When I read about this this morning I had to check the date to see if it was April 1st but it seems there really has been a breakthrough in cleaning technology that could save billions of litres of water per year.
Leeds University have invented a virtually waterless washing machine called the Xeros, which uses just one cup of water. The water is heated to dissolve dirt and then small plstic chips are used to absorb and remove the dirt from clothing.
This machine could be available in the UK as early as 2009 and uses just 2% of the water and energy used by conventional washing machines.
The plastic chips can be used up to 100 times but I am left wondering about the process for producing and disposing of the plastic chips. It would be a shame to save water and energy in the washing process but use more energy and produce non-recyclable plastic waste in the process.
Professor Burkinshaw, Professor of Textile Chemistry and director of Xeros, 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 whilst using a tiny fraction of the water used by conventional washing machines. The investment from IP Group will help us to accelerate the commercialisation of the technology and I look forward to seeing new washing and dry-cleaning machines that use the Xeros technology.”
Just think of the nasty chemicals used in the dry cleaning process, that awful smell when you walk through the door. If they could be replaced with a safer method for cleaning clothes then I will be a big fan.
Here is a diagram of how the Xeros machine saves water just click the image to see a larger version.
Well done the UK, I just hope this technology isn’t bought by the large washing machine manufacturers and never see’s the light of day again …. not that I am a cynic who thinks everything is driven by capitalism!!
If you are concerned about environmental issues would you buy a Xeros washing machine as soon as it becomes available or wait until your current machine needs to be replaced?