Beverage refrigeration doesn't immediately leap out as something that the European Commission would want to get involved in.
But then you think about every drinks chiller chugging away in every service station, supermarket and bar in Europe (and the 85 terawatts of electricity they use a year) and the potential savings in energy and money start to seem pretty significant.
And now, thanks to EC funding, a group of five partners including London-based Enviro-Cool appear to have solved the problem. Their new RapidCool prototype machines for both home and businesses are able to cool canned drinks from room temperature to chilled in just 45 seconds, using 54% less energy than glass door chillers.
The machines use 'V-Tex technology', which rotates a can in order to cool it rapidly and evenly, without causing the drink to fizz.
The project partners say their prototypes have proven the case for the tech - and the hunt is now on for commercial applications in a range of form factors.
"The outcome is a leading technology, beating other solutions hands down to achieve ultrafast cooling times under 1 minute and even promising much shorter waiting times (around 15-20s per can) through the use of multi-can, batch chilling. Perhaps more impressive Rapidcool has demonstrated enormous energy saving, with results showing savings of over 80% compared with some standard open front drinks chillers."
Take a look at a video of the device, above.
Does your baby take up too much space? Is it too stinky? Thankfully, there's <a href="http://www.time.com/time/specials/packages/article/0,28804,1991915_1991909_1991746,00.html">this baby cage</a> that allows you to suspend it out your window! (Photo by Reg Speller/Fox Photos/Getty Images)
Noodle Eater Hair Guard
Ponytails are so passé. The best way to keep your hair out of your noodles: <a href="http://foolishgadgets.com/200901/noodle-eaters-hair-guard/">masks made out of paper plates</a>.
Cigarette Rain Guard
Because sometimes it's raining so hard that even your <a href="http://gizmodo.com/5039920/cigarette-umbrella-keeps-tobacco-torch-dry">cigarette needs an umbrella</a>.
Can you get any lazier? Credit: <a href="http://www.thinkgeek.com/product/cf68/">ThinkGeek</a>
Face Protectors for Snow Storms
For all of those times when a hat isn't enough to keep you warm, you can look like one of those <a href="http://www.coolest-homemade-costumes.com/coolest-the-maitlands-from-beetlejuice-costume-51.html">creepy monsters from Beetlejuice</a>? Credit: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/nationaalarchief/4193509756/sizes/o/">Flickr</a>
If you're not trying to cut your dog in half, you have no business using this device. What's wrong with a good, old-fashioned leash?
"Five-year-old Tim Gregory wears, under protest, a brush that cleans a child's neck without the use of soap and water in Los Angeles, Calif., Jan. 12, 1950. The plastic collar brush will dry-clean the youngster's neck thoroughly as he plays. The brush was developed by the Los Angeles Brush Corp. at a mother's suggestion." What ever happened to a good old fashioned bath? (h/t <a href="http://www.businessinsider.com/50-awesome-inventions-2010-9?op=1">Business Insider</a>)
Portable Record Player
Sure, records player are bulky, but so are records! We're having trouble seeing the point of this one. Credit: <a href="http://www.thinkgeek.com/product/ef06/?srp=1">ThinkGeek</a>
Flexible Flyer Snowball Maker
Because making snowballs is so difficult. <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Flexible-Flyer-Snowball-Maker-colors/dp/B000FJ4AD4/ref=sr_1_cc_1?s=aps&ie=UTF8&qid=1357234965&sr=1-1-catcorr&keywords=snowball+maker">Snowball Maker</a>.
"Jack Milford, player with the Wembley Monarchs ice hockey team, has invented a carrying device so that his baby can join his wife and himself on the ice." Ice skating is more important to this man than the safety of his child. (h/t <a href="http://byutv.org/seethegood/post/The-10-worst-inventions.aspx">ByuTV</a>)
An <a href="http://byutv.org/seethegood/post/The-10-worst-inventions.aspx">effective way</a> to roast yourself to death. (Photo by Yale Joel/Life Magazine/Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images)
At least the baby will have a great immune system after some time being used as a mop and <a href="http://www.betterthanpants.com/baby-mop.html">bathing in dirt</a>.
Double Ended Pipe
For when you and your friend want to <a href="http://all-that-is-interesting.com/bizarre-inventions">conserve tobacco</a> while also sharing a tender moment.
QuikPod Handheld Convertible Tripod
For the <a href="http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/selfie">"selfie"</a> addict with short arms. <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Quik-Pod-QP-EHHT-Handheld-Convertible/dp/B000NPCI9I/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1357233759&sr=8-1&keywords=quikpod">QuikPod</a> Handheld Convertible Tripod. (Amazon)