Who could ever imagine that beneath a pharmacy on Trade Street and just a stone’s throw from a local newspaper, two men and a machine are running fresh air through a molecular sieve and creating pure oxygen? The two entrepreneurs are also planning on revolutionizing the laundry industry by splitting atoms and creating ozone gas. The net effect is washing laundry without the need for hot water.
Ozone Water Technologies is a small business that quietly operates on Oak Street in downtown Tryon. Their mission is to capitalize on the ozone laundry industry, an emerging process that saves energy and protects the environment. Jim Gross, the company president, along with VP of Marketing, Howard Highsmith, believe that their process of infusing ozone gas into the wash and rinse cycle of large capacity washing machines can produce promising 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.
Gross and Highsmith are expecting a promising report which they say will provide a boost to their business. The conclusion of the study, due out in about a month, will come on the heels of another major announce by the Center for Disease Control (CDC). Highsmith said that 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,” says Highsmith.
Gross, who has more than 40 years of industry experience, understands laundry chemistry. He asserts that when you push ozone gas through a small titanium infuser, the tiny bubbles dissolve into the water and attack grime and dirt. The ozone molecules actually open the fibers allowing for a better flow of cleansing during the wash and rinse cycle. “Ozone oxidizes organics and that’s the key,” says Gross.
Ozone Water Technologies provides an oil-free compressor which pumps fresh air into their specially designed ozone unit, which 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 oxygen that is pure as pure can be. 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; in fact, 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 that 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 says.
Highsmith states that their company is making incredible strides into the ozone laundry space but admits that the market is in the early-adoption phase. Both Gross and Highsmith are very excited about their growth potential which extends to the hospitality, healthcare, and industrial sectors. They both realize the industry potential but also under the challenges of capitalization. “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,” says Highsmith.