A new system that can cool wine and beer to service standard in three minutes is in the prototype stage. We caught up with Akram Boukai, co-founder of Matrix Industries to find out more
You might be locked inside your home right now, but if you are a drinks professional working in hospitality, you know what it’s like during those restlessly busy services. And you know what the risk is when people keep ordering the same bubbly… you might eventually run out of chilled bottles. There might be extra stock in the cellar, but a guest with a warm glass of Champagne isn’t a happy guest.
So, what if you could rapidly chill down one of those warm bottles in no time? No, it’s not science fiction, it’s the core concept of Juno, a ‘reverse microwave’ currently at the prototype stage that can chill a full-sized bottle of wine down to 10°C in three minutes, and a bottle of beer in less than one.
But how does it work, and how did the idea come about? We caught up with co-founder Akram Boukai of thermo-electric technology firm Matrix Industries to find out.
What inspired the development of Juno?
Our expertise is in thermo-electric engineering, which essentially means we… specialise in energy harvesting and cooling.
Tristan Day, couldn’t find a cold drink, and hypothesised that Matrix’s technology could be used to rapidly cool beer so that room-temperature beer would become a thing of the past
In 2017 we launched PowerWatch (followed by PowerWatch Series 2 in 2019), the only smartwatch to be powered only by the wearer’s body-heat – no charging necessary. This was Matrix’s first consumer application of their energy harvesting technology – i.e. using a TEG (thermoelectric generator) to convert body-heat into usable energy.
When celebrating a PowerWatch milestone, one of our engineers, Tristan Day, couldn’t find a cold drink, and hypothesised that Matrix’s technology could be used to rapidly cool beer so that room-temperature beer would become a thing of the past.
A few months later, [Day’s] side-project and hobby became a working lab prototype that could chill a beer from room-temperature to ice-cold in less than two minutes, and the first consumer application of Matrix’s cooling technology was born.
Can you explain the technology behind Juno?
Whereas PowerWatch’s core technology captured body-heat and converted it into usable energy, Juno’s core technology captures heat and expels it from the container, leaving behind only a cold environment. It’s called the Peltier Effect. The process involves sending electricity through the beverage to create a hot side and cold side.
Juno’s core technology captures heat and expels it from the container, leaving behind only a cold environment. It’s called the Peltier Effect
The hot side is removed and what’s left is just the cold side. Matrix engineers also developed a proprietary spinning mechanism that creates a controlled multi-directional rotation to capture heat from the internal contents of the beverage (rather than just the perimeter of the vessel), without disrupting the chemistry of the drink itself. So, for a soda, this means it won’t explode in your face when opening it up, and for wine, the taste will remain undisturbed.
So Juno’s technology doesn’t affect the drink’s organoleptic qualities?
See above. We’re working with experts to continue testing before [the launch], but have baked in these crucial guidelines into our development from day one. Our team is made up of wine and beer lovers so we know quality is as important as temperature.
Sparkling wine bottles are some of the thickest on the market. Is it efficient with those too?
One of our biggest goals with Juno was to design a product that can cool a bottle of champagne. While our initial lab-prototype only cooled a 34cl can, Juno can do exactly that – cool anything from a can of beer to a bottle of champagne. A bottle of wine or Champagne will take about four-to-five minutes to cool.
Do you believe Juno has some potential in the hospitality industry?
We believe the potential for the wine/beer industry is huge. Every winery, bar, hotel room, sporting event, etc., will want a Juno, which will not only rapidly chill down your [drinks], but also eliminate the need for [consistent] refrigeration, which is costly and harmful to the environment.
The applications of our thermoelectric cooling technology are endless, so we’re really excited for the future partnerships that will come of it, both on the consumer and industrial sides. While Juno is specifically designed for private use, its technology is scalable. We’re already in talks with several companies who are blown away by Juno and want to integrate Matrix-powered TEG technology in their products, services and more.
Look out for Matrix-powered cooling technology in convenience stores, stadiums, the cold supply chain and more.
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