SAVortex is known for designing, manufacturing, and launching the world’s most efficient hand dryer–the Vortex 550. Inhabitat recently caught up with founder Syed Ahmed at the Cleantech Forum in San Francisco, where we spoke to him about his design. Syed shared with us a wealth of information about washrooms, his revolutionary Vortex 550, and details about the patented compression and regenerative heating technologies that reduce the unit’s power consumption by 66% (as compared with Dyson’s popular Airblade model). Hit jump to find out more about this new tech!
According to Syed, there are 20 million commercial restrooms in the United States and 10% spend $150-$200 every month to power hand dryers, while 90% are still using paper towels. Besides the fact that paper towels are inefficient and damaging to the environment, keeping a washroom stocked with paper products can cost upwards of $100,000 every year. That’s why SAVortex spent four years researching and developing a sustainable drying solution that’s easy to install and runs on less than $15 per year.
Integral to the high functionality of the Vortex is its digital brushless bypass DC motor. The motor spins around using electrical switches and air is heated up to 40 degrees using a compression system, similar to a tumble dryer. Then, 40% of the air that is pushed out of the unit is sucked back inside. This patented regenerative heating system means that even with super low energy needs, a pair of hands can be dried in 10 seconds without adding a heavy heat load to the building.
“Imagine a thousand hand dryers in a commercial building, each using 2400 watt dryers. It creates a certain amount of heat that air conditioners then have to pump out of the building. By recapturing 40% of this heat the Vortex takes a load off the cooling systems,” says Syed. This amplifies the effect of the 550W dryer and creates the kinds of lasting returns that make a $889 price tag a lot more palatable. Overall, operating the dryer costs 95% less than keeping a supply of paper towels; 50 dries costs just one penny. With an energy and savings profile like this, the Vortex Eco Smart Hand Dryer is well on its way to becoming part of the “DNA of commercial building.” Early adopters can be found across many sectors and include McDonalds, British Airways, IKEA, Phizer, and Madame Tussauds.
SAVortex is visiting San Francisco with the Clean and Cool Mission in hopes of finding strategic partners like retailers, architects, and venture capitalists with an interest in commercial applications of wireless technology and who can help them bring this sustainable drying solution to US markets.