Year: January 2021 – June 2022
By and large, the ecological footprint of washing machine detergents is significant. This is due to their composition, containing compounds that contaminate water, have low biodegradability and some that can even affect our health. In addition to surfactants and phosphates that are a problem for the environment, today’s detergents contain other compounds to enhance their efficiency such as carbonates and perborates, enzymes, bleaching agents, foaming agents, colourants, preservatives and fragrances. Almost all of these substances have associated drawbacks.
Governments have been reducing the maximum permitted levels of some ingredients for years, but detergents are far from being healthy or harmless.
In addition, because energy efficient machines use less water, it is important to use efficient detergents designed to work with less water. Some detergents produce excessive suds and this may cause the washing machine to add more rinse cycles, thus increasing energy and water consumption.
The expertise gained in previous years by the FUNDETEX project has led to the development of detergents that provide functional properties for the user’s skin and health, and new skin care products to complement the washing cycle. Now, the CLEANTEX project seeks to go a step further and focus on developing a biodegradable detergent that is not only environmentally friendly but also good for health, leaves no chemical residue on the garments and minimises the ecological footprint.
AITEX proposes the development of biodegradable detergent formulations from natural sources that do not contain phosphates or petroleum derivatives. In addition, the aim is to achieve high washing efficiency using low-foaming, fast-dispersing formulations designed to work with less water. New sustainable packaging formats will also be explored.
The scientific and technical objectives are set out below:
- Research new ingredients from natural sources (minerals and plants), which are readily biodegradable and do not produce toxic biodegradation by-products. The project intends to formulate effective detergents with a minimum 75% biodegradability after 28 days.
- Study formulations that work at low pH, moderate temperatures and are effective in water with different calcium ion concentrations.
- Investigate new low-foaming, fast-dispersing formulations that work in water-efficient washing machines, confirming water savings of up to 80% and energy savings up to 65%.
- Develop the most appropriate formulations and mixing procedures by establishing the optimal percentage of each ingredient.
- Study the level of biodegradability (according to test methods included in Regulation 648/2004 / CE. Annex III) of the formulations developed in the most severe circumstances, both under aerobic and anaerobic conditions, to reduce the minimum impact on wastewater. It is expected to obtain a level of biodegradability (mineralization) of at least 60% within a period of 28 days.
- Study the ecotoxicity level of detergent formulations to reduce the impact on aquatic organisms (CDVchronic limits_maximum value of critical dilution volume that the product can reach) which depends on the degradation factors, the chronic toxicity of each compound and the dosage.
- To study the cleaning capacity of the new detergent formulations.
- Investigate the ability of probiotics to improve hygiene and cleanliness.
- Study new, more sustainable presentation formats, using as little packaging as possible and/or using 100% recyclable materials.
- Identify the market and/or demand.
- Assess and quantify the market opportunity/demand.
- Define specific attributes (value proposition).
- Develop transfer reports and documents.
- Analyse industrial feasibility.
- Carry out an economic study, feasibility of costs.
- Carry out experimental tests in concept/product companies.
- Study the design and definition of the exploitation of results.
- Different biodegradable detergent formulations based on ingredients from natural sources (minerals and plants) containing no phosphates or petroleum derivatives.
- Detergent formulations that achieve high efficiency from low foaming, fast dispersing formulations using less water.
- High cleaning capacity of the newly developed detergent formulations.
- New, more sustainable presentation formats using as little packaging as possible and/or using 100% recyclable materials.
This project is funded by the Conselleria d’Economia Sostenible, Sectors Productius, Comerç i Treball de la Generalitat Valenciana, through IVACE, and is co funded by ERDF from the European Commission within the framework of the Operational Programme FEDER for the Comunitat Valenciana 2014-2020.
- Grant number: IMDEEA/2021/27
- Amount: 223.955,43 €
- Year: 2021-2022
- Status: In progress
- Entity: IVACE