-Cool, rapid chilling has been attempted before, but other methods leave fizzy drinks flat or turn the outside into ice before the rest of the beverage has cooled. To get around this, the V-Tex method rotates the can or bottle at just the right speed to create a Rankine vortex, which agitates the liquid and preserves the carbonation when the drink is subjected to freezing temperatures. At the same time, it is rotated around a second axis to avoid the occurrence of an outer vortex which would cool faster than an inner one. The entire chilling process takes less than 45 seconds. Enviro-Cool has developed both a machine suitable for retail — which even uses a buffer of six pre-chilled cans to cut the time consumers need to wait to cool their drink at the point of sale — and a domestic version which can quickly cool bottles of champagne, wine or beer
The developers suggest that the solution uses up to 80 percent less energy than continuous refrigeration, cutting costs for retailers and offering an environmentally-friendly and convenient way for homes and work environments to chill drinks. Enviro-Cool has already begun to trial the machines in the Netherlands, but could you help bring this idea to a wider market?