Electrolux announced that Levente Szabó from Moholy-Nagy University of Art & Design, Hungary, won the Electrolux Design Lab 2007 competition with E-wash, a compact washing machine that uses soap nuts instead of detergent. The 2007 Electrolux Design Lab challenged students to come up with environmentally-sound, commercially-viable products and solutions that would enable consumers to live in greater harmony with the environment.
In India and Nepal, people have used the soap nut (sapindus mucorossi) for centuries to get their clothes clean. Szabó said that a kilogram of soap nuts would last the typical person a year, and soap nuts are good for people with allergies and gentle on clothes.
"The soapnut is a natural plant and can be cultivated. It does not harm nature but is a part of it," said Szabo. "The other problem was the form of conventional washing machine. I reduced the size and made it flat, so it would fit into a small apartment, but also would be able to wash a lot of clothes at the same time."
Second Place went to Pebble, a portable, solar food cooker that uses spray-on solar cells and induction heating for energy-efficient cooking. It was submitted by Laura Pandelle from École Boulle, France.
Third Place went to Go Fresh by He Cheng Fei from Jiangnan University, China. Go Fresh is an energy-saving refrigerator with individual, honeycomb-shaped compartments that preserve each type of food at the right temperature and can be removed to be taken on a picnic.
The other five finalists are: