Jim Gross and Howard Highsmith examine an ozone unit designed to make high-capacity laundry facilities more efficient. (photo by Kirk Gollwitzer)
Jim Gross and Howard Highsmith examine an ozone unit designed to make high-capacity laundry facilities more efficient. (photo by Kirk Gollwitzer)

Archived Story

Ozone Water looks to grow, create jobs through laundry

Published 6:01pm Friday, August 2, 2013

Tucked behind North Trade Street in Tryon two men and a machine are running fresh air through a molecular sieve and creating pure oxygen.

The two entrepreneurs in this small business that quietly operates on Oak Street plan on revolutionizing the laundry industry by splitting atoms and creating ozone gas. The net effect is washing laundry without the need for hot water.

“When you wash clothes, you bring water and you add soap. But you have to have hot water to activate the soap,” says company president Jim Gross.

Gross said the ozone method of washing laundry eliminates the need to heat the water to 120 degrees, resulting in less energy usage. Gross and vice president of marketing Howard Highsmith said their process of infusing ozone gas into the wash and rinse cycle of large capacity washing machines can produce promising energy-saving results, while demonstrating a significant return on investment.

So significant that the US Department of Energy selected Ozone Water Technologies to take part in an energy savings study that compares ozone gas washers with conventional machines at an on-premise healthcare facility in Boston. Both laundry machines are being tested under the same conditions and the results will be forthcoming.

The conclusion of the study, due out in about a month, will come on the heels of another major announcement by the Center for Disease Control (CDC). Highsmith said the CDC has recommended the ozone method of cleaning laundry because of its effectiveness in killing drug resistant viruses.

“The CDC has adopted, indorsed and approved the use of ozone gas as an effective laundry process,” said Highsmith.

Gross, who has more than 40 years of industry experience, understands laundry chemistry. He said when you push ozone gas through a small titanium infuser, tiny bubbles dissolve into the water and attack grime and dirt. The ozone molecules open the fibers allowing for a better flow of cleansing during the wash and rinse cycle, he said.

“Ozone oxidizes organics and that’s the key,” said Gross.

Ozone Water Technologies provides an oil-free compressor, which pumps fresh air into a specially designed ozone unit that sits next to as many as four clothes washers. Gross explains that air passes through a molecular sieve and the nitrogen is blocked, resulting in pure oxygen. The new oxygen continues down a path of high and low frequency electrical charges finally resulting in the existence of ozone gas.

Converting oxygen into ozone is not a new science; it’s been around for years in the bottled water industry. Gross and a handful of other laundry experts figured out a way to harness the ozone underwater and use the molecules to attack soiled linens.

A tube runs from the ozone machine to a connection on the back of washer. The gas flow is then regulated by a trigger that senses incoming water during the wash and rinse cycle. Gross says he can prove his product’s effectiveness by quantifying energy saving and showing clean results. Ozone Water Technologies is not alone in the ozone laundry business with competitors like: Aquawing Ozone Systems, Dell Ozone and ClearWater Tech.

“What sets us apart from our competitors is how we introduce ozone into the water in the first place. We push ozone into the machine when the water is already there, during the wash and rinse cycle,” Gross said.

Highsmith said their company is making strides in the ozone laundry space but admits the market is in the early-adoption phase. Both Gross and Highsmith are excited about their growth potential, which extends to the hospitality, healthcare and industrial sectors.

“We are looking to grow through investor working capital. The net outcome of our aggressive growth plan will be to create jobs as we further enhance our worldwide reputation,” said Highsmith.

More information on Ozone Water Technologies can be found on their website www.ozonewatertech.com.

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