The average washing machine is weighed down by a 25kg slab of concrete to stop it moving around but students a
Sometimes an idea comes along that is genius for the simple fact that it seems so blindingly obvious, yet no one has thought of it before.
Just such an idea came to a team at Nottingham Trent University who invented a simple device that can save fuel, cut carbon emissions and reduce back injuries with a simple adjustment to the humble household washing machine.
The average washing machine is weighed down by a 25kg slab of concrete to stop it moving around, but product design company Tochi Tech Ltd, which works with students and researchers at Nottingham Trent to solve manufacturing problems, came up with a much better solution.
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It has built an empty plastic container that takes the place of the concrete and fills with water once the machine is installed.
In tests, it has proved just as effective at keeping machines stable, the researchers claim.
The team say the new device cuts the weight of washing machines by a third, meaning that transportation costs and associated greenhouse gas emissions are also reduced. The invention will also save on the CO2 emitted when concrete is produced.
Around 3.5 million washing machines are sold annually in the UK, the team said, which means the new device could save around 44,625 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions a year, according to their calculations.
Dylan Knight, a 22-year-old undergraduate, who was part of the design team told BBC News: “Everyone thinks the idea must have been thought of before. No one can really believe it. But I promise you it definitely works.”
Tochi Tech is currently in discussions with manufacturers, but it is not yet clear if and when new lightweight washing machines will be hitting the shops.