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Membrane, Dehumidification, HVAC, Evaporative Cooling, Sustainable


In the United States, approximately 46% of total building energy consumption is attributed to heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems (HVAC), and 21% of electricity consumption in the commercial and residential sectors is due to space cooling. With the added issue of global warming, cooling and dehumidification loads are expected to further increase in the future. Current practices involve using a vapor compression cycle to cool and dehumidify air through condensation dehumidification using refrigerants which can be environmentally hazardous. This process is associated with significant energy penalties relating to phase change of moisture, thus necessitating the exploration of alternative technologies. Combining membrane-based dehumidification with dewpoint evaporative cooling avoids the energy-intensive process of moisture condensation while efficiently cooling the air without using harmful refrigerants. This paper presents a thermodynamic model of a hybrid system consisting of a membrane module dehumidifier inspired by the Claridge-Culp-Liu (CCL) cycle and combined with a dew point evaporative cooler. A parametric study is performed for different ambient conditions to investigate the system performance. Results show a system coefficient of performance (COP) value ranging from 1.0 to as high as 18.9 with a median value in the range of 4.0. The system also displays the potential for having its own self-sustaining water supply for cooling at outdoor humidity ratios above 0.015 kg water/ kg dry air. The modeling results show the technology to be promising and display potential scalability in the future to be used as commercial HVAC equipment.