GE Partners with Lab on Ultrasonic Clothes Dryer

You are here

Ultrasonic Clothes Dryer- No Heat Needed
Description: 
This video tells how a partnership between Oak Ridge National Laboratory and GE Appliances--with support from the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy’s (EERE’s) Building Technologies Office—is changing the way Americans do laundry with their ultrasonic drying technology that uses vibrations, not heat, to dry fabric.

Text Version

This is going to be a game-changing technology.

CG: Viral Patel – Post Doctoral Research Associate: Just the name sounds amazing. Ultrasonic drying technology so yes it’s absolutely one of the coolest things I’ve worked on.

(***BOARD***)

WITH SUPPORT FROM THE OFFICE OF ENERGY EFFICIENCY AND RENEWABLE ENERGY, SCIENTISTS AT OAK RIDGE NATIONAL LABORATORY ARE TEAMING UP WITH GENERAL ELECTRIC APPLIANCES TO DEVELOP THE NEXT-GENERATION OF CLOTHES DRYERS.

Clothes dryers consume a lot of energy

(***NATURAL SOUND***)- clothes dryer sequence

CG: Ayyoub Momen – Oak Ridge Staff Scientist: The technology hasn’t been updated for a while. The process overall is very inefficient mainly because you have to evaporate the water.

(***BOARD***)

WITH ONE PERCENT OF THE NATION’S TOTAL ENERGY CONSUMPTION COMING FROM CLOTHES DRYERS, SCIENTISTS ARE TAKING AN ENTIRELY NEW APPROACH BY USING HIGH FREQUENCY VIBRATIONS --- AN IDEA DERIVED FROM OBSERVING ULTRASONIC HUMIDIFIERS

I said well if it can generate this much water, can the same phenomenon or same physics apply to clothes drying?

(***BOARD***)

THE TECHNOLOGY USES PIEZOELECTRIC TRANSDUCERS THAT CONTRACT AND EXPAND WHEN VOLTAGE IS ADDED. BY USING A CUSTOM AMPLIFIER, THE TRANSDUCERS VIBRATE AT A HIGH FREQUENCY REMOVING WATER FROM THE FABRIC.

The first results were mind blowing. We could dry a piece of fabric in just 14 seconds where as if you wanted to do it in an oven at different temperatures it takes several minutes.

From the consumer point of view, they are going to experience almost the same thing but the benefit is going to be anywhere from 3-5 times more efficient… At the same time the lint generation is going to be minimized.

Regardless of how cool the technology is, at the end of the day in order for everyone to be successful this type of technology needs a private sector to invest to develop a finer product

(***BOARD***)

GE AND OAK RIDGE ARE TAKING THIS CUTTING-EDGE SCIENCE AND TURNING IT INTO COMMERCIAL PRODUCTS. THEY PLAY TO SCALE-UP THE TECHNOLOOGY TO PRESS DRYING AND EVENTUALLY A CLOTHES DRYER DRUM IN THE NEXT FIVE MONTHS. SAVING CONSUMERS MORE MONEY AND ENERGY.

We are actually at the beginning of this road making the technology visible to take it to the next stage.