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Energy-saving washer-dryer units

With more single households than ever before, more combined washer-dryer units are being sold. An EU initiative introduced new technology to make these machines more efficient than their larger separate unit counterparts.

Energy

Around 18 % of household energy consumption is used for doing the laundry. Over 6 kWh worth of energy or EUR 1 is used to wash and dry a load of laundry on average. The EU-funded LOWASH (Low energy washer dryer through the development of an innovative load balancing & high efficient heat recovery system) project proposed new technology aimed at saving over 16 GWh of electricity over 5 years. The LOWASH solution combines a hydraulic load-balancing drum with a passive/active heat pump drying chain creating a machine that washes and dries without stopping. Work began with research on the main requirements for an efficient load-balancing system. This led to new scientific knowledge to model off-centre load detection and balancing of the drum, and a high-efficiency heat pump and multiple moisture condensing units as a complete system. Several components were developed based on the findings. These include the load-balancing system and polymeric drum, the control system for the drying stage, a heat pump drying chain, a passive cooling system, a cloud tunnel condenser and a variable speed airflow control system. All components were integrated into a fully functional prototype and then tested and assessed for overall performance. Thanks to LOWASH technology, a load of 7 kg can be washed and dried without a human opening and closing any doors or carrying out other operations. The system will use up about half the energy of conventional washer-dryers, or more than 2.5 kWh per load, resulting in modest cost savings.

Keywords

Washer-dryer, laundry, load balancing, heat pump

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