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Cold Water Washing: DuPont and P&G develop technology to enable lower temperatures in laundry

cold water washing

P&G and DuPont share very similar cultures around sustainability and protecting the environment.  Working collaboratively in the category of laundry detergents, the two companies co-developed a new enzyme molecule that achieves the previously impossible: the cleaning power of warm-water washing at cold-water temperatures.

The combined objective was to develop the next generation superior protease enzyme technology suitable for cold water washes and bring that technology to the global market. To this end, DuPont applied a suite of innovative protein engineering methods to invent a protease that at 60°F matches the cleaning performance of the previous generation product at 90°F. 

How much energy could be saved with cold water washing?

This new protease has the potential to become one of the most widely used engineered enzymes in the world. It also represents a major opportunity to improve the environmental performance of residential laundry by influencing the “use phase,” empowering consumers to change behavior and manage their own footprints using this technology.

So what is the potential benefit? Roughly 45 billion loads of laundry are cleaned in a clothes washer in U.S. homes annually, amounting to ~54 billion kWh in energy consumption and ~40 billion kg CO2 emissions. If all washes were done in cold water (at the cold temperature), the energy savings would be the equivalent of the annual electricity expenditure of 3.7 million U.S. households.*

 

*GHG savings were evaluated for total annual energy use and greenhouse gas emissions, based on ~45 billion annual loads, and benchmarked against values for the average load. Average load values were calculated based on public data sources and P&G “habits and practice” data for a) types of machines in the U.S.; b) thermal/mechanical energy requirements by machine type and wash cycle; and c) current use distribution of wash temperature settings (hot, warm, cold). Using the EPA’s standard emissions factor for converting reductions of kilowatt-hours into avoided units of carbon dioxide emissions, potential annual reductions in greenhouse gas emissions were calculated for each scenario.

DuPont and Procter & Gamble Win Sustainable Bio Award at 2014 World Bio Markets

DuPont and Procter & Gamble Company (P&G) are the joint winners of the 2014 Sustainable Bio Award for Bio-Based Product Innovation of the Year. The two companies were recognized today at the 2014 World Bio Markets Conference in Amsterdam for their pioneering work to achieve the previously impossible: the cleaning power of warm-water clothes washing at cold-water temperatures.

Read the press release ►