Rotherham: Turning your washing machine down to 30 degrees may use 30 per cent less energy, but what if you could remove most of the water, halve the energy use, and slash the amount of chemicals used in each wash?
Rotherham-based start-up Xeros is doing just that and last week announced its intention to file for a £100m IPO on the London-based AIM market in March to support its ambitious expansion plans. Just as inventor James Dyson revolutionised our chores with hi-tech hoovers and fans, a new company is set to change the way we wash our clothes, with a pioneering washing machine that uses tiny plastic beads rather than gallons of water to rinse clothes clean.
They have developed a washing machine that uses nearly 1.5 million tiny polymer beads mixed with a small cup of water and detergent to thoroughly clean one load of laundry. Xeros explained that the beads’ “uniform mechanical action plus their tailored chemistry” help absorb stain and dirt while ensuring fabric care.
“Xeros’s reusable and recyclable polymer bead cleaning systems offer an attractive customer proposition combining cost savings, efficiencies and superior cleaning performance,” said Bill Westwater, the company’s Chief Executive. “I am delighted that our major shareholders are highly supportive of our proposed listing and associated fundraising.”
Xeros Website explains how it works:
In any textile cleaning process the combination of mechanical action on the cloth, chemistry from detergents and temperature to activate this, all act together over the wash cycle. The higher the action, the more detergent and the higher the temperature used, generally the better the cleaning. Large amounts of water are required too, to allow the suspension of the soil and its removal, and then again during rinsing.
Xeros takes these elements required for good cleaning, and completely reinvents them. The polymer beads provide a gentle, uniform mechanical action on the cloth, aiding the removal of stain and soil. Their hydrophobic nature allows better removal of oily and greasy stains than with water based systems, and their polar surface chemistry attracts and retains all types of stain as it is transported away from the cloth surface. Some polymers even have the ability to absorb stains into their molecular structure.
As a result, great cleaning can be achieved at lower temperatures, and with less detergent than has previously been possible. Water acts as a lubricant in the Xeros process rather than as the main wash medium, and hence much less water is required. Rinse water too is reduced, as there is less detergent to be rinsed away.
The new technology is already saving various hotels and gym facilities big bucks in electricity and water costs and will be available on the wider market in the next couple of years.
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