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Coca-Cola develops cooling power-free vending machine

25 Comments

Coca-Cola (Japan) Co Ltd, together with Fuji Electric Retail Systems Co Ltd have succeeded in developing the “A011” peak-shift vending machine. This vending machine, developed as part of the Apollo ultra-energy-saving vending machine development project, can operate without using power for cooling for up to 16 hours per day.

The successfully developed A011 peak-shift vending machine shifts use of power for cooling from the usual peak midday times to the nighttime, when there is a relative surplus power capacity.

In conventional vending machines, the temperature in the machine would rise slowly if cooling was stopped for long periods of time since only a portion of the products stored inside of it were cooled in response to sales in order to limit electricity consumed. However, in the peak-shift vending machine, A011, all products stored in it are cooled during night time when there is relatively more power available. By bringing about cooling effects to all products stored in it even after cooling functions have stopped, the rise in temperature in the storage unit is limited even after cooling has been stopped for a long period of time.

In addition, by using more vacuum insulation materials, insulation has improved and the machine is not affected as much by outside temperature.

In preparation for full-fledged market launch, the A011 peak-shift vending machine will be field tested until the end of August in Saitama Prefecture’s Kumagaya City and Gifu Prefecture’s Tajimi City, the hottest regions in Japan. After verifying the new model’s performance, Coca-Cola said it will work to maximize their peak-shift functionality, extending the amount of time they can go without using power for cooling during time slots when power is generally in short supply.

Since the Great East Japan Earthquake in 2011, Coca-Cola Japan has been implementing specific round-robin cooling suspension measures in its vending machines in all areas except Okinawa Prefecture, cutting power usage by 15%.

All newly purchased can and PET vending machines have been HFC-free since 2011, and LED lighting is being used in all vending machines since 2012.

© Japan Today/Coca-Cola

©2020 GPlusMedia Inc.


25 Comments
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Amazing!!! They can do this for vending machines, but not homes or buildings???

13 ( +13 / -0 )

Insulation, the holy grail of "modern" Japan. DuH!

Got a cold. Felt dizzy so I bought an Acerola from a vending machine. The bottle was lukewarm. I was surprised and so happy that I didn't have to force down freezing drink down my already painful throat!

Goes to show that hardships (or "uncomfort", as tenderfoot Tokyoites would say) lead to innovation and lasting improvements. Throwing more and more energy (away) to solve a simple problem is just plain stupid.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Learned something new... didn't know Kumagaya and Tajimi are the hottest places in Japan. Wonder why Okinawa got left out...

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

namabiru4meJul. 12, 2012 - 03:00PM JST

Amazing!!! They can do this for vending machines, but not homes or buildings???

They do here in Hokkaido (since peak electricity is actually in winter). Insulated buildings and double glass are fairly standard, as is battery backed heating.

While some commercial buildings also have this, it's pretty difficult due to the thermal mass you need (some use "small" ponds as a heatsink for passive cooling).

0 ( +4 / -4 )

gaijinTechieJul. 12, 2012 - 03:11PM JST

Insulation, the holy grail of "modern" Japan.

Actually, the way this press release is worded, it's actual thermal mass that's the biggest change (then replacing refrigerator style insulation with thermos style vacuum insulation) . Basically they are counting on the fact that if it takes one minute for one can to get 1 degree hotter given a certain insulation, it would only raise 0.1 degree if there were ten cans to share the heat gain.

Throwing more and more energy (away) to solve a simple problem is just plain stupid.

Yes, this machine really doesn't tackle the problem at all, simply softens the symptoms. In the end, this machine will likely end up wasting more electricity, simply the night type instead of day type.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

DenTok2009Jul. 12, 2012 - 03:43PM JST

Wonder why Okinawa got left out...

Okinawa never had nuclear plants so they don't have any change in energy production capacity. Why bother throwing money somewhere that it does zero good? At least in the mainland it can cut peak power by a few watts each machine, and the mainland needs as much reduction as possible unless they start up more nuclear plants and solve the underlying problem of power shortages.

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

There are an estimated 5.5 million vending machines using about 19.25 TWh/year. Not all of those supply cold drinks which use the most power. Vending machines provide many different items. The cold drink machines use the highest amount of power.

While it won't decrease the overall level of power use, it does shift it to the less critical overnight power. Probably we might see in the near future some use of solar power like with some street lighting.

When I lived in the mountains, so many times I would come across a vending machine on some lonely road which could not have been serving many people. I've even seen them in rice fields.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

Thank the kamisama for the vending machines! How would life go on if ill-dressed ossan in rubber sandals and white socks couldn't get their hyper sweetened canned coffee?! Or if we couldn't get our Pocari Sweat at ANY time, 24/7? Life would just feel like... Nah, Japanese society as we know it would end.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

@zichi,

I believe a change of attitude is needed. Japanese customers "demand" availability, "benriness" and to be served everything, all the time. Who really needs a jidohanbaiki in the freakin' mountains? Until the poplulace can understand that "eco" not necessarily means more technical innovation, I think everything will just continue. As is.

More of the same.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

@DenTok2009

Wonder why Okinawa got left out...

I have a fair number of students from Okinawa at my Kyushu university. They all tell me that Kyushu is hotter and more humid than back home. Maybe it's the lack of a sea breeze....

1 ( +3 / -2 )

tairitsuiken,

I think it's also to do with "pressure selling" from companies providing vending machines. Every week at my art studio in the Japan Alps, a vending machine rep would arrive to inform me of the benefits of placing vending machines outside, and I was on a main road. I got fed up with it, in the end I put a sign up on the door requesting no vending machine rep's. With "pressure selling" too many people just give in. I think most of them don't actually make many yens since you have to pay for the power use too.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

tairitsuikenJul. 12, 2012 - 05:41PM JST

I believe a change of attitude is needed. Japanese customers "demand" availability, "benriness" and to be served everything, all the time. Who really needs a jidohanbaiki in the freakin' mountains? Until the poplulace can understand that "eco" not necessarily means more technical innovation, I think everything will just continue. As is.

Yes, even small cultural changes can make huge impacts on eco-friendliness. Drinking your coke room temperature is one (interestingly, after you open it you might as well leave it room temperature since it will be more or less as bubbly throughout), simply taking a drink with you in a thermos is another. As zichi stated, there's no need for more vending machines than cops, firefighters, and doctors combined. Easiest way to help is to simply do your part in making it less profitable to have those vending machines.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

@basroil Thanks for the response. Does the energy source have to be from a power plant in order to do any good? Saving electricity makes sense for anywhere, methinks...

@lucabrasi Guess I will have to visit Kyushu! I thought Okinawa being an island near the equator would be hot and humid than the mainland.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

DenTok2009Jul. 12, 2012 - 06:33PM JST

Thanks for the response. Does the energy source have to be from a power plant in order to do any good? Saving electricity makes sense for anywhere, methinks...

All electrical energy come from powerplants in some way or another. In the case of vending machines, solar is a waste of money, since they are usually in the shade to reduce costs, and nowhere near enough insolation to power the machine. You can expect maybe a kWh a month if you are lucky, and the machine probably goes through that in a day. Micro-generators wouldn't be all that great, but batteries would probably be a decent way to reduce peak at up to 90-95% efficiency (if my water heater does it, why not the machine, 500Wh batteries are fairly small). Regardless, you don't really save electricity with this machine, simply delay when you use electricity until after peak. Considering Japan currently doesn't have dedicated base load generation, it doesn't really help the situation much (still costing a lot of money to produce electricity at any time of the day).

If you mean using self-cooling chemicals, they tend to be either really toxic or really inefficient. I wouldn't want the high quality stuff anywhere near food.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Coke Cola were making solar powered vending machines in 2010. Other companies were also making them before that.

http://www.ubergizmo.com/2010/06/eco-friendly-vending-machines-hitting-japan/

I don't know how successful they were. I've seen a few of them.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

I think that layers of insulation would be of big benefit. Make the vending machines larger if necessary. In the old days, large blocks of ice used to keep most of the summer when put in ice houses and covered in sawdust. My grandpa used put a tank of water under a tree out in the tobacco field and wrap it up (I forget what with) and my dad said the water stayed cold all day long. Someone must be able to come up with a modern day system of using layers of insulation. Sometimes the simplest solution is the best. And yes, I agree with those above that attitudes must change. As basroil says, take a thermos.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

namabiru4me: Amazing!!! They can do this for vending machines, but not homes or buildings???

Sure you can. For homes you need time-of-day meters that allow the utility to charge you more for electric use at peak hours. It is expensive to replace the existing ones with them, but they provide a financial incentive for building occupants to shift loads like clothes washing & drying into the evening or early morning . In the US there are also meters and associated connections that allow utilities to reduce the home's air-conditioning use during the peak daytime hours. If you volunteer to participate in this you do save money on your electric bill but are less comfortable...

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

For homes you need time-of-day meters that allow the utility to charge you more for electric use at peak hours. It is expensive to replace the existing ones with them, but they provide a financial incentive for building occupants to shift loads like clothes washing & drying into the evening or early morning .

That might be a good idea who are out all day at work and come home in the evening to cheap power, but there are many like me, who work from home, so higher day time power charges would be a burden we can't afford.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

Nice going for Coca Cola! Now if they could also sell Cuba Libres and or Mojitos??

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Photoman333Jul. 12, 2012 - 10:29PM JST

For homes you need time-of-day meters that allow the utility to charge you more for electric use at peak hours.

Spoken like a true outsider.

Pretty much every single apartment up here in Hokkaido has it, 8.3 yen (probably going to increase because tomari was the only plant that ran under 8 yen in operations costs), 21.8 yen for the first 90kWh, 28.3 for the second 90kWh set (never gone higher, but probably 35, then 42 yen etc), then about 60 yen for peak. It is in no way fair though, as I already have to pay a fixed transmission cost of 2200 yen above everything else. In fact, saving 15% energy use doesn't even make sense since I usually will end up with 4-7% bill reduction instead.

The problem is that lot customers (bigger companies) get really cheap rates any time of the day, about 10 yen on average instead of about 11+ that households get (a family of four would likely have 15+ average)

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Amazing!!! They can do this for vending machines, but not homes or buildings???

Sure they could, but people would complain. The theory is to use power (contrary to the headline) and cool everything down at night. It doesn't use any less power. It just uses power when nobody else is using it. Not only that, but it cools down EVERYTHING, instead of only cooling what's expected to be sold.

If you did this in a building, you'd have to shut all the doors and windows at night, fire up the AC and cool the entire building down to about 5 degrees. Then during the day, nobody would be allowed to open windows or doors, and people would be complaining about how cold it was, and they'd be plugging in space heaters and stuff.

To me, this sounds like a marketing ploy more than anything else. Does it actually use less power?

1 ( +2 / -1 )

I still can't understand why rich nations haven't make heavy usage of solar panels yet in cars, vending machines, roofs, etc...

0 ( +0 / -0 )

LostinNagoyaJul. 13, 2012 - 07:46AM JST

I still can't understand why rich nations haven't make heavy usage of solar panels yet in cars, vending machines, roofs, etc...

Because it's not worth the costs, you typically put in more energy producing the stuff than you get using it. A car roof is maybe 1.5m^2, so you can put at most 130W or so. A typical day is a bit under 4 solar hours, so your max is about 500Wh per day. Since the car roof would be flat and not follow the run, you should only expect half that. The Nissan Leaf get about 4 hours (at 40kpm, it's most efficient amount for city) use per charge at 24kWh, so it uses 5kW average (assuming the use doesn't deplete the battery, which is very bad). It would take a day to charge up enough to get just 3 minutes of use.

Japan is not that rich, not at the ridiculous prices that you have to pay per watt of solar. Energy saving is still more cost effective than solar generation, which is why you will see more of these machines long before you see ugly solar panels.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

LostinNagoyaJul. 13, 2012 - 07:46AM JST

I still can't understand why rich nations haven't make heavy usage of solar panels yet in cars, vending machines, roofs, etc...

It's expensive. Takes up a lot of space/land and it's not very efficient. Germany has made it a priority to use solar yet at it's peak it's less than 5% of the countries power generation capabilities/needs. There's been a lot of advances in the lab for solar but real world efficiency leaves a lot to be desired. If they manage to get solar into the everyday windows in homes and office buildings that would help but would still below the amount of power that they require. Solar is growing and has it's place but still must be augmented by other sources of power to meet the needs of consumers.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I have a fair number of students from Okinawa at my Kyushu university. They all tell me that Kyushu is hotter and more humid than back home. Maybe it's the lack of a sea breeze....

I have to agree. Islands like Okinawa are going to get the ocean breezes every day. Their temperature variations caused by the sun will get muted by the ocean breezes. The larger landmass around Saitama and Gifu make temperature swings greater.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

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