Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS


V-Tex Multi Report Summary

Project ID: 683678

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - V-Tex Multi (Demonstration and optimisation of a highly innovative beverage cooling system that will deliver up to90% energy savings)

Reporting period: 2015-09-01 to 2016-08-31

Summary of the context and overall objectives of the project

Commercial refrigeration uses a massive 85TWh/yr and until recently was exempt from EcoDesign & Labelling regulations; this changed in July 16, given targets to save 58TW/h in this sector. Beverage cooling alone uses 21.2TWh/yr, costing €4.2 billion. V-Tex Multi aims to substantially reduce this and revolutionise how beverages are sold.

V-Tex Multi is ground-breaking, enabling radical savings (up to 90%) and a unique experience which could boost sales and environmental awareness. A market penetration of 10% would reduce energy consumption by 1TW/h, saving €200m per year and 500,000 tonnes of CO2.

There are over 8 million chillers in the EU; open front variants are favoured as they encourage impulse purchases, the trade-off is much higher energy consumption, typically >€5,300/yr (26,718kWh/yr). These could be phased out due to emerging legislation and more demanding specifications.

V-Tex Multi has the potential to replace most coolers; instead of perpetually chilling drinks (24-7), it will maintain an open front but beverages will be cooled per demand, to the ideal temperature. User savings of €4,800 per year are feasible (24,000kWh).

At its heart is a patented process which creates and collapses a Rankine vortex inside the beverage. This enables ultra-fast chilling (330ml can in < 1 minute) without freezing or disruption to carbon dioxide. A “single” V-Tex dispenser has already been demonstrated in a service station. The feedback from consumers, beverage companies and retailers was extremely positive.

V-Tex Multi will cope with high peak sales by incorporating a new buffer store, an extremely fast dispensing system and maintaining easy access to drinks. The main objectives are to:
1. Optimise & miniaturise V-Tex for use with a buffer store; improving the technology potential.
2. Scale up the V-Tex prototype to an efficient modular, automated drinks storage & dispensing system. To enable easy installation within existing outlets.
3. Fabricate 2 full scale pilot prototypes with provisional CE testing for deployment in a real-life environment e.g. service station or supermarket
4. Perform lab tests, pilots and demos. Create marketing & dissemination material to drive end-users and consumers towards adopting the system.
5. Productionise the design; suitable for further optimization for serial production, to enable rapid up-scaling and standardization following CE approvals
6. Establish a European supply chain for V-Tex Multi

Work performed from the beginning of the project to the end of the period covered by the report and main results achieved so far

During RP1 the project focused on the V-Tex multi design, including: requirements spec, user engagement, concepts, redesigned product holder, design of an automated handling system, integration of the V-Tex cooler with a new cold buffer store, external housing design, development of the main controls & user interface, detailed design & refinements. The team also initiated supplier engagement, created, and validated some subsystems prior to full prototype build.

The project progressed all objectives and is on track to produce the world’s most efficient retail chiller:
1. Optimisation of the V-Tex technology - The V-Tex module has been optimised incl. several refinements for cost reduction and manufacture. Development of a new holder works in conjunction with product scanning and a new automated handling system.
2. Scale up the prototype - The design is capable of handling multiple product types and significantly higher quantities than previous designs.
3. Fabricate 2 prototypes - A detailed BoM was created and some subsystems were produced and tested. Suppliers have already been contacted to assess the manufacturing feasibility and to start sourcing key components for the prototype.
4. Testing, pilots, demonstration, marketing & dissemination - end user engagement covered requirements, concepts and pilot sites; this consisted of multiple meetings and helped direct the designs. Other marketing activities incl. creation of a concept video and a market overview. These were used to promote V-Tex Multi to potential manufacturing partners and investors. An independent energy study was commissioned to test the duty cycle of a leading “low energy” product; V-Tex was over 60% more efficient.
5. Productionise design – the designs were refined to lower the complexity and number of moving parts. In-depth manufacturing and supply chain assessments were carried out for the V-Tex cooling module, handling system and the enclosure.
6. Establish a European supply chain for the V-Tex Multi system - Significant activity has been carried out to identify, target and recruit partners. Selection of the correct manufacturing partners will be vital to the success and global supply. Although this activity was envisaged in RP2, we secured several promising meetings with world class organisations.

Progress beyond the state of the art and expected potential impact (including the socio-economic impact and the wider societal implications of the project so far)

V-Tex is a patented process for cooling drinks. Combining this with an “ambient store” enhances product accessibility, and a “cold buffer store” enables ultra-fast dispensing. There are no other systems like V-Tex and none can offer the energy saving potential.

A market penetration of around 10% could reduce EU energy consumption by approximately 1TW/h, saving €200 million in energy cost per year and displacing 500,000 tonnes of CO2.

These reductions translate to direct savings for retailers, and an extremely attractive value proposition. Annual use for a typical supermarket installation is expected to be 1,900 kWh vs. 26,700 kWh for an open front chiller, this equates to an estimated energy cost of €3,070 vs. €42,750 over the system lifetime; a saving of €39,680 is greater than the cost of a V-Tex multi system making replacement viable. In fact, the rate of return from energy savings alone is <5 years; for a new installation, the price premium for V-Tex should be recoverable in <1 year.

Our research shows that global demand for commercial refrigeration is growing. With a total available market for drinks chillers in the order of €3 billion per year by 2018; the expected global impact in terms of jobs and economic activity is significant.

The achievements in RP1 place us closer to market capitalisation:
- Combining V-Tex with an insulated buffer store and iCool provides the world’s most efficient system. This uses one small compressor and novel features such as an ice bank which can be cooled off peak.
- The design of a fully integrated system with automated handling results in the most economic, fastest method of chilling.
- The refined product holder operates more effectively, with a wide range of products and works flawlessly with the rest of the system.
- The user interface has been designed for ease of use, and offers potential for a more interaction or dynamic advertising.

The commercial refrigeration sector is currently dominated by “me too products”. The design for V-Tex multi is cutting edge; it is novel and has a range of unique selling points:
- Open front – our ambient store maintains the ability to touch the drinks.
- Payment - the option to integrate a payment system could eliminate the need to pay at the till and speed up buying.
- Easier restocking - no issues with burying cold products behind warm products, and no issues with running out of cold stock.
- Designated Products - use of barcode can be used to ensure that only authorised products are used.
- IoT - the use of an intelligent control system, and GUI introduces the potential to interact with consumer’s devices E.g. to understand preferences, offer loyalty rewards.

Related information

Record Number: 195146 / Last updated on: 2017-02-21