Recent trends in European housing and demographics have had a significant effect on the European domestic appliances sector, in particular for laundry. A growth in single occupancy, an increase in multi-dwelling buildings (flats) and a fall in household floor space have all driven an increase in the purchase of combined washer-dryers, growing at 9% p.a.
However, washer-dryers are inefficient, using as much as 50% more energy to wash and dry a load than separate systems. This is a concern both for energy consumption and cost for the user - estimated 15 million washer-dryers consume 18 TWh of electricity worth €300m and indirectly emit 10,000 tonnes of CO2 each year. As well as energy efficiency, washer-dryers also have practical limitations. Due to the small drum size of the machine compared to a dedicated tumble dryer, it is not possible to dry a full wash load in one go, adding to cost and significantly reducing convenience.
LoWash will address these issues by creating a highly energy-efficient machine capable drying a complete wash load without user intervention. It will achieve this by combing an innovative hydraulic load balancing drum with a unique passive/active heat pump drying chain to create a washer-dryer capable of washing and drying a complete 7kg load without removing any of it from the machine. It will do this using <50% of the energy required by current washer dryers.
Realising this vision would provide a €34m market opportunity to our consortium for washer-dryers. The technology can also be applied to standalone washing machines and tumble driers, which would more than double the market potential. In the process, LoWash will save 16 GWh of electricity over 5 years.
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