Thursday, Jan. 8, 2009 | 5:07 p.m.
Beyond the Sun
A new extra-efficient combination wash/dryer was on display at Panasonic's huge exhibit at CES 2009.
The washer/dryer saves over 20 gallons per load over a traditional top-loading washer by simply tilting the washing cylinder.
The tilting allows the washer/dryer to create the same depth of water as a top-loading washer with a much decreased volume of water. The decreased water usage also saves on electricity because less energy is needed to heat the water because there is less of it.
Efficiency improvements are also made in the drying mechanism of the washer/dryer. Instead of using a traditional heating element to heat air for the drying process, a 'heat pump' is used.
As air is compressed, molecules bounce off each other and create heat, the new washer/dryer takes advantage of this by compressing air to heat it. Also, before the air is heated, it is passed through a radiator to remove moisture from it.
The result is warm dry air which can dry cloths much quicker and more gently than with wet air. Because the air is cycled, there is no need for a vent as in a traditional dryer which could make this washer/dryer appeal to apartment-dwellers.
Unfortunately, Panasonic's new washer/dryer is available now in Japan and will shortly be available in Europe but will not be available to customers in the U.S. until a sufficient demand is demonstrated.
The washer/dryer is part of a number of 'green' products on display by Panasonic which also included light-bulbs and hybrid car batteries.