A “waterless” washing machine (UK)
Xeros have developed a new washing machine which cleans clothes with beads and a tiny amount of water. The net saving in water, detergent and electricity could result in a 30% cost saving for the user. The water-less process uses 3mm-long nylon beads that get into all the crevices of clothing and can also be re-used hundreds of times. The beads flood the machine's drum once the humidity is at the right level. After the washing cycle is complete, the beads drain away in the same way as water in a conventional machine.
The Xeros system will save 90% of the fresh water associated with conventional laundry systems. If all US homes converted to the Xeros laundry system it would translate into 1.2 billion tonnes of water saved per year, equivalent to 17 million swimming pools. Xeros reduces carbon foot print as well. There is up to 40% saving if reduction in tumble drying is included because far less electricity and detergent is required than conventional systems. This calculation also includes the environment cost of the Xeros nylon beads which can be collected and recycled. The reduction in carbon footprint is equivalent to taking 5 million cars off American roads.
The company has already built a prototype washing machine and aims to have a product ready for the commercial laundry market by the end of 2011, with a consumer version coming to market shortly afterwards.
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