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Science & Technology»The One Cup Wonder

»Friday, July 17,2009

Using 'beads' this incredible development uses 90% less water than your run of the mill washing machine.The appliance, which could save billions of litres of water a year, has been developed at the University of Leeds.

It uses less than 10 per cent of the water of conventional machines and 30 per cent less energy by replacing most of the water with thousands of tiny reusable plastic beads to attract and absorb dirt under humid conditions.

Xeros, the company behind the technology, will start selling the machine to commercial customers such as hotels and dry cleaners before taking the idea to ordinary household consumers

Only a small amount of water and detergent is needed to dampen the clothes, loosen stains and create the water vapour that allows the beads to work. After the cycle is finished, the beads fall through a mesh in the machine’s drum and can be re-used up to a hundred times.

Xeros has signed a deal with GreenEarth Cleaning, an environmentally friendly dry-cleaning business, to sell the technology across North America.

Chief executive Bill Westwater said: “We’ve got an eye on the consumer but it will take time and we hope commercial success could act as a springboard to move into the consumer market.

“We’ve been very encouraged by the response from people, but the proof is in the pudding and that means putting a machine into someone’s operations and justifying the savings.”

The technology has been developed by Professor Stephen Burkinshaw of the University of Leeds and funded by IP Group, an intellectual property commercialisation group.




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