Energy Efficient Residential Dehumidification by Solar Driven Liquid Desiccant Systems
In regions with high humidity levels, liquid desiccant systems have the potential to be highly effective as renewable dehumidifiers in residential buildings. Unlike current air conditioning systems, which cool incoming air to levels far below comfortable temperatures in order to expel water in the air, liquid desiccants control humidity levels with no dependence on temperature. The consequence is a large electrical energy savings from a significantly decreased load on the air conditioning equipment. The current problem with this technology is the equipment must be small enough to fit in a residential mechanical room, yet powerful enough to effectively dehumidify the incoming air. This study aimed to determine if equipment could be designed that fit these requirements. In order to test the design, an experiment fed air at constant speed, humidity, and temperature through a design prototype where the dehumidification process would occur via liquid desiccant. Sensors at the inlet and outlet of the prototype measured temperature and humidity of the air flow. The experiment showed a relative humidity decrease at a constant 70°F from 80% at the inlet to below 30% at the outlet. While this technology is still in its infancy, this study shows it to be greatly promising.