In laundry detergents, low-temperature bleaching is made possible thanks to activating agents that convert the peroxy acid precursor into the active peroxy acid. Cold-water bleaching is energy-efficient, saving people and companies money, and helps to reduce one’s carbon footprint by lowering the amount of energy required to heat water.
NOBS is active at lower temperatures (15oC) than TAED (40oC), but despite this TAED is still the preferred activator in Europe. This is in part because culturally, washing with warmer water and lots (relatively) of detergent is still more common in Europe, although there are signs that habits are changing. This survey, from nearly 7 years ago, suggested that 1/3 of all washes are done with cold water (below 30ᵒ C); one can only surmise that it has increased since then. Primarily, though, the reason seems to be plain habit: TAED was first commercially produced in the 1970s and widely adopted by 1980. At that time other activators were experimented with, but only TAED had the required biodegradability profile and a low enough manufacturing cost to make it commercially viable. NOBS, on the other hand, was only developed in 1983 and it was not until 1988 that it was used in detergents.
However, consumers value sustainability and environmental friendliness – and saving up to quarter of their energy costs – and NOBS is a likely candidate to meet this growing need. Since 2015, Sirius has been introducing Britebleach NOBS. Sales has picked up in Asia and Latin America. The European market is on the verge of the same environmental upgrade.
The biodegradability profile of NOBS remains unknown, but it is more than 100X more soluble than TAED in water, which means that detergent manufacturers can use less of it. A multi-purpose washing powder is suggested, including 0.8% TAED and 0.8% NOBS; such a detergent works optimally at a range of temperatures. Consumers will encounter good results from 15oC to 40oC and up.
Going green is not only a trendy thing to do – it may soon be required by law. The Dutch government wants to outlaw cooking and heating with gas (which appears to be dying out, given the popularity of induction stoves). Although there is no guarantee that their plan will come to fruition, it is feasible that requirements for washing machines and detergents will become even more strict in the future. Adopting NOBS now will put you ahead of the curve.
The Sirius Effect:
At Sirius, we look ahead to see what’s coming: a future where sustainability and energy-efficiency are not only trendy, but also necessary. Curious to see what NOBS can do for your product without compromising your present quality? Call for more information.
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