Xeros was founded in 2006 to offer sustainable solutions to water-intensive industries, with its initial focus on the laundry sector. Its patented Polymer Technology, typically saving up to 80% water and 50% detergent, has won numerous awards for its commercial laundry solution. The specifically designed spheres are used in conjunction with detergents and other chemicals, delivering improved cleaning, stain removal and fabric care.
In 2013, Xeros developed the concept for applying its technology to the leather industry and conducted a series of feasibility trials at the Institute for Creative Leather Technologies (ICLT) at the University of Northampton. The outcome of this early-stage experiments confirmed the ability of polymer spheres to act as solid-state diluents, offering uniform distribution of chemicals both on the surface and within the fibre structure of hides. Based on the success of these trials, Xeros was awarded a two-year Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) grant by Innovate UK that led to the filing of four patent applications.
Xeros publicised the findings of this project for the first time at the Asian International Conference on Leather Science and Technology (AICLST, Okayama, Japan) by demonstrating the advantages of polymer assisted leather processing technology that offers significant reductions in water usage, chemical consumption, and generation of resulting effluent to tanners as compared to the conventional processes.
In 2015, Xeros established a Joint Development Agreement with Lanxess, a leading leather chemicals company with a turnover of €8 billion, to prove its technology at scale. The companies jointly initiated trials with their development partner Wollsdorf Leder Schmidt & Co. Ges.m.b.h., a world’s leading automotive leather producers who were awarded Tannery of the year for 2014 by World Leather Magazine.
In May 2016, the parties announced that Xeros’ technology had been successfully applied at full scale in the production environment of the tannery. As judged by Wollsdorf, leather produced by Xeros’ technology was equivalent to that produced by its conventional process while reducing water consumption by approximately 60% and effluent mass by around 50%. Chemical consumption was also reduced by a material amount.
Xeros continues to work with their development partners on advancing its technology, targeting early 2017 for the commercial launch of services.