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Detergent-free process for dishwashers with cleaning and disinfecting properties

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - AquaPure (Detergent-free process for dishwashers with cleaning and disinfecting properties)

Reporting period: 2015-01-01 to 2015-04-30

Environmental regulation on water quality protection is restricting the use of certain pollutants, like phosphates, to the extent that by 2017 the EC aims to set a limit in detergents of 0.3 grams phosphorous/standard dose. In conventional dishwashers, detergents are employed to produce a washing liquid for cleaning, but these detergents can decompose to produce pollutants when the washing liquid is released to the environment. The main problem is that phosphates are nearly impossible to remove from waste water and thus many streams and lakes are being saturated with phosphates. Water with high concentrations of phosphates has more algae growth and lower oxygen content, which threatens the quality and health of water ecosystems and water supply. For this reason, environmental authorities are banning phosphates in dishwasher detergents, as well as in laundry detergents and hand soaps.
The reduction of phosphates in detergents is of great concern both to consumers and to providers of consumer’s goods and domestic appliances. First, detergent companies have not found a cost-efficient method to separate batches of detergent for the required concentrations, so they are removing all phosphates from dishwasher detergents. Second, detergents without phosphates cannot achieve the desired performance in cleaning, leading to more and more homeowners being left with dishes that end up covered in a white film (or mineral build-up), especially in areas with particularly hard water.
Aqua Solutions has developed a detergent-free washing technology capable of achieving standard performances in cleaning and disinfecting, while reducing consumption in water and energy. This technology (named AS-System) has been patented and commercialised for laundry applications and now we aim to adapt it for dishwashing applications (in both household and industrial dishwashers). AquaPure technology will be based on AS-System, which combines two effective solutions generated from a special electrolysis process without needing to add detergent to the solutions; one of the solutions has a strong cleaning ability and the other a strong disinfecting ability. The solutions mix in the machine drum with regular tap water, which constitutes about 10% of the total quantity of liquid in the drum during the washing cycle. The use of regular tap water in the washing cycle reduces the system’s need for soft water as is customary today in washing processes with detergents and chemicals.
During the last four months we have assessed the technical and economic viability of AquaPure project, and we have identified the main challenges and targets necessary to achieve the expected performances and economic revenues. We have advanced in our business pre-agreements with key partners and stakeholders, and we have confirmed again the interest of two leading dishwasher manufacturers in participating during the first exploitation plan of AquaPure. On the one side, Indesit Company as a leading manufacturer in Europe of household dishwashers, would produce the targeted number of units for the first period of commercialisation (2018-2022) at its industrial facilities in Italy. On the other side, Hobart Company, as international manufacturer of industrial dishwashers, would produce up to 800 units/year by 2022 at its industrial installation in Germany. These agreements will be matured on a licensing basis, having the opportunity of getting exclusive access rights during the first exploitation plan.
Our technical team has evaluated the achievable performances in cleaning and disinfecting of tableware, as well as in the reduction of water and energy performance. Although these performances will be finally verified during the industrial scale-up, we believe that our fundamentals are well supported with the laboratory testing and the performances of our AS-System (upon which AquaPure’s technology is based) achieved in laundry applications under real-life conditions.
The unique AquaPure dishwashers will be based on AS-Systems technology, and we expect to achieve the performances summarised in the table below. Values in the ranges will depend on the type of dishwasher, whether it is for domestic or professional use, and on the different washing programmes that can be chosen:

● Energy consumption reduction: 40-70% for water heating. With the detergent free technology washing is performed at room temperature (25ºC average)
● Water consumption reduction: 40-50%. Average water consumed would be from 7 to 7 L/cycle for household dishwashers, and from 1.5-80 L/cycle for industrial dishwashers. There is no detergent, then no foam, then water for rinsing is reduced
● Washing cycle time reduction: 20-50%. Less rinsing, less water, less time
● Material consumption reduction: 70-80%. Only table salt is needed, no detergent
● Wastewater quality improvement: ratio COD/BOD over 50%
● Physical damage reduction: no scale on dishes due to low temperatures

AquaPure is an important opportunity to increase our activities, turnover and employees. From this analysis, we have estimated that the commercialisation of AquaPure dishwashers will almost double our turnover by 2022, compared to 2012. In a second exploitation plan we foresee to establish license agreements with a wider range of key partners, so our potential turnover could increase these numbers considerably. In addition, we will expand our business to new countries and we will increase our personnel in 25% (we plan to gradually incorporate new personnel to our company so as to comply with the expected commercial plan). These new employees will be in charge of logistics, after-sale services and industrial assemble of AquaPure dishwashers. We expect to sell our first units by 2018, after 6 months of time-to-market.