Water sipping washing machines soon coming to a reality near you

Thursday, June 18, 2009 13:23

Say you want to save a tad bit of water in your home, what do you do?  You could of course cut back on showers, dishes, watering the yard, etc.  But what about your washing machine.  Many people often overlook this in-house water-sucker as it is a machine that is often buried deep inside one’s home, far from ear and eye - almost forgotten.  It is no secret that washing machines, even today’s highly efficient models consume large amounts of water.  Gaining more mainstream attention in recent times, low water and waterless washing machines on the other hand offer little to no watter consumption.  So where are they?


While completely waterless machines still have some time before becoming actual physical objects, “virtually” waterless machines are here today, albeit in the lab.  Building upon technology previously released by research out of the U.K.’s University of Leed and in conjunction with Cambridge Consultants, Xeros, a British born company is aiming to finally bring virtually waterless washing machines into the mainstream.  So how exactly are their new machines saying good-bye water and hello to a happier earth?


In short, these new machines rely on a small nylon bead that yanks the dirt off of garments and hoards it inside the molecular structure.  If you’re worried about clogged beads…don’t.  The scientists involved say the beads can continue absobing dirt and grime over hundreds of washes!  The British company mentioned earlier, Xeros, is partnering with GreenEarth Cleaning in order to make these lab machines real consumer machines.  Although, while I say “consumer”, the first markets to actually receive the ability to order them are more commercial entities such as laundry mats and so forth. 


Building further still, GreenEarth Cleaning will be incorporating their own proprietary dry cleaning technologies (baesd off of liquid silicone) with that of the nylon bead equipped washing machines in order to further reduce water consumption and clothing wear and tear while also improving washing efficiency. 


Looking ahead even further still, highly pressurized, liquified CO2 is also being considered as unlike it’s gas alter-ego, liquid CO2 would not leach itself into the air.  You may be asking yourself, “Why wash with CO2?”  Clothes washed in liquified CO2 are actually practically dry the second the actual washing is complete.  Pretty cool huh?  However, like all bleeding edge tech, there is a downside.  The CO2 method, because of the insanely high pressures needed to liquify the gas means that the equipment and storage of such material is costly and not currently practical.  However, there’s nothing stoping it from becoming adopted by the mass public and in time driving down costs.  In the near term, the real promise in eliminating our dependancy on water in washing machines looks to be these little beads.  Whether they’re made of nylon or some other man-made substance.  Water, like oil, will soon be one less dependance. 


In another light, how environmentally friendly are these nylon beads in regards to disposal as well creation?  Just something to think about as you continue on with your day.


Source: Crave, Thumbnail Image Source

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