Meet the E&E Award-winner: Onsite Water Efficiency - Xeros
In a world where demand for water is expected to exceed supply by 40% by 2030, innovation at an industrial scale is crucial to addressing the issues of scarcity, sanitation and hygiene. Meet the Onsite Water Efficiency Award-winner...
Sheffield-based washing machine manufacturer Xeros is a welcome system revolutionary in the water-intensive field of commercial-scale laundry cleaning within the hospitality industry.
In the UK alone, the hotel and foodservice sector is estimated to consume more than 156 billion litres of water each year - equivalent to 62,400 Olympic-sized swimming pools. Even the most efficient laundry systems on the market struggle to use less than 18 litres of water per kilo - a 25-kilo washer extractor is using upwards of 450 litres per load. Running one machine eight times a day, seven days a week, can equate to annual consumption figures in the region of 1.3 million litres per year.
Xeros has tackled the issue head on. The company has taken an innovative ‘polymer bead’ approach to laundry washing, which has resulted in the development of a water-saving commercial washing machine where clothes do not need to be sorted in advance and can simply all be loaded together in one cycle.
The deceptively simple looking polymer beads are the result of years of scientific research into stain removal. When combined with a small amount of detergent and water, the beads’ agitation gently loosens dirt and their polarity helps attract stains as well as oils and grease. When wet, the beads allow soluble stains and vagrant dyes to diffuse into their structure, thus trapping them at a molecular level.
Bead cleaning lessens the heat damage, detergent damage and colour transfer that goes hand in hand with traditional washing, and the beads can be used for hundreds of washes and are then recycled.
But, more importantly, Xeros’s commercial laundry system has led to an 80% reduction in water use and 50% reduction in energy, compared with traditional washers.
Since its launch in 2013, Xeros claims to have signed up seven out of 10 of the world’s largest hotel chains as customers, with the firm now seeing a growing demand here in the UK from commercial laundries and the hospitality sector.
The company has also identified a number of other potential uses in aqueous-intensive industries, such as the highly-water-intensive, £2.8bn leather chemicals market – with the recent launch of a joint development programme with a leading German supplier of chemicals to the leather industry, supplying tanneries around the globe.
With its innovative, fully-integrated commercial washing machine system, Xeros is proving that there remains huge potential across industry to increase efficiency, as water becomes an increasingly precious commodity.
Xeros is a truly a unique innovation with far-reaching environmental benefits. Its polymer bead laundry washing system is generating huge savings in fields with high water use, with multiple added benefits to the user.
Onsite Water Efficiency: Meet the finalists
Waterscan’s innovative greywater recycling unit collects wasted greywater from showers, bathroom sinks, washing machines and swimming pools; treats and re-uses it for non-potable applications such as toilet flushing and irrigation, to improve water management onsite. The system reduces drainage impact by as much as 40%. It does this by storing the collected greywater, aerating it and filtering it via a membrane process back into the central control unit which redistributes intelligently to the necessary services.
R&W Civil Engineering
R&W Civil Engineering provided a local, sustainable solution to highway problems in Hampshire by building a waste transfer station. R&W concluded that the most effective way to manage the disposal of water was to purify and then re-use it on the roads; diverting over 500,000 litres of potable water that was previously being used in highway maintenance processes. Nothing on the market rivals this technology and the simplicity of the process makes for a highly effective solution.
Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust
By implementing a comprehensive water management plan, Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust in London has reduced its water consumption by more than 17% - enough water to run one of its dialysis machines all day, every day for 59 years. This significant reduction in water consumption has also resulted in corresponding cost savings of over £370,000; improved the environmental efficiency of the hospital’s buildings and allowed for significant contributions to charity WaterAid.
Fruit and vegetable processor and supplier Peel Tech has developed a revolutionary design for small-scale food/potato waste water treatment and starch recovery processes, which provides a cost-effective way of enabling companies to meet their discharge requirements and keep within new regulations. The new Peel Tech system essentially provides a greener, recyclable system for the removal of peel and starch from waste water.
Pot washing specialist Granuldisk has been using ‘PowerGranules’, water and a small amount of detergent to mechanically scrub pots and pans. The blasting power combined with high temperatures washes items to a hygienically clean state in a matter of minutes, using up to 90% less water, energy and chemicals than any other pot washing method. As a smart, sustainable and economic solution, Granuldisk eliminates the need for any kind of pre-soaking or pre-scrubbing as the full process takes place inside the machine.