Why your dirty laundry matters

Indulge us for a minute and let’s talk dirty. Of course we mean let’s talk dirty laundry. Laundry strikes most as a necessary evil, and not even marginally interesting. It’s laundry after all; run something through hot or cold water, maybe air dry it, and you’re done. What else is there?

Hear us out: water-based technology makes the use-phase of a garment’s life the most resource-intense, surpassing resources needed to cultivate new raw materials. According to the University of California-Santa Barbara, laundry accounts for 64% of energy consumption and 76% of water consumption in the lifecycle of a poly-cotton t-shirt.

What if you didn’t need water to clean garments? What if you didn’t need to dry garments? After thousands of cycles in TERSUS, we’ve shown you don’t need water, you can (and should) use liquid carbon dioxide. We’ve also learned three more important things about laundry:

  1. Laundry isn’t simply about deodorizing, it’s about functionality and longevity: consider for example, decontaminating a firefighter’s turnout kit after a fire. Laden with smoke, carcinogens, and other particulate, gear will trap those substances in the protective layers of fabric and prolong firefighter’s exposure to them. Without advanced and appropriate laundry, the protective equipment undermines the firefighter’s health.

  2. Wastewater is just as important as freshwater: What is pulled off or out of your clothing goes back into your water system -- chemicals, microfibers, and other particulates. Water-based laundry systems just move dirt and particulates from one place to another.

  3. Laundry represents the greatest, near-term opportunity to reduce the environmental impact of apparel: Many other Lifecycle Analyses (LCAs) indicate that the individual use/care phase of a garment’s life has the largest impact on water, energy, and greenhouse gas emissions. We can substantially impact these metrics by advocating for different approaches to laundry

Selecting the right approach to laundry grants the opportunity to impact lives, businesses, and the planet. We think liquid carbon dioxide makes laundry a little bit more interesting, and lot less dirty.

Navy Abandons Water in Test to Clean Military Ballistic Field Gear

This blog is reposted from the California Energy Commission Blog

Ballistic vests are a must-have item for Navy Seabees whose missions tend to put them in harm’s way. The vests are lifesavers designed to handle projectiles and shrapnel but, ironically, they can’t handle water, which means they are difficult to clean. But the California Energy Commission and U.S. Navy are collaborating on a project that could change that. 

In 2015, the Energy Commission awarded a $900,000 grant to Tersus Solutions to demonstrate a laundry process that uses liquid carbon dioxide instead of water to clean uniforms and gear used by the armed forces and first responders.

The year-long demonstration is being held at Naval Base Ventura County, Port Hueneme, where Tersus Solutions built a full-scale laundry to evaluate the technology’s ability to clean and decontaminate a variety of items such as Kevlar ballistic vests, flame resistant garments, sleeping bags, tents and field gear. The initial evaluation will be for the Seabee battle gear, but a wide variety of operational fabrics and garments used by troops will be tested and evaluated.

Water-based cleaning methods can compromise the protective capabilities of fabrics used for combat and emergency gear. The Tersus process uses carbon dioxide, an abundant and naturally occurring gas. When put under high pressure and temperature, it becomes a fluid with solvent properties similar to liquids. Once depressurized, it returns to its gaseous state, leaving items not only clean, but dry. The carbon dioxide is retained, filtered and ready for the next load.

The demonstration will highlight the system’s cleaning performance, reliability, energy savings, water savings and operating costs compared to current laundry methods. Tersus says it expects to reduce water use by 98 percent, energy costs by about 50 percent and overall operating costs by 30 to 60 percent. 

The California Energy Commission and the Department of the Navy will meet at Stanford University Oct. 12 to formalize their ongoing partnership that will help Navy and Marine Corps installations in the state transition to renewable energy alternatives to meet California and the Department of Defense climate and energy goals.

TERSUS welcomes new Advisory Board member

TERSUS welcomes Peter Taylor to its Strategic Advisory Board. As a Strategic Advisor, Mr. Taylor will share his wealth of knowledge and sterling track record as a Textile Care Industry executive in Europe and Asia. Further information about Mr. Taylor's background is below. 

A professional engineering by training, Peter Taylor has more than two decades of operations experience, the majority of which was with Unilever and CWS-boco. At CWS-boco, he began working in Europe then moved to China to establish operations in Asia. He concluded his tenure by returning to Europe to take a position on the CWS-boco International Board of Directors. During his time as Chief Operations Officer, Peter oversaw the complete supply chain for CWS-boco, including 1,600 service vehicles, 160 depots, and over 50 production facilities in 19 countries. 

I am very excited to be involved with TERSUS on what promises to be a ground breaking technology that will enable so much more than just being an alternative washing machine. It will open the door to many interesting innovations which should revolutionize how textiles are processed today! After over 20 years connected to the Textile Care Industry - from my early days at Unilever to my more recent days with CWS-boco - it is great to be able to be involved with the first deployments of this innovation.” -
— Peter Taylor

Peter joins TERSUS Solutions just as the company has entered the European market with the patented TERSUS solution. From Europe, Peter will be a key strategic figure in the global roll-out of the TERSUS portfolio. 

We are very fortunate to have someone with Peter’s background and skill-set join our team as we enter a new phase of our company’s evolution. He possesses know-how and experience from both institutional laundry operations and the broader textile supply chain - in both practical and strategic roles - which will be invaluable to our technical and marketing efforts.
— Richard Kinsman (CEO of TERSUS Solutions)

Peter is currently the Managing Director of Koru Solutions Ltd., a management consulting firm based in London. He has a mechanical engineering degree from the University of Canterbury in New Zealand. 

Welcome Peter!

2 Reasons we picked ZDHC for our sustainable chemistry program

Ambitious and achievable.

It’s that simple. The Zero Discharge of Hazardous Chemicals program has created a framework that is both ambitiousadvances towards zero discharge of hazardous chemicals by 2020 – and achievableenables widespread adoption of sustainable chemistry and best practices.

At TERSUS, we implemented the Manufacturers Restricted Substance List (MRSL) guidelines for our chemistry program because we wanted to certify that we take responsibility for what goes in and comes out of the machine. The ZDHC program syncs with our goals and capabilities. Our core platform eliminates water use, and thus wastewater. But we still use chemistry to clean, coat, or restore textiles and apparel. We take ownership of the products we use in our technology and what happens to them when we're finished. This is part of the closed-loop thinking we put into our solution - from the hardware to the chemistry.

The ZDHC program offers us an ambitious roadmap to strive for, while granting us the flexibility to work with where we stand today. This means we can easily collaborate with our upstream chemical partners and downstream with our customers in simple and streamlined fashion. And there’s room to grow with ZDHC. In the future, TERSUS will make an impact on the next generation of “clean” standards, as we offer our closed-loop platform as strategy for chemicals management.

A (bonus) third reason for selecting ZDHC for our chemicals program: it’s championed by brands we admire for their innovation and environmental stewardship.

Now on to 2020 and beyond




We're hiring!

Dear Engineers, 

We are looking for someone with a minimum of two years engineering experience to be a key member of our technical team in our 10 person (fast growing!) company. You will focus on a variety of technical elements including design, build, installation, service & optimization of the TERSUS water-free textile cleaning solution. Experience with high-pressure vessels is a plus, but not required. You will be expected to travel 50-75% of each month between HQ (Denver) and our manufacturing partner (Wyoming), and customers sites across the U.S. and Europe.

Contact us at info@tersussolutions.com if the role responsibilities below interest you. We look forward to hearing from you!

The TERSUS vision is to enable companies to create new standards in textile manufacturing stewardship by utilizing thoughtful innovation. In so doing, we aim to deliver maximum financial, environmental, and social impact in the textile industry. Sound intriguing? Join us!

Role Responsibilities & Requirements (partial list):

  • Ability to create engineering drawings using Autodesk Inventor
  • Basic computer programming experience (for working with the PLC programming)
  • Oversee assembly QC & pre-shipping testing of the machine (following testing protocols)
  • Project managing customers through the facility preparation & installation process
  • Assist in installing and commissioning of machines at customers facilities
  • Troubleshooting and repairs in the field
  • Customer care and issue intervention
  • Maintain machine field repair logs
  • Develop field repair memos & service guides

Education & Work Experience Requirements

  • College Degree (BS) in engineering (mechanical, chemical or process)
  • Ability to read and understand a P&ID
  • Proficient with Autodesk Inventor, Microsoft Visio, Excel, Word and Google docs
  • Good communication skills
  • A high degree of technical problem solving skills

Job Type: Full-time

Required Education: Bachelor's

Required Experience: 2 years

Required license or certification: Driver's license


Partnering to build the Circular Economy

80% of the $3.2 trillion worth of materials used in consumer goods each year are not recovered. 
14 million tons of apparel goes to landfill each year. - The Renewal Workshop 

A new model for brand apparel

With all the creativity and resource embedded in creating textiles, why is the ost common solution for defective apparel to landfill them? 

Now there's another solution from our newest partner The Renewal Workshop! Seeking to reduce textile waste in the apparel sector, The Renewal Workshop will clean and restore apparel in a new factory in Cascade Locks, Oregon. #RenewedinAmerica

Alongside The Renewal Workshop, we're hoping to change what customers know about apparel care and garment life. This is the beginning of that effort. Want to hear more perspective on the financial implications of apparel cleanliness? Read our past blog on Building a Profitable Circular Economy

Real Apparel Innovation

What does it take to tackle the challenges facing the apparel industry? Time, creativity, and confidence are the keys to the future of apparel. 

Time -- necessary for building partnerships that deliver meaningful change. 

Creativity -- to think outside the box, consider alternatives, and shoulder shared risks. 

Confidence -- nurtured by thoughtful design and extensive testing. 

These ingredients have built trust in the cleaning power of TERSUS. Our partners trust TERSUS to restore fire fighter turnout garments, high-end technical wear, military equipment, and now a new category of apparel - renewed apparel. We're excited to watch our partners introduce healthier products, smarter garments, and more environmentally-friendly garments using TERSUS. 

Thinking outside water-based manufacturing

For centuries there has been no alternative to water. Humans have been working with textiles in water for that long. So it’s not surprising that we occasionally encounter individuals who can’t imagine any other approach but water-based manufacturing. 

Also consider this: for centuries there was no alternative to many natural fibers. Shortages, primarily during wartimes, inspired materials innovation that produced many synthetic fabrics we use today. In the current textile industry, both natural and synthetic fibers play an important role in apparel, and are increasingly blended to deliver new fabrics.

Apparel innovators around the world now find themselves inspired by new shortages – shortages of natural capital. Water scarcity, declining water and air quality, and rising energy demands increasingly challenge the manufacturing outlook of the global apparel industry.

What resources will be available? How much will they cost? How long will communities stand for irresponsible consumption and waste?

For this reason, we have joined with innovative partners who want to step outside the existing paradigm to see if there’s another, cleaner way to manufacture apparel.

Liquid carbon dioxide doesn’t behave like water, and we think that’s important. Water is not likely to disappear from apparel supply chains entirely, but we believe new and inspiring things are possible when working with liquid carbon dioxide…

Imagine eliminating water from raw wool cleaning – we could leave more than 500,000 liters of water daily in local watersheds if LCO2 were used in just one standard scouring facility…

Imagine the cost savings from eliminating wastewater from operations by using the TERSUS closed-loop LCO2 platform…

Imagine the durability of technical coatings if apparel products are coated using an innovative process and effectively cleaned for…

LCO2 can replace water, and it can achieve things water cannot; we believe there’s an appropriate application for each.

It took time for early 20th century fiber and fabric innovations to take hold with designers, brands, and individuals. We’re experiencing the early days of 21st century apparel innovations. We’re glad to see more companies stepping outside the bounds of water-based thinking to introduce the next generation of apparel innovation. 

Spicing up CO2

Post by Frank Kvietok - Director of Application Development

Carbon dioxide is pretty amazing stuff.  Physical properties stemming from its unusual quadrupole moment and its well-studied phase behavior lead to an incredible number of applications from champagne to dry ice.  As a liquid, its non-polar and very low viscosity nature allow it to penetrate deeply into complex structures, like fabrics, while being very gentle in comparison to water.  Garments as different as silk blouses to oil-field coveralls love a bath in liquid CO2!

With the addition of chemistries to broaden the cleaning profile or to apply a treatment, CO2 can do even more.  So, where do these technologies come from?  The textile industry has been thinking ‘water’ for centuries.  Plus, it’s not easy to do classic bench-top experimentation.  Given that carbon dioxide is a gas at normal atmospheric conditions, a beaker full of liquid CO2 isn’t very well-behaved, to say the least!

We have found a variety of approaches to be helpful.  They’re all based on two tenets:

  1. Understand what you’re trying to accomplish clearly enough to be able to explain to others or to be able to ‘think like a molecule’.
  2. Be flexible, creative, and humble as you search for solutions!

Partnering is huge, there’s a lot to learn from others.  We focus on both the chemical supplier industry and end-users (mills, commercial cleaners, brands,… - our end customer).  With chemical providers, a key strategy has been engaging with the developers, asking for their help in order to identify technologies already developed and getting them intellectually engaged.  While not directly textile related, a lot of work that has gone into fields such as oil recovery and and ‘hi-tech’ cleaning (electronics, mechanical), can translate very well to a liquid CO2 environment.

In our experience, chemistry developers get super excited about thinking ‘in CO2’, for a change!  In addition to defining our challenge, it really helps to highlight the differences our system has versus traditional, such as its closed-loop nature, which allows great flexibility in terms of what chemistry can be used.  Since we can easily reclaim and reuse most added chemistries, expense can be thought of very differently.  It’s not a ‘one and done’ situation!  Similarly, as there’s literally no wastewater discharge, materials that would be very problematic to recover from traditional water systems are easily collected and disposed of in our system. 

From our potential customers comes help in defining the challenge, both from an end result or benefit point of view, but also from the position of financial economics and deployment ease.  This input is, of course, crucial so we can develop comprehensive solutions.  Sometimes these solutions are better approaches to what’s being done in water today, sometimes they are options made possible only through the use of CO2.



TERSUS deploys Europe's first water-free laundry service

Initial and TERSUS Solutions partner to deliver a unique water-free laundry program, the first of its kind in the EUR 11 billon European industrial laundry market. The patented, closed-loop, TERSUS Barrier System cleans high-value corporate workwear and personal protective equipment (PPE) using liquid carbon dioxide instead of water. The new cleaning service will extend the life of rental workwear and increase worker health and safety, while taking an important step toward a more resource-responsible circular economy for textiles in Europe. 

Delivering safer garments with a longer useful life

Water-based cleaning has dominated textile manufacturing and maintenance for centuries despite some of its limitations for maintaining workwear. The fibers of high-value workwear degrade via aggressive mechanical action, harsh chemistry, and high temperatures associated with traditional cleaning and drying. TERSUS introduces a specialty solution that produces unparalleled cleanliness and decontamination for high-value workwear. Distinct from water, TERSUS uses no heat and gentler mechanical action to reduce garment degradation, and ensure worker health. 

TERSUS combines the natural properties of liquid carbon dioxide with patented hardware to improve the durability of PPE and corporate workwear. In TERSUS testing involving oil field workwear, TERSUS removed 98% of oily contaminants, while water only removed 58%. The closed-loop TERSUS Barrier System delivers unrivaled levels of cleanliness in the fabrics and the facilities where they are cleaned. 

Regulators in Europe and the United States are increasingly concerned about workers safety resulting from contaminants encountered during hazardous work assignments, including fire fighting. Without appropriate and timely cleaning, workers are at risk of secondary exposure to contaminants via their workwear. 

"This innovative washing process underlines how important we think it is to make the work of people in certain occupations healthier, by cleaning their clothes sustainably and with respect for the environment." -- Alain van Lidth de Jeude (CEO Initial Benelux)

TERSUS begins unlocking the circular economy for textiles

Initial's rental workwear model is a prime example of existing circular economy models for textiles. This model improves resource use in the apparel industry. TERSUS introduces a complementary innovation, consistent with circular economy principles, increasing the durability of apparel while using no water, less energy, less chemistry, and creating no effluent waste. The TERSUS water-free cleaning solution can guarantee fiber integrity, color fastness, and technical functionality while reducing the environmental impact of laundry. 

About Initial

Initial is a global leader in health and occupational services and operates in more than 45 countries worldwide, including the major economies of Europe, North America, Asia, and Africa. Initial offers innovative and environmentally friendly services and solutions for large and small organizations in various sectors such as offices, government, schools, food, hospitality, medical, and paramedical sector, manufacturing, retail, logistics, and transportation. Learn more at www.initialservices.be

Building a profitable circular economy

Our current global economy hinges on the production and consumption of consumer products that are typically discarded after only a handful of uses, in a linear economic model. The apparel sector is a classic example: globally, consumers spend $1.8 trillion annually on apparel. The low price points of the fast fashion movement drive rapid consumption and contribute to remarkable waste. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. puts about 21 billion pounds of textile waste into landfills every year, 70 pounds per person. This is what a linear model of produce-consume-discard looks like. 

The circular economy -- one that is restorative and regenerative by design -- aims to keep products, components, and materials at their highest utility and value at all times. This circular model preaches resource responsibility but how does a company profitably pivot away from the profitable linear-style consumption? 

According to McKinsey and the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, the market is likely to reward companies with an edge in circular business practices. For apparel companies to move toward a circular model, every aspect of business must be designed for durability and reusability, and at the end of life materials are reused, repurposed, or recycled. This will require new supply chain capabilities and necessitate a marketing campaign to nurture new buying preferences in the customer base. 

Many hurdles stand between realizing these new capabilities and buying preferences, including: 

  • Low quality in new products
  • Fears around cleanliness of second life apparel
  • The lack of logistics in place to accommodate take-back, collection, and redistribution
  • Customer perceptions of new apparel being better

We believe the linchpin to adopting circular business practices in the textile industry starts with addressing fiber, fabric, and garment cleanliness. At each step of apparel's life, materials must be cleaned in order for them to be useable, impregnated with technical functionality, and achieve longer life. Addressing fiber, fabric, and garment cleanliness will drive greater durability and usability, and thus value and profit. 

Cleanliness drives durability, and durability means profitability. Some large global companies already appreciate the relationship between durability and profitability. Industrial laundry companies aim to maximize useful life for rental pieces like corporate workwear and high-tech personal protective equipment (PPE) since this drives financial success. According to TERSUS research, the textile rental companies could capture 4% increased profit margins in the industrial laundry segment by extending garment life through more gentle cleaning in TERSUS®. 

A similar rental model is beginning to emerge in the fashion industry. Companies like Rent the Runway and GetOutFitted are moving towards more durable apparel through garment care, collaborative consumption, and reuse/recycling, cleaning becomes crucial for three reasons: 

  1. Cleaning keeps materials usable
  2. Appropriate cleaning cleaning extends garment life
  3. Clean garments build trust with customers, increasing the appeal of the service

The broader impact of cleanliness? Creating apparel with a longer lifespan starts with appropriate, regular cleaning. Repairing garments to further extend their life unlocks additional economic opportunities. 

As companies move toward this Model of Clean for apparel, we believe three economic opportunities emerge: 

  1. Increased resource efficiency in manufacturing generates cost savings
  2. Garment life enhancing services, such as superior cleaning and repairs, will add economic and environmental value
  3. Increased customer loyalty will support premium products, while value added services will increase the number of retail touch-points

McKinsey and the Ellen MacArthur Foundation estimate renewing clothing and extending the life could create $71 billion in material savings. Likewise, creating cleaner, more durable apparel stands to deliver substantial environmental benefits. At TERSUS we believe "clean" delivers an improved product with an improved environmental footprint, with enhanced financial returns. 

For more information on TERSUS Clean Model -- technical, environmental, and financial -- please contact us!