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.

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