Convective drying processes consume a significant amount of energy within the industrial sector. Heat pump-based drying processes are gaining attention as a potential technology for enabling efficient, electricity-driven drying for various applications. In this work, we propose a new heat pump drying system concept that employs water vapor-selective membranes for active control of the air humidity in drying processes, termed the MemDry system. We developed system-level models for the MemDry and representative baseline systems based on the first and second laws of thermodynamics to explore energy trends and limitations of the concept. It was found that energy savings on the order of 30-40% are possible when high temperature, low humidity conditions are required for the drying process. Furthermore, membrane dehumidification could theoretically reduce required drying temperatures by 10-20℃ while still saving energy. The unique design of the MemDry system and its use of exhaust air condensation may improve heat pump COPs by as much as 2x. This theoretical work shows that the MemDry concept has significant potential to provide efficient, feasible, and controllable conditions for industrial heat pump drying applications.


This is the publisher PDF of Fix, AJ, Braun, JE, and Warsinger, DM. (2023) "High Efficiency Heat Pump Industrial Drying with Water Vapor-Selective Membranes." 14th IEA Heat Pump Conference, available here: https://heatpumpingtechnologies.org/publications/?search=andrew+fix&term-21=on.


selective membranes; dehumidification; drying; Carnot; high temperature; thermodynamics; heat pump

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