Wednesday, February 8, 2012

News: Xeros secures R&D grant for virtually waterless washing machine


Xeros Limited, an innovative cleantech company based in Rotherham, has been awarded a £250,000 grant from the Technology Strategy Board for research and development.

The fund will be used to accelerate the development of a domestic laundry machine capable of reducing water consumption by up to 80 per cent and slashing energy use by half.

The grant, the highest that can be awarded through the Board's Smart scheme, will be match funded by shareholder funds following a successful private equity funding round in 2011.

Based on the Advanced Manufacturing Park (AMP) in Rotherham, the Leeds University spin-out has developed a unique method using special polymer beads rather than the usual large amounts of fresh water to clean clothes. Instead a small amount of water is added to loosen clothing stains and activate the beads.

Used within a special washing machine also invented by Xeros, the garments are tumbled gently in the beads. They suck dirt off the clothes by absorbing it into their molecular structure. The Xeros beads work for hundreds of washes and at the end of their cleaning life they can be recycled.

Building on its proven success in the commercial laundry market, Xeros will use the grant to design a washing system of comparable size, appearance and cost to conventional front loading machines that are used in millions of homes across the country. When compared to these machines, independent analysis by URS has estimated that a Xeros domestic system would slash energy use by half and reduce water consumption by up to 80 per cent. It would also cut CO2 emissions per wash by 25 per cent.

Bill Westwater, chief executive of Xeros, said: "We are delighted that the Technology Strategy Board has awarded a significant grant to Xeros.

"Together with our own shareholder funding it will enable Xeros to accelerate our plans for the domestic market place. This has long been part of our business plan.

"If the application of our technology in this market matches the proven viability of our large size machines in the commercial laundry, we are one step closer to our ultimate goal, namely to convert the world of aqueous washing to Xeros bead cleaning."

Stephen Browning, head of the Smart programme at the Technology Strategy Board, added: "The Smart scheme is designed to support research and development by SMEs that has the potential to offer economic growth and lead to the introduction of successful new products and processes.

"We are therefore very pleased to support Xeros through this grant as it will enable them to make the investment in staff, technology and materials needed to accelerate the development of their innovative product."

Xeros website



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