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Project name:

Sustainable method to remove microplastics from washing machine discharge

Status: Idea
Creation date: 22-11-2022

Project objectives:

BACKGROUND OF THE PROBLEM

At this moment in time, filters are used as one of the main methods to remove microplastics to discharge washing machines.

This however, is not the most sustainable method as these filters need frequent replacement. Additionally, it is not always known when filters reach their end-of-life and therefore replacement might happen too frequently or perhaps not enough. To summarize, the issues we currently face with the existing filters include:

  1. Lifetime: there is a lack of understanding with regards to the lifetime of the filters leading to too early or too late replacement
  2. Effectiveness: the effectiveness of the filters to remove microplastics can still be improved
  3. Disposing of filters: Currently, filters are not 100% recyclable so whenever filters are at their end of life, oftentimes consumers will dispose of the filters where it might end up in incineration

As a result, Haier is looking for novel solutions to either replace the filtration system all- together OR if this is not feasible, for solutions to improve the effectiveness and/or lifetime of filters.

TECHNICAL REQUIREMENTS / PERFORMANCE CRITERIA:

Solutions will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis. Generically speaking, Haier will be evaluating solutions based on the following criteria:

Technical requirements:

  • The solution should be fully circular (i.e. the net-effect on the environment should be zero)
  • The solution should at at prototype stage or more mature so it can be tested on actual washing machines
  • No additional changes should be made to our washing machines. We are looking for add-on solutions that can be implemented in a plug-and-play manner
  •  

Performance Criteria:

  • We will be looking at the total cost price of the solution and ideally want solutions that do not exceed a maximum cost increment of 10% as compared to best-in-class market competitors
  • We are looking for solutions that are considerably better as compared to competitors when it comes to microplastics filtration. No specific benchmark can be given as this will have to be tested as part of our joint POC

COST TARGET

The cost of the solution will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis. Solution price points should be comparable or at a maximum 10% higher as compared to existing filtration methods.

TIMEFRAME FOR DEVELOPMENT

Phase 1: POC/Pilot project (2-4 months)

Phase 2: Further commercial roll out (details to be discussed on a case-by-case basis)

POTENTIAL MARKET / BUSINESS OPPORTUNITY

Haier is very interested in implementing a potential solution together with solution providers. If the solution proves its efficacy, we are willing to implement this as a standard feature for all Haier brand washing machines globally. This represents a market potential well into the millions.

RESOURCES

Haier is willing to support the selected solution providers by providing:

  1. Testbedding of the solution with our washing machines
  2. Project management and iterations based on the test results and go-to-market support
  3. Potential manufacturing partners to help the solution provider to scale their operations

OTHER CONSIDERATIONS

Haier is looking for a strategic solution provider to build a relationship with over the longer term with a focus on SMEs and startups. Solution should have a TRL level of 5 and above. Solution providers should be willing to engage in global rollout together with Haier

 

Contact / source: Enterprise Singapore Sustainability Open Innovation Challenge - Sustainability Open Innovation Challenge 2022 (innovation-challenge.sg)

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