High Efficiency Clothes Dryer Powered by Solar Concentrator

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We combine a novel solar-concentrator with a novel clothes dryer.

1) Thin mirrors in our solar concentrator panel (1.5 X 3.5 meters) track the sun from dawn to dusk, focusing the sunlight onto a black absorber pipe that discharges heat-transfer fluid @ 400°F. "Sunfunnel", like a glass pup-tent, is novel in low cost, self-cleaning, needs no maintenance, and offers an operating life of 4 decades. Each panel supplies some 3 kW of heat; one may use dozens of such panels, depending on the power need... and roof area.

2) Our clothes dryer is powered by the solar-heated fluid through an air heat exchanger. It is unique in two ways: 1) uses little power: being the first dryer to receive Energy Star rating. It dries clothes quickly, with half the conventional dryer energy BTUs. 2) it does not start fires. (!) 2010 data: some 15,400 home dryer-fires resulted in 51 deaths, 380 injuries and $236 million property damage. Without red-hot wires, our "SafeMate" dryer does not have any internal temperature approaching lint ignition.

3) Our initial market will be the world's 187,000 hotels ... using their rooftops for a cheaper and safer daily load of fabric drying.

4) This award will be used to fund our first hotel project.

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  • ABOUT THE ENTRANT

  • Name:
    Oliver Edwards
  • Type of entry:
    team
    Team members:
    Oliver Edwards (Zyberwear, Inc.)
    Michael Brown (MEBIP, LLC)
  • Profession:
    Scientist
  • Oliver is inspired by:
    Edwards is focused on lowest-cost, least-maintenance solar-thermal power, and has gotten there in successful prototype stages. Partner Mike Brown has invested a decade and all his personal funds in developing his extraordinary Safemate dryer: more efficient, faster drying, and... almost alone in NOT being a fire hazard. Together, these address the cost problems of hotel linens (11 pounds/room/day) while avoiding the fire dangers of conventional dryers.
  • Patent status:
    patented