Note to Reporters: A photo of the machine is available with the news release at http://news.colostate.edu.
Students at the Colorado State University Engines and Energy Conversion Laboratory, in collaboration with Fort Collins-based Czero Inc., have spent more than a year on the design, build and testing of a solvent-free industrial laundry machine for a Denver company, CO2Nexus Inc.
The machine, which runs on carbon dioxide, will leave the laboratory Friday for installation in Aramark Cleanroom Services in Los Angeles, Calif., for further testing on cleanroom clothing.
CO2Nexus Inc., a textile technology development company and solutions provider, develops equipment and consumables that utilize liquid carbon dioxide as a solvent for cleaning fabrics and textiles.
The use of CO2 as a textile cleaning solvent is already well documented in dry cleaning, but CO2Nexus has developed the first industrial application of CO2 textile cleaning. The project is partially funded by a grant from the California Energy Commission. CO2Nexus Inc. also collaborated with Czero, CSU’s Engines and Energy Conversion Laboratory and Aramark on the project.
“Carbon dioxide is a naturally occurring and abundant gas that has excellent solvency properties when it becomes a high pressure or ‘supercritical’ fluid,’” said Erin Elzinga at CO2Nexus. “In addition to cleaning well CO2 leaves no secondary waste and no additional carbon dioxide is generated or added to the atmosphere.”
The company plans to target industrial and institutional laundry end users who are motivated to reduce water and energy consumption, and to alleviate regulatory burdens associated with conventional commercial laundering and dry cleaning methods. These end users include hotels, healthcare facilities, military, central plant dry cleaners, and others with unique cleaning requirements and sustainability mandates.
The project has been a great learning tool for the students, said Guy Babbitt, co-owner of Czero, which helps startup companies with advanced mechanical engineering R&D to take new ideas from concept to prototype.
“The laboratory is increasingly expanding partnerships with other companies such as Czero and CO2Nexus to expose our students to real engineering challenges in industry,” said Mac McGoldrick, operations manager for the laboratory.