German domestic appliances manufacturer Miele has taken to IFA's stage and unveiled what the company cites as the "world's only" solar-powered tumble dryer, the T 8881 S EcoComfort.

Miele's announcement notwithstanding, the T 8881 S EcoComfort isn't actually powered by the sun alone, as it also relies on some mains electricity. However, the tumble dryer's reduction of power consumption by a reported 80 percent, requiring only 0.05 kilowatt-hours per cycle, is impressive indeed, and enough to grant it an A+++ energy efficiency rating – the highest European Union energy label possible.

Essentially, the system appears to function in a way comparable to the kind of solar-powered heating systems occasionally used in low-energy homes like the Slip House. During sunny months, it uses a rooftop-based solar-thermal array, which produces hot water fed into a storage tank. This tank integrates into a heat exchanger which transfers the hot water into hot air to dry the clothes.

When the weather turns colder, the T 8881 S EcoComfort can rely on either geo-thermal heat, or an as-yet-unspecified bio-mass system to heat the water in the storage tank.

Miele says that the T 8881 S EcoComfort's general performance should be comparable to standard dryers. We're no word on price yet, but the company reckons the dryer could pay for itself within just over 7 years of use.

Source: Miele