Active refrigeration shelf with thermal storage
The research aims at developing a cost heat pipe based, cost effective and efficient active shelf design with thermal storage capability for applications in chilled / freezing cabinets. The idea is two fold, firstly to make the shelf within a retail display chiller/freezer a thermally active component and then secondly to include thermal storage for both new and retrofit. Undertaking these two changes have several major improvements to current systems. These are, reduced electrical and carbon load as the active shelf with PCM requires up to 30% less energy to deliver the same amount of cooling to the displayed goods, with inbuilt thermal storage there is the opportunity to smooth out demand running the freezers at times of either low grid demand or at times of high local generation from PV, wind etc. protect the food from temperature fluctuation due to power outages, help to manage the freezer load as the quantity of the product on the shelf changes during the sales cycle. There are in excess of 6,500 supermarkets and superstore in the UK retail sector. Out of these stores about 2,500 are larger than 1400 square metres in area with the remainder over 280 square metres in area. Beyond that are a further 40,000 food convenience stores equal to 3% of the country's total electrical load.