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Leeds University spinout Xeros has won a provisional £500,000 investment from IP Group Plc for a revolutionary washing machine product which is claimed to use only one cup of water per cycle.

IP Group said the investment was dependent on certain milestones being met. IP Group already has an automatic stake in Xeros because of its agreement to commercialise Leeds University's intellectual property.

Apparently plastic chips are used to remove dirt and stains from clothes, leaving them dry and reducing energy consumption as there is no need to use a dryer after the washing cycle, Xeros said in a statement.

The firm, which recently secured investment of almost 500,000 pounds from IP Group, told Reuters the price of the new machines was "not expected to be dramatically different from (conventional) washing machines."

Washing machine usage has risen by 23 percent in the past 15 years. The average household uses almost 21 litres of water daily on clothes washing, 13 percent of daily household water consumption, according to Waterwise, a non-government organisation focused on decreasing water wastage.

A typical washing machine uses about 35 kilograms of water for every kilogram of clothes, in addition to the power needed to heat the water and dry the clothes.

There are more than two million washing machines sold in Britain annually, with a value of about 1 billion pounds, Xeros said.

Sadly we've heard it before, many times over the years, that someone has come up with the detergent free washer or the waterless washer, since the early eighties. None have yet proven to be good enough to be sold commercially on any scale and tend to be more a curiosity than a commercially viable product.

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