Alternative Energy

Alternative Energy

Alternative energy news, and information about renewable energy technologies.

Jun 26

New Washing Machine Only Uses One Cup of Water

Posted in Energy Inventions | Environment and Sustainability

Xeros Washing Machine An environmentally friendly washing machine has been developed by the University of Leeds, Britain. The technology has been developed by Professor Stephen Burkinshaw of the University of Leeds. He has been working on this project for the past thirty years. This project had been funded by IP Group, an intellectual property commercialization group. The project team claims that this clean and green machine will just need a cup of water to wash clothes. It would be available in the market next year. But currently the washing machine will be available in hotels and dry cleaning outlets only.


A common consumer has to wait till it can reach his home. It is said that the machine could save billions of liters of water a year. Xeros is responsible for this revolutionary technology. Xeros has also entered into collaboration with GreenEarth Cleaning to sell the technology across North America. GreenEarth Cleaning is also into an environmentally friendly dry-cleaning business.

Right now the statistics say that this machine could perform the same task by using less than 90 per cent of the water of conventional machines and 30 per cent less energy. This machine can have the environmental impact of taking two million cars off the road.

How could that be possible? Here the work of water is replaced by using thousands of tiny reusable nylon polymer beads. These plastic beads attract and absorb dirt under humid conditions. Stephen Burkinshaw said: “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.”

How does this washing machine function? This technology requires a small amount of water and detergent to dampen the clothes and loosen stains. This device also creates the water vapor that allows the beads to work. Once washing is finished, the beads fall through a mesh in the machine’s drum. These beads are reusable. One can reuse them up to a hundred times. One needs 20kg of the beads along with a cup of water and detergent. The chips can be used up to 100 times, the equivalent of six months’ washing.

A demonstration was held at the Clean Show in New Orleans between June 18th and 21st. The beads are placed inside the smaller of two concentric drums along with the dirty laundry, a spew of detergent and a little water. As the drums spin, the water wets the clothes and the detergent gets to work loosening the dirt. Then the nylon beads mop it up.

The beads have a crystalline structure. This structure makes the surface of beads with an electrical charge that attracts dirt. When the beads are heated in humid conditions to the temperature they lose their crystalline structure and acquire an amorphous structure. Now the dirt is drawn into the core of the bead where it remains locked in place.

The whole process takes about 30 minutes and the outer drum stops rotating. The inner drum has the clothes and the beads. The inner drum also has a small slot. As it keeps on rotating, the beads fall through the slot; some 99.95% of them are collected in the outer drum. The remaining that are trapped in the folds of the clothes normally fall into a collection trough while the laundry is being removed, and a vacuum wand can be used to remove them from pockets etc.

Xeros 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.”

We can draw the conclusion that when so little water is used and the warm beads help dry the laundry, less tumble drying is needed. An environmental consultancy, URS Corp, estimates that this washing machine’s carbon footprint was 40% smaller than the most efficient existing systems for washing and drying laundry.

  • Ravi Soparkar

    This could be great saving of precious water. Promoters should bring in commercial version as soon as possible.

  • Pete Dolci

    Sounds very efficient. But how much are the beads to replace? Is the machine so high tech that a service person has to replace the beads, or can the home owner?

  • Daniel

    What about the production of the polymer beads? I take it they are thermoplastic since they change morphology but what about the costs (financial and environmental) to produce and recycle?

    It seems there’s always something that suffers..

  • Ashwinkumar

    WOW! that’s green… hope the product reaches end consumers for great savings.

  • Jessie Stanley

    When the washing is finished how are the beads restored for reuse? 20 kilos (44 lbs) of beads seems like a lot.

  • John Davies

    This is brilliant and I’m all for anything green, but how is it ensured that all the beads are removed from the clothes and not remain in creases, folds and pockets?

  • Yehia kalifa

    Also, you might want to consider the amount of energy it would cost to produce these massive amount of beafs, pit it in a ratio against water and see if this technology is actually green.

  • Cristian Lavaque

    What I wonder, though, is what’s going to happen with all those beads after they’ve done their job 100 cycles later. Will people actually recycle them, and how, or will they just result in a new kind of plastic trash?

    Using less water is great, though, but it’d be good to do it in a fully ecological way, right? I wonder if the water used to wash could just be filtered and reused several times. That’d save tons of water as well and the residue would be lint and dirt that could go to the compost pile, right?

  • Avinash Bhome

    Simply fantastic and astonishing… the washing machine manufacturers may exploit the commercial market first (& earn millions and billions of $), but should also bring this new washing machine for common man for in house use, which also will save trillions of liters of water, which is becoming scarce day by day. Remember it is said that ” The third world war will be for ” Water”. Avoid that 3rd World War.

  • jane

    beads, shmeads, what we want to know is will our clothes be as clean as we get now with regular machines. And does it work well in cold wash?

  • rensa kupang

    I love the new invention that is exactly one example of helping the earth save water because we are wasting water almost every day by washing clothes and many more remember the motto you can start little by doing good cause it can lead to a big good thing!

  • vishal

    I really praise this implementation but it will only be successful when it reaches everybody.

  • An+on

    I guess that’s feasible. Another technology that reuses water is graywater. Basically, this uses not very dirty water (like that out of a washer) to do something else, most commonly flush a toilet.


Advantages of Renewable Energy at Macro and Micro Level

Advantages of Renewable Energy at Macro and Micro Level

It is now certain that the current energy systems and technological advancements available in the world are not sufficient to make the planet free from the carbon dioxide that

Increase Renewable Energy Sources – Generate More Jobs

Increase Renewable Energy Sources – Generate More Jobs

This has been the slogan that GE, one of the leading power suppliers and energy delivery technology pioneers, propagated all through the ‘Capture the Wind’ tour across US. GE

More Energy-Efficient Communications Networks

More Energy-Efficient Communications Networks

Reputed companies are always conscious about their brand image and what a great way to build great brand by taking clean and green route! Bell Lab is the division

Renewable Energy ‘Supergrid’ coming to Europe

Renewable Energy ‘Supergrid’ coming to Europe

UK’s energy and climate change minister, Lord Hunt shares his opinion, “We recognise that the North Sea has huge resources, we are exploiting those in the UK quite intensively

College Students Pursue ‘Clean Energy’ Careers

College Students Pursue ‘Clean Energy’ Careers

Nowadays students are not oblivious to the hazards of global warming. They are quite keen on pursuing a ‘clean energy’ career. Now the concern about climate change is stimulating

Green Heating and Cooling Technology from Carbon

Green Heating and Cooling Technology from Carbon

Carbon is a substance environmentalists love to hate. It is the major ingredient of environmental damage. Scientists and environmentalists are working hard to decrease the amount of carbon emission

German Smart Grid Leads the Way in Conservation

German Smart Grid Leads the Way in Conservation

There is an obvious push on not only using less energy, but in finding other forms of energy that will allow the world to recover from the years of

Potential for 1.9 Million Renewable Energy Jobs

Potential for 1.9 Million Renewable Energy Jobs

Three universities of the USA have conducted studies related to renewable sources of energy and it has produced some interesting facts. The first and most important one is that