New clothes dryer uses sound to dry clothes instead of heat, using 70% less energy
Amazing New clothes dryer
Much of the technology we use in our daily lives was developed during a time when energy was cheap and seemingly limitless.
Nowadays, we realize that there are not only limits to fossil fuel-based power – which is still the primary source of electricity for many of us – but that there are other consequences associated with the wasteful use of such power.
This requires a rethink and subsequent redesign of technologies that we have come to take for granted.
A case in point is the standard electric clothes dryer found in most modern homes. The typical clothes dryer uses an embarrassingly huge amount of power to perform a task that once depended on solar and wind power – i.e. the clothesline.
Around the middle of the last century the clothesline was largely replaced by the bulky, power-gobbling clothes drying apparatus we know today.
IS THERE A BETTER WAY?
Most of us may not have given the matter much thought, but finally someone has realized that there must be a better way.
The clever folks at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (the same institution that figured out how to make plutonium out of enriched uranium, but I won’t dwell on that) have developed a new clothes drying technology that uses sound rather than heat to remove the moisture from our t-shirts and socks, etc.
To be more precise, this new dryer design uses high-frequency ultrasonic waves to dry wet laundry – and the result is faster drying and the reduction of energy use by as much as 70 percent.
Oak Ridge researcher, Ayyoub Momen, who helped develop the ultrasonic dryer, said that the old technology, which relied on heating elements, “is energy-intensive no matter how you design it.”
The ultrasonic dryer instead displaces water and turns it into a fine mist, using a “low-energy, high-frequency vibration.”
It appears that the new technology will not only reduce drying time, but will also save consumers millions of dollars and even create new jobs.
From the Daily Mail Online:
“According to the US Department of Energy, ultrasonic dryers could save consumers up to $900 million over the course of 10 years.
“And manufacturing the machines would also create 6,350 jobs in the nation.
“Momen expects his ultrasonic dryer will cost consumers about $500 and cut down the nation’s spending by $9 billion.”
And there’s another fringe benefit: The ultrasonic dryers won’t make your clothes shrink.
BUT IS IT SAFE?
I don’t want to rain on anyone’s parade (or laundry, as the case may be), but in researching this subject I ran across a sentence in the related Daily Mail article stating that the “intense vibrations” produced by these dryers are too high-pitched for even dogs to hear.
That started making me wonder if these newfangled supersonic clothes dryers are actually safe to be around.
I don’t mean to sound pessimistic, but just maybe it’s not so good for humans (or dogs, for that matter) to be bombarded by “intense” ultrasonic vibrations that may or may not escape into the surrounding environment.
After all, the ultrasonic scanners used to view developing fetuses do appear to have risk factors.
Ultrasound scanning, according to natural health practitioner Dr. Ben Kim, causes increased blood flow and other “mechanical effects” that can affect local tissues. The use of ultrasound scanners has been linked to miscarriage, preterm labor and infant mortality.
Dr. Kim wrote:
“The conventional view on ultrasound scanning during pregnancy is that the intensity and duration of sound waves that are used for scanning are not enough to produce these physiological effects at a level that is harmful to a fetus.
“I believe that this conventional view is influenced by the number of dollars that are being made by this industry.”
So maybe I’m paranoid, but I must admit to regarding this latest technological breakthrough with a certain amount of skepticism.
The good news – even if you would prefer not to waste obscene amounts of energy drying your clothes in conventional dryers, and share my hesitations about the new ultrasonic dryers – is that good old-fashioned clothesline technology works just as well as it ever did.