Research, Industrial Design, Sustainability.
CREATING THE NEXT GENERATION OF SMART FRIDGES
As part of my summer internship at PA Consulting, I worked alongside a chemical and mechanical engineer to prototype and test a concept for a fridge that uses a modified atmosphere generated by membrane filtration for the ripening and preservation of food.
Research & Insights
My role in this project was to focus on packaging the technology developed by the engineers to make it desirable for consumers and offer input to improve the user experience. The whole project was heavily focused on sustainability; tackling food waste, reducing consumption of plastic packaging and trying to reduce energy inefficiencies inadvertently caused by users.
Design and Technology Development
Selecting concepts for testing and further investigation.
An air compressor passes air, taken from the kitchen, through the membrane filter, which splits the air into a nitrogen and oxygen stream, as shown. The excess air in the compartments is vented back out and recombines to form the same composition as regular air, this means the atmosphere is only modified within the compartments.
The form of the fridge was inspired by furniture to integrate it better into open plan living spaces.
Exploration of ways to reduce energy inefficiencies through door openings.
Sketchwork exploring ways to integrate the preservation and ripening compartments.
Considering the layout and internal arrangement of the fridge.
Digital sketching to explore colour, material and finish options.
Prototype set up with non-return valves on the compartments and oxygen sensor in the preservation compartment.
Membrane filtration provides a constant supply of high purity nitrogen and enriched oxygen air. The process is also very energy efficient therefore the best available technology for this application.