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Solar-Powered, Liquid-Desiccant Air Conditioner for Low-Electricity Humidity Control

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Todays air-conditioning AC technology is primarily based on direct expansion DX or the refrigeration process. It is so prevalent that it is considered a necessity for the majority of buildings throughout the United States. DX AC has been optimized for cost and thermodynamic efficiency, both of which are nearing their practical limits. In hot, humid climates, conventional AC units expend excess energy to sensibly overcool the air for dehumidification. As a result, excess energy must be used to reheat the air to a more comfortable supply temperature overcoolreheat cycle. The use of desiccant-based AC systems decouples the latent and sensible loads of an airstream, enabling higher efficiency cooling and improved thermal comfort conditions. The primary objective of this project was to demonstrate the capabilities of a new high-performance, liquid-desiccant dedicated outdoor air system DOAS to enhance cooling efficiency and comfort in humid climates while substantially reducing electric peak demand at Tyndall Air Force Base AFB, Florida. The new type of LDAC invented by AIL Research AILR has higher thermal efficiency than any other LDAC on the market today. The technology was recently invented, and only six active units were operating at the time of this report. This was the first solar-powered demonstration of the technology. The goal of the project was to quantify energy and water consumption, solar energy utilization, and cost savings relative to DX air conditioners. The LDAC system that was installed at Tyndall AFB was a pre-commercial technology, and given that it was the first solar-powered demonstration, a fundamental objective of the demonstration was to evaluate system performance and use the lessons learned to develop designmanufacturing guidance for future commercial LDAC systems..

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  • Air Conditioning, Heating, Lighting and Ventilating

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