Project TEC50: The supermarket freezers of the future

Eine Reihe leerer, heller Kühlschränke in einem sauberen Raum.

In the exciting project TEC50 the three innovative medium-sized companies KMW Kühlmöbelwerk Limburg GmbH, Skill Software GmbH from Frankfurt am Main and va-Q-tec have joined their forces to make refrigerators in supermarkets even more energy efficient. Their share of the German final energy demand for refrigeration technology amounts to 10%, which is about 1.4% of the consumed electrical energy in Germany. Commercial cooling is one of the few segments in which net energy demand grew by 4% in the years 2009 – 2017. And more and more refrigeration units are being used in supermarkets, which further increases the energy consumption in this segment. Therefore, improved insulation and consequently reduced energy consumption are particularly useful in this area. The aim of the TEC50 project was to reduce this energy consumption by 50%.

Conventionally, the walls of refrigerators in supermarkets are insulated with plastic foams. The large, transparent glass surfaces and frequent opening and closing are additional challenges of the insulation, which have so far only been made possible by additional materials. The next generation of these refrigerators offers many advantages: Core elements are the vacuum insulation panels (VIPs) from va-Q-tec. These insulate 10 times better than conventional materials of the same thickness and thus offer a maximum insulation effect even when space is limited. Thereby they not only save a multiple of the cooling energy in the refrigerators of supermarkets. They are almost 100% recyclable and thus very environmentally friendly.

Thanks to the additional use of highly efficient insulating glass and intelligent control technology, which controls the air supply even before the appliance is opened, there are no more condensation losses. To avoid condensation fluid, an electronic frame heater was previously used and can now be completely eliminated. Integrated sensors and applications additionally control the energy management of the refrigerator.