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Let’s first understand what ozone is all about. Ozone (03) is an unstable, triatomic form of ordinary Oxygen (02). It is formed naturally when oxygen is exposed to ultraviolet light, as in the upper atmosphere, or when subjected to high voltages such as lightning strikes. Ozone begins to degrade as soon as it is formed, either through reactions with other chemicals or by decomposition to molecular oxygen. Storage of ozone is impractical due to its rapid decay; therefore it must be generated on site at the time of use.

Ozone is one of the most powerful oxidants available and is generated via the same mechanisms employed by nature: ultraviolet light and powerful electrical fields. It is currently used in applications as diverse as disinfection of drinking water, maintenance of water quality in the aquaria and whale pools at sea parks, deodorization of smoke damaged property, disinfection of hot tubs and pools, and colour/odour removal from wastewater streams.

As a powerful oxidant, ozone will react with many of the proteins, fats, oils, tannins and serum constituents that compose soils on textiles. Ozone oxidation cleaves many large molecules leaving smaller oxidized residuals with improved solubility characteristics which allow their removal with significantly less chemicals. Ozone functions similarly to colour safe oxygen based bleaches, removing stains and destroying microbes while leaving fabrics undamaged and colours bright.

Ozone cleans fabrics by chemically reacting with insoluble soils through oxidation, causing them to break into smaller molecules which are water soluble and can be freed from the fabric by ordinary washing machine agitation. Other beneficial processes are also at work, such as how ozone acts on the properties of water, which makes the use of ozone with certain detergents containing alkalis and surfactants significantly more effective. Because of these cleaning enhancing properties, ozone can effectively be used in laundry operations. Since ozone also has significant sterilization properties, it makes an ideal laundry problem solver.

The return on investment is usually about 12 months, depending on the laundry volume, water, and sewage and energy rates at your location. You will see your prime savings in energy of over 70% and water and effluence savings of over 20%. Added life to the in-service linen has also been proven, reducing the cost of replacing linen worn by harsh chemicals and being cooked repeatedly in hot-water washes. Rebates and other governmental incentives that are available in some areas to encourage conservation can also improve the return on investment.

Akash Dharamsey
CEO, ADD Laundry Concepts Pvt Ltd

Washing whiter without water

Xeros, a small company based in the northern English town of Rotherham is working to commercialise the bead cleaning technology developed at Leeds University. According to the company, these polymer beads, used in washing machines instead of water, can “agitate, attract and transport away stain and soil from textile surfaces”. The beads absorb dirt into their molecular structure.

The bead cleaning idea was conceived from studies on how water consumption in the dyeing industry could be reduced. The beads spin in the washing machine along with the dirty garments, and dramatically reduce the water requirement – by up to 90%. The beads are reusable and recyclable, capable of “hundreds of washes before reaching life span. They have also proven at least as effective as standard washing with water, especially for removing grease and oil. Laundry detergent is still needed, but at reduced quantities – Xeros’s process consumes only about half of the chemicals of standard washing processes. However, Xeros beads cannot be used in machines that are designed for washing with water. Bead cleaning machines have been installed in pilot projects in commercial laundries in the United Kingdom.

 

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