U-Md. students design energy-saving clothes dryer

The campus is not just for expending youthful energy. As a group of University of Maryland students showed recently, it is also a place for saving energy — by designing better appliances.

A team of engineering students, known as UMD Dryer, has won a year-long nationwide student competition in heavy-duty energy saving by designing an “ultra-efficient two-stage heat pump clothes dryer,” the university said.

A gaucho rides a wild horse during the annual celebration of Criolla Week in Montevideo, April 15, 2014. Throughout Easter Week, 'gauchos', the Latin American equivalent of the North American cowboy, from all over Uruguay and neighboring Argentina and Brazil will visit Montevideo to participate in the Criolla Week to win the best rider award. The competition is held from April 13 to April 20 this year. REUTERS/Andres Stapff (URUGUAY - Tags: ANIMALS SOCIETY)

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An arm of the U.S. Energy Department sponsored the design competition for ultra-low-energy use appliances to spur their development.

Improving dryers may not seem a key academic concern, but it could save kilowatt hours by the billion. According to one federal estimate, household dryers in 2011 used 57 billion kilowatt hours of electricity. Authorities said U-Md.’s device could cut that by 40 percent.

The student leader of the UMD team, Tao Cao, said it was rewarding to be on it, and faculty leader Yunho Hwang said members really wanted to save energy, “more than just taking a class.”

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