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Waterless technology to revolutionize global laundry market
12
Jun '08
Researchers at the University of Leeds have developed a new way of cleaning clothes using less than 2% of the water and energy of a conventional washing machine.

The revolutionary technology will provide alternatives to both domestic washing and dry cleaning, heralding the world's first “virtually waterless” washing system.

Xeros, a University of Leeds spin-out, is commercialising the technology with some of the biggest names in the washing and dry-cleaning industries.

The process is based on the use of plastic granules (or chips) which are tumbled with the clothes to remove stains. A range of tests, carried out according to worldwide industry protocols to prove the technology performs to the high standards expected in the cleaning industry, show the process can remove virtually all types of everyday stains as effectively as existing processes whilst leaving clothes as fresh as normal washing. In addition, the clothes emerge from the process almost dry, reducing the need for tumble-dryers.

Xeros' technology uses as little as a cup of water in each wash cycle and could also bring benefits to other industrial processes such as wastewater treatment and metal degreasing.

According to Waterwise, a UK NGO focused on decreasing water wastage in the UK, washing machine use has risen by 23% in the past 15 years, up from 3 times a week in 1990 to an average of 4 times a week per household today.

The average UK household uses almost 21 litres of water each day on clothes washing - 13% of daily household water consumption. This accounts for approximately 455 million litres of water daily, enough water to fill 145 Olympic size swimming pools.

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