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UK to give waterless washing machine a spin

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  • UK to give waterless washing machine a spin

    Mon Jun 9, 2008

    LONDON (Reuters) - A washing machine using as little as a cup of water for each washing cycle could go on sale to environmentally conscious Britons next year.

    Xeros Ltd, which has been spun out of the University of Leeds to commercialize the technology, said on Monday the new machines would use less than 2 percent of the water and energy of a conventional washing machine.

    Plastic chips are used to remove dirt and stains from clothes, leaving them dry and reducing energy consumption as there is no need to use a dryer after the washing cycle, Xeros said in a statement.

    The firm, which recently secured investment of almost 500,000 pounds ($984,400) from IP Group Plc, told Reuters the price of the new machines was "not expected to be dramatically different from (conventional) washing machines."

    Washing machine usage has risen by 23 percent in the past 15 years. The average UK household uses almost 21 liters of water daily on clothes washing, 13 percent of daily household water consumption, according to Waterwise, a non-government organization focused on decreasing water wastage in Britain.

    A typical washing machine uses about 35 kilograms of water for every kilogram of clothes, in addition to the power needed to heat the water and dry the clothes

    There are more than two million washing machines sold in Britain annually, with a value of about 1 billion pounds, Xeros said.
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  • #2
    Re: UK to give waterless washing machine a spin

    The end of the coin-operated laundry?

    June 10, 2008
    Posted by Brian Krepshaw

    Sure, saving water is great and all, and everybody loves the environment, but a new technology coming out of Leeds University might allow for millions of apartment dwellers to finally have their own washing machine and dryer.

    I don't know about the U.K., but here in the States, I've found many apartments simply are not set up for installing a washer and dryer. Landlords typically pay the water bill, so even if the infrastructure is there, the enthusiasm for laundry capabilities usually is not.

    All that is set to change if this new washing machine works as well as it claims. Users would simply insert some detergent and only one cup of water. A cartridge delivers thousands of small, reusable plastic chips (or granules) that would then absorb the dirt and water. Not only does the technology promise to clean your clothes, but also at the end of the cycle the load would be "virtually dry", eliminating the need for a separate dryer.

    It doesn't take a great leap of imagination to see the potential for this new spin on an old chore. The technology, dubbed Xeros, is already being compared to the Dyson bagless vacuum cleaner, which revolutionized the home cleaning industry when it was first released in the mid-1990s. The inventor, Professor Stephen Burkinshaw, is already in talks with commercial partners and hopes to see his idea become commercially viable as soon as next year. It would seem that for space-challenged apartment dwellers the future finally looks bright--without having to lug a closet full of laundry down the street.
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    • #3
      Re: UK to give waterless washing machine a spin

      Washing machine that uses just a cup of water

      By Martin Hickman, Consumer Affairs Correspondent
      Tuesday, 10 June 2008

      A washing machine that cleans clothes by pounding them with plastic chips could save billions of litres of water a year, its inventors claim.

      The Xeros uses less than 2 per cent of the water – and energy – of a conventional model and leaves clothes almost dry, doing away with the need for a tumble drier.

      The machine uses thousands of reusable plastic chips to remove and absorb dirt. Tests have shown the machine can shift virtually all types of everyday stains, according to a team at Leeds University.

      Professor Stephen Burkinshaw, who invented the machine – which uses one cup of water each cycle – said: "The performance of the Xeros process in cleaning clothes has been quite astonishing.

      "We've shown that it can remove all sorts of everyday stains including coffee and lipstick while using a tiny fraction of the water used by conventional machines."

      About 20kg of the chips are added, along with a cup of water and detergent. The chips can be used up to 100 times, the equivalent of six months' washing.

      Xeros Ltd, the company developing and marketing the machine, believes it could be on the UK market as early as 2009 and expects it to be used in the washing and dry-cleaning industries.
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