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Williams announces technical collaboration
Sainsbury’s and Williams F1 today announced a collaboration that will see Formula One-inspired technologies being developed at the Williams Technology Centre (WTC) in Qatar used to help the supermarket group increase its energy efficiency and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The partnership will also see advanced vehicle simulator technology used to support the training and development of Sainsbury’s drivers to enhance both energy efficiency and safety.

Today’s announcement covers two specific projects, with further areas of related collaboration under active discussion.

The first project will explore the adoption and use of Williams F1’s proprietary stationary high-momentum MLC flywheel systems in Sainsbury’s extensive network of depots and stores in the UK. The novel energy storage technology is expected to help Sainsbury’s support the introduction of distributed renewable energy generation, reduce energy consumption and increase reliability. The technology is a transient energy storage system, first developed for use in Formula One racing and it is now being scaled for a wide range of industrial and civil applications at the WTC which is headquartered at the Qatar Science & Technology Park in Doha, Qatar.

The second area of co-operation is in the advanced training of road haulage operators who drive Sainsbury’s fleet of HGV and online delivery vehicles, using Williams F1’s driver-in-the-loop vehicle simulator technologies. The simulator technology, again developed initially for the advanced training of Formula One drivers, is being further developed and extended at the WTC in Qatar to address a wide range of professional driver tuition and road safety applications. The technology allows high-fidelity advanced training to be conducted in a controlled environment across varied contexts with the benefit of repeatability to enable assessment and skills improvement.

The objectives of the simulator program are to create a best-in-class standard of driver training to improve road safety as well as to develop driving skills that will minimize fuel consumption, thereby making a significant contribution to the efficiency of the Sainsbury’s fleet.

Sainsbury’s has made great progress in the field of energy efficiency and as it aims to reduce its CO2 emissions per square meter by 25% by 2012, this new initiative will take the company a step closer to achieving this goal. Sainsbury’s energy related pilot programs to date have addressed supply (wind, solar and geothermal energy for example) as well as consumption (LED lighting, CO2 refrigeration).

Roger Burnley, Sainsbury’s retail and logistics director, said, “We are committed to reducing our environmental impact and as a result, we are often at the very forefront of technological innovation. By partnering with Williams F1, we can take advantage of some of the world’s most advanced automotive technology, making our operations even more efficient and taking us a step closer to meeting our CO2 reduction targets.”

Commenting on today’s announcement, Williams F1’s CEO Alex Burns said, “Formula One is well recognized as an excellent technology incubator. It makes perfect sense to embrace some of the new and emerging technologies that the Williams Technology Centre in Qatar is developing from this incubator to help Sainsbury’s mission to reduce its energy consumption and enhance the skills and safety of those supporting its crucial logistics operation.”

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