Green dryer set to take the market for a spin

A new clothes dryer can save 70% energy by using ultrasonic vibrations rather than heat. Four out of five US households own a clothes dryer. Combined, they account for 4% of […]

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By Jonny Bairstow

A new clothes dryer can save 70% energy by using ultrasonic vibrations rather than heat.

Four out of five US households own a clothes dryer. Combined, they account for 4% of all residential electricity consumption and add around $9 billion to annual utility bills.

Scientists at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), with support from the US Department of Energy’s (DOE) Building Technologies Office and GE Appliances, have developed an innovative prototype that uses high-frequency vibrations to “shake” the water out of clothes at room temperature, rather than through energy intensive evaporation.

The technology produces a waste product of clean water mist which could be condensed and used to wash laundry.

It could also cut drying time to 20 minutes.

Ayyoub Momen, ORNL scientist who developed the prototype, said: “The first results were mind blowing. We could dry a piece of fabric in just 14 seconds. If you wanted to do that in an oven at different temperatures it would take several minutes.”

The ORNL and GE aim to have a full-scale prototype built by this autumn.