As the world becomes ever more energy conscious, the domestic appliance business has made increasingly innovative attempts to increase the energy efficiency of washing machines.
Most of these concepts have remained just that, with one notable example being ‘Airwash’ – 2007 finalist at the INDEX: Awards.
Yet as technological advances continue to be made at an exponential rate, a staggering number of designers have begun to look at developing water-free ways to clean clothes.
This is because despite numerous attempts at making traditional washing machines more energy efficient, there has been limited success in this endeavour – even the most energy-efficient machines use a lot of electricity, water and heat too. Indeed, many people still wash their clothes at 40 degrees or hotter.
The aforementioned ‘Orbit’ is the work of designer Elie Ahov, whose machine makes the use of soap and water redundant with dry ice! The machine makes little or no noise during operation and takes mere minutes to clean the entire load.
How does the Orbit machine work?
The machine contains a spherical drum which on first glance appears to be much like the kind you’d find in any washing machines, but that is where the similarity ends.
The drum is made of a super-conductive metal to which an electric current flows. Instead of utilising high temperatures, liquid nitrogen is employed to lower its temperature to 0 degrees Celsius, with carbon dioxide being added to create dry-ice.
While dry-ice has been used in cleaning applications for a number of years, it has until now only been put use on an industrial scale. The dry ice is sublimated into gas form and reacts with the dirt and grease to separate them from the clothes. The dirt is then filtered through an extraction tube, leaving only clean laundry behind.
No-one knows whether this ingenious concept will become a reality en masse in commercial terms, but only time will tell!
It will undoubtedly be a while until that Indesit washing machine from appliancesdirect.co.uk becomes obsolete, but whoever thought laundry might one day be exciting?!
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