A novel heat recovery/desiccant cooling system

Liu, Shuli (2008) A novel heat recovery/desiccant cooling system. PhD thesis, University of Nottingham.

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Abstract

The global air temperature has increased by 0.74± 0.18 °C since 1905 and scientists have shown that CO2 accounts for 55 percentages of the greenhouse gases. Global atmospheric CO2 has been sharply increased since 1751, however the trend has slowed down in last fifty years in the Western Europe. UK and EU countries have singed the Kyoto agreement to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions by a collective average of 12.5% below their 1990 levels by 2020. In the EU, 40% of CO2 emission comes from the residential energy consumption, in which the HVAC system accounts for 50%, lighting accounts for 15% and appliances 10%. Hence, reducing the fossil-fuel consumption in residential energy by utilizing renewable energy is an effective method to achieve the Kyoto target. However, in the UK renewable energy only accounts for 2% of the total energy consumption in 2005.

A novel heat recovery/desiccant cooling system is driven by the solar collector and cooling tower to achieve low energy cooling with low CO2 emission. This system is novel in the following ways:

• Uses cheap fibre materials as the air-to-air heat exchanger, dehumidifier and regenerator core

• Heat/mass fibre exchanger saves both sensible and latent heat from the exhaust air

• The dehumidifier core with hexagonal surface could be integrated with windcowls/catchers draught

• Utilises low electrical energy and therefore low CO2 is released to the environment

The cooling system consists of three main parts: heat/mass transfer exchanger, desiccant dehumidifier and regenerator. The fibre exchanger, dehumidifier and regenerator cores are the key parts of the technology.

Owing to its proper pore size and porosity, fibre is selected out as the exchanger membrane to execute the heat/mass transfer process. Although the fibre is soft and difficult to keep the shape for long term running, its low price makes its frequent replacement feasible, which can counteract its disadvantages. A counter-flow air-to-air heat /mass exchanger was investigated and simulation and experimental results indicated that the fibre membranes soaked by desiccant solution showed the best heat and mass recovery effectiveness at about 89.59% and 78.09%, respectively.

LiCl solution was selected as the working fluid in the dehumidifier and regenerator due to its advisable absorption capacity and low regeneration temperature. Numerical simulations and experimental testing were carried out to work out the optimal dehumidifier/regenerator structure, size and running conditions. Furthermore, the simulation results proved that the cooling tower was capable to service the required low temperature cooling water and the solar collector had the ability to offer the heating energy no lower than the regeneration temperature 60℃.

The coefficient-of-performance of this novel heat recovery/desiccant cooling system is proved to be as high as 13.0, with a cooling capacity of 5.6kW when the system is powered by renewable energy. This case is under the pre-set conditions that the environment air temperature is 36℃ and relative humidity is 50% (cities such as Hong Kong, Taiwan, Spain and Thailand, etc). Hence, this system is very useful for a hot/humid climate with plenty of solar energy. The theoretical modelling consisted of four numerical models is proved by experiments to predict the performance of the system within acceptable errors.

Economic analysis based on a case (200m2 working office in London) indicated that the novel heat recovery/desiccant cooling system could save 5134kWh energy as well as prevent 3123kg CO2 emission per year compared to the traditional HVAC system. Due to the flexible nature of the fibre, the capital and maintenance cost of the novel cooling system is higher than the traditional HVAC system, but its running cost are much lower than the latter. Hence, the novel heat recovery/desiccant cooling system is cost effective and environment friendly technology.

Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Supervisors:Riffat, S.B.
Zhao, X.
Uncontrolled Keywords:novel heat recovery, architecture, energy conservation, air conditioning
Faculties/Schools:UK Campuses > Faculty of Engineering > Built Environment
ID Code:1602
Deposited By:Mr Tim Jacob
Deposited On:26 Oct 2010 11:43
Last Modified:26 Oct 2010 11:43

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