Let us introduce you to a game-changing technology. No, we are not talking about any electric car, or advances in Augmented Reality or solar panels. We are talking about a new Clothes Dryer which dries your clothes more efficiently. Confused? Bear with us.
In the US, 80% of the households own a clothes dryer, which consumes 4% of all electricity consumption at home and costs about $9 billion/ year in utility bills. Therefore, to sustain and improve our way of life, it is essential that we explore and find more efficient ways to do the mundane tasks like drying our laundry.
The current drying technology is the same old using electricity to provide heat to the clothes that evaporate the water molecules from the laundry. It is an outdated technology that needs an overhaul.
The prototype for the Clothes Dryer was built by collaboration of researchers at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) and the US Department of Energy’s Building Technologies Office and GE Appliances. This novel technology for drying clothes has shortened the drying time to only 20 minutes. Furthermore, it has decreased the energy expenditure considerably by 70%.
This technology does not use heat, instead it uses ultrasonic waves (high-frequency vibrations). It makes use of piezoelectric transducers and a custom amplifier to produce these high-frequency waves that dry the water in clothes. The prototype has shown promising results. Ayyoub Momen, scientist at ORNL 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.”
Another key feature of the ultrasonic clothes dryer is that it functions at room temperature and gives off a “cool mist” instead of the warm air typically produced by the conventional dryers (the air is also humid and can cause additional dampness in homes). The ORNL and USDE are now working on the commercialization of the technology and plan to build the final version of the product by this fall.
Image if this turns out to be a cost-effective replacement for dryers in homes as well as laundry facilities, the ultrasonic clothes dryer could save energy and money and would indeed be a gamer-changer. So who wants one for his home?