October 23, 2019

New High-Efficiency Commercial Clothes Drying System Promises to Run on Half the Energy and Save Laundries Up to $2.5 Billion


SoCalGas and the Gas Technology Institute have completed a proof-of-concept feasibility study on a new high-efficiency drying technology that saves time, money and reduces greenhouse gas emissions


LOS ANGELES, Oct. 23, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- Hotel laundries and other businesses that use commercial clothes dryers could soon be using a game-changing technology that reduces energy costs up to 70 percent, saves water, and helps the environment. Southern California Gas Co. (SoCalGas) and Gas Technology Institute (GTI) announced today they have completed a proof-of-concept feasibility study on a new high-efficiency clothes drying technology that reduces natural gas use, saves money, and lowers greenhouse gas emissions. The new technology can be used in hotels, restaurants, hospitals, laundromats, multifamily housing laundries, and industrial laundry facilities.

Compared to existing commercial clothes dryers, the new technology uses accelerated drying speeds to reduce energy usage by one-fifth. Annual savings from the use of this new drying technology across the nation has a potential to reach over $2.5 billion.

When used for multiple laundry batches, this innovative drying equipment has the potential of saving almost 100 percent of water by recycling it for the next batch of washing. Additionally, the new technology reduces drying time up to 10 times and increases longevity of clothing, towels and bedding by eliminating severe, high temperature drying conditions. Laundry dried using this new technology comes out softer, retains more color, and will last up to five times longer. 

"Both industrial and home natural gas appliances continue to advance technologically and become increasingly energy efficient," said Yuri Freedman, senior director of business development at SoCalGas. "This is yet another innovative technology that produces very low emissions and saves both energy and money."

"This gas-fired thermo-vacuum drying technology has the potential to offer significant energy, water and cost savings for many homes and businesses. We are proud to be a partner in developing this technology that will help many businesses and provide environmental benefits," said Yaroslav Chudnovsky, senior R&D staff at GTI.

Modern laundry drying is an energy intensive process, releasing heat and steam into the atmosphere, which wastes water and adds to the greenhouse effect. This new, high-efficiency drying system can greatly reduce the loss of heat and water using an ejector-based approach.

"The specially designed steam ejectors create a dynamic vacuum inside the drying chamber that accelerates moisture removal from the laundry while simultaneously provides heating of the batch being dried," said Dmytro Buyadgie, chief scientist and CTO at Wilson Engineering Technologies Inc., the major developer of the concept. The same heat that generates the vacuum also preserves hot water for the next washing batch. Together these factors significantly reduce energy and water use. Non-energy benefits of the new drying method include drying speed, simple design, high durability, low maintenance, and lower operating costs.

Project funding for this phase of development was provided by Utilization Technology Development (UTD), of which SoCalGas is a member.

SoCalGas has been a leader in the research and development of new technologies that increase energy efficiency, reduce air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions, and keep bills affordable for customers. Between 2014 and 2018, SoCalGas energy efficiency programs delivered more than 180 million therms in energy savings, enough natural gas usage for 403,000 households a year, and reducing greenhouse gas emissions by nearly 955,000 metric tons, the equivalent of removing more than 202,000 cars from the road annually. These advances have also helped save SoCalGas customers more than $198 million in utility bill costs. In 2018 alone, SoCalGas' energy efficiency programs saved customers $57 million.

About SoCalGas
Headquartered in Los Angeles, SoCalGas® is the largest natural gas distribution utility in the United States. SoCalGas delivers affordable, reliable, clean and increasingly renewable natural gas service to 21.8 million customers across 24,000 square miles of Central and Southern California, where more than 90 percent of residents use natural gas for heating, hot water, cooking, drying clothes or other uses. Natural gas delivered through the company's pipelines also plays a key role in providing electricity to Californians— about 45 percent of electric power generated in the state comes from gas-fired power plants. 

SoCalGas' vision is to be the cleanest natural gas utility in North America, delivering affordable and increasingly renewable energy to its customers. In support of that vision, SoCalGas is committed to replacing 20 percent of its traditional natural gas supply with renewable natural gas (RNG) by 2030. Renewable natural gas is made from waste created by dairy farms, landfills and wastewater treatment plants. SoCalGas is also committed to investing in its natural gas system infrastructure while keeping bills affordable for our customers. From 2014 through 2018, the company invested nearly $6.5 billion to upgrade and modernize its natural gas system to enhance safety and reliability. SoCalGas is a subsidiary of Sempra Energy (NYSE: SRE), an energy services holding company based in San Diego. For more information visit socalgas.com/newsroom or connect with SoCalGas on Twitter (@SoCalGas), Instagram (@SoCalGas) and Facebook. 

About GTI 
GTI is a leading research, development, and training organization that has been addressing global energy and environmental challenges by developing technology-based solutions for consumers, industry, and government for more than 75 years. 

About Wilson Engineering Technologies, Inc.
Wilson Engineering Technologies, Inc. is a California based applied research and development organization that promotes the sustainable, competitive and secure energy production by introducing the emerging technologies multidisciplinary management approaches for industries and communities.

About Southern California Gas Co.: Southern California Gas Co. (SoCalGas) has been delivering clean, safe and reliable natural gas to its customers for more than 145 years. It is the nation's largest natural gas distribution utility, providing service to 21.6 million consumers connected through 5.9 million meters in more than 500 communities. The company's service territory encompasses approximately 20,000 square miles throughout central and Southern California, from Visalia to the Mexican border. SoCalGas is a regulated subsidiary of Sempra Energy (SRE), a Fortune 500 energy services holding company based in San Diego.


SOURCE Southern California Gas Company

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Marissa Girolamo, Office of Media and Public Information, (213) 244-2442, [email protected]