Xeros, Ltd. is working on a commercial washing machine that uses an incredibly small amount of water—90% less than conventional washers.
How do they accomplish this feat?
Professor Stephen Burkinshaw of Leeds University in the UK is a polymer chemist whose specialty is improving the uptake of dye on fabrics. He recognized that removing dirt from fabrics is the reverse process of getting dyes to stick to fabric. He uses fabric polymers to remove stains.
Nylon polymer works well in a humid environment. In a humid environment, the polymer becomes highly absorbent. It attracts dirt to its surface and the absorbs the dirt.
The Xeros washer uses a cup or so of water and lots of nylon polymer beads. After tumbling with the damp, dirty clothes, the beads are separated and removed from the washer.
The invention is still in the prototype stage. Find out more by going to the Xeros website.