When you think about it, keeping a fridge full of drinks perpetually cold at a store is a tremendous waste of energy given the product may not be sold for days. But the only alternate solution is to somehow chill drinks at the time of purchase, which is exactly what a new refrigeration technology called V-Tex does -- without the need for gallons of liquid nitrogen.
Instead of pulling a drink from a fridge that's been already cool for days, you would grab a warm drink off a shelf, place it in one of the V-Tex chillers, and wait patiently for about 45 seconds while it's chilled to 5C. The trade-off for having to wait is an average energy savings of over $1000 a year compared to a fridge that's left on all the time, which in theory could be passed onto consumers as discounts as incentives for delaying their gratification.
And while commercial units employing the V-Tex technology are being introduced and trialled in Holland next month, countertop home units are also being developed that could spell the end of the ice cube industry as we know it. [Enviro-Cool via PSFK]