Domestic appliances company Miele just unveiled the world’s first solar-powered tumble dryer, which uses the sun’s energy to heat air for drying clothing! The T 881 EcoComfort is connected to a home’s central heating system, which in turn is linked to a solar-thermal rooftop array. This allows it to have an A+++ energy efficiency rating, which is up to 80% more efficient than competing clothes dryers.
The T 881 EcoComfort is unique because it makes direct use of the sun’s energy without first converting it into electricity. It does this by using a solar-thermal array to feed hot water into a home’s central heating system via a stratified storage tank. After a series of tests to ensure the dryer lives up to Miele’s 20-year life expectancy benchmark, the appliance is now set to go into series production.
Since it uses solar energy, the EcoComfort’s energy footprint is 60% lower than that of a highly efficient heat-pump dryer, and it’s 80% more efficient than a vented or condenser dryer. At IFA 2013 in Berlin, Miele stated that if a family of four purchases the dryer, they can make their money back in energy savings within 7 years. During the summer, the solar dryer can also be used to produce hot water, while in the winter, the water in the stratified storage tank can be heated using biomass or geothermal heat.
Considering that clothes dryers account for more than 4% of energy use in the United States (43 billion kilowatt hours of electricity) and produce 32 million metric tones of carbon dioxide emissions, anything that can be done to lighten their footprint is fantastic.
Images: Miele and IFA 2013