Commercial CO2 Washing Machines
Washing Machine: CO2 vs. Hot Water
Washing machines that use liquid CO2 at 700 PSI, which has lower viscosity and surface tension, using no water and half the energy with a payback of 2-4 years.
Item ID: 512
Process Loads & Appliances--Commercial and Residential Appliances
Technical Advisory Group: 2014 Commercial Building TAG (#9)
Average TAG Rating: 1.93 out of 5
TAG Ranking Date: 03/17/2014
TAG Rating Commentary:
- Why would we want to have C02 distributed in a commercial application unless it could sequester C02?
- Same as 482.
- Sounds like a no-brainer but I don't have experience with the technology.
- Would be helpful to understand if liquid C02 and high pressures can cause any lifetime or usability problems with existing clothing and fabric types and the kinds of chemicals that cause most clothing stains. Early data look promising: http://www.co2nexus.com/live/first-co2-industrial-laundry-machine-heads-to- commercial-host.
- While not a criteria for rating, I would note that there are significant co-benefits aside from energy efficiency with this technology, relative to water conservation and water quality.
- Industrial applications.
- Long payback.
About 32 dry cleaning companies in the country are currently cleaning with the Glacier liquid CO2 system supplied by Solvair of Naperville, Illinois. The load capacity of their machine is about 25 kg or 55 pounds. CO2Nexus of Littleton, Colorado has developed three models of their TERSUS® system. These supercritical carbon-dioxide based laundry systems are suitable for commercial and industrial uses and can accommodate loads of 100 and 200 pounds per cleaning cycle. At high pressures, CO2 enters a liquid supercritical state and can serve as a washing fluid. The liquid CO2 has low viscosity and surface tension allowing for superior pore penetration and better cleaning action. After cleaning is completed, the pressure is reduced and the CO2 flashes to a gaseous state, eliminating the need for a drying cycle. The gaseous CO2 is captured, filtered and distilled, and then reused. The units are compact, save both energy and water, and extend garment life due to the lack of need for high temperatures and agitation.
CO2 cleaning provides absolute disinfection and is ideal for delicate and difficult to clean garments. The technology is appropriate for the hospitality industry (hotels with over 200 rooms), healthcare, garment cleaners, for industries that use uniforms (the military, casinos), prisons, nursing homes, universities, textile plants, and pharmaceutical, biotech, semiconductor, aerospace, medical device, and nuclear industries with cleanrooms.
The California Energy Commission (CEC) Public Interest Energy Research (PIER) Program allocated funding to test a commercial version of a supercritical CO2 barrier cleaning system for clean room applications. The object of the demonstration project was to determine cleaning and disinfection performance, energy and water savings, and to obtain the operating costs compared to water-based machines. Preliminary demonstration project results indicate a 60% reduction in electrical energy use and a 46% reduction in natural gas use per pound of garments cleaned when compared with water based cleaning. Water use is completely eliminated.
Baseline Description: Water Based Cleaning
Baseline Energy Use: 1355560 kWh per year per unit
Unfortunately, direct energy use data cannot be extracted from the demonstration project conducted by Aramark and their corporate financial group. Aramark determines the average cost per pound based upon use of an existing water-based system and the CO2Nexus barrier system in a clean room environment. Cost per pound information is determined for water and water treatment, natural gas, electricity, CO2 and detergent chemicals. Electrical energy use decreases from $0.061/lb to $0.022/lb (i.e. a 64% reduction from baseline use ). Unfortunately, we cannot easily determine actual kWh savings per pound as the study bases dollar savings on average electrical energy rates from three Aramark sites around the US, and the average rate (in $/kWh) is not given. The program manager indicated that "this is the language/metric used by laundry companies in their decision-making process".
It will be assumed that the average electrical energy rates for Aramark are similar to those in the Northwest (about $0.09/kWh). Savings are thus estimated at $0.039 per pound which is equivalent to 0.43 kWh/pound. A CO2 washer with a 120 pound/hour capacity would clean about 960 pounds per day in a single shift high volume laundry facility. Assuming 50 weeks per year of operation, the annual quantity of clothes processed is about 2.4 million pounds per year (assume 2 million pounds per year) with an expected energy savings for the CO2 machine of 866,670 kWh per machine. This energy savings amount is doubled for a 200 pound capacity machine.
Energy use for the conventional water based process are estimated at $0.061/lb/$0.09 per kWh = 0.677 kWh per pounds of garments cleaned. Given a throughput of 2 million pounds per year, the baseline electrical energy use is 1,355,555 kWh/year.
Manufacturer's Energy Savings Claims:
Currently no data available.
Best Estimate of Energy Savings:
"Typical" Savings: 64%
Energy Savings Reliability: 3 - Limited Assessment
Initial PIER demonstration project results indicate a 60% reduction in electrical energy use and a 46% reduction per pound in natural gas use when compared with water based cleaning. Water use is eliminated completely.
Energy Use of Emerging Technology:
488,001.6 kWh per unit per year
Energy Use of an Emerging Technology is based upon the following algorithm.
Baseline Energy Use - (Baseline Energy Use * Best Estimate of Energy Savings (either Typical savings OR the high range of savings.))
Potential number of units replaced by this technology:
In their justification for funding their CO2 washing research project, PIER noted that California has 8,000 facilities that can use this technology. Assuming a 5% market penetration, savings are estimated at 264 million kWh, 20 million therms, and more than 600 million gallons of water. PIER also anticipated a 3.5 year simple payback absent utility incentives. As the Northwest has about 34% of the population of CA, prorating by population yields an annual electrical energy savings of 89.7 million kWh (with a projected savings of 866,670 kWh per 100 to 120 pound capacity machine, this indicates the lease of approximately 103 CO2 washing machines in the Northwest).
Regional Technical Potential:
0.09 TWh per year
Regional Technical Potential of an Emerging Technology is calculated as follows:
Baseline Energy Use * Estimate of Energy Savings (either Typical savings OR the high range of savings) * Technical Potential (potential number of units replaced by the Emerging Technology)
Installed first cost per: unit
Emerging Technology Installation Cost (Labor, Disposal, Etc.): $0.00
Solvair cleaning systems cost about $150,000---while a conventional PERC dry cleaning machine costs about $90,000 (Sterrett, 2007). Preliminary estimates for a drop-in CO2Nexus replacement capable of cleaning 120 lbs/hour of garments is $400,000. The President and CEO of CO2Nexus indicates that their business plan doesn't call for selling the equipment. The equipment would be leased from a service company that would charge a fee for each pound of garments that are cleaned. They believe that this approach will result in a faster deployment of the emerging technology.
Simple payback, new construction (years): N/A
Simple payback, retrofit (years): N/A
Cost Effectiveness is calculated using baseline energy use, best estimate of typical energy savings, and first cost. It does not account for factors such as impacts on O&M costs (which could be significant if product life is greatly extended) or savings of non-electric fuels such as natural gas. Actual overall cost effectiveness could be significantly different based on these other factors.
The California PIER demonstration project had a total cost of $900,000 to develop a cleaning system capable of providing 1 million pounds per year of cleaned garments for clean room applications. Note that this was for an initial prototype built for demonstration proposes. The cost of an "open front" machine for non-clean room purposes is about $140,000.