Abstract: The performance of a commercially available direct-fired desiccant dehumidification unit (DFDD) has been studied as part of a microturbine
generator (MTG)-based Integrated Energy System (IES) at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL). The IES includes a second-generation air-to-water heat recovery unit
(HRU) for the MTG. The focus of these tests was to study the performance of a DFDD in baseline (direct-fired with its natural gas burner) mode and to compare
it with a DFDD performance in the exhaust-fired and combined modes as part of the ORNL IES, when waste heat receiveed from the MTG was used for desiccant regneration.
The baseline tests were performed with regeneration air heated by a natural gas burner (direct-fired).
The testing of the waste-heat, or exhaust-fired, DFDD as part of IES involved using the exhaust gas from the HRU for regeneration air in the DFDD after hot
water production in the HRU. Hot water from the HRU was used to produce chilled water in an indirect-fired (water fired) absorption chiller. The combined
DFDD was the combination of natural gas burner and exhaust-fired testing. The study investigated the impact of varying the process and regeneration conditions
on the latent capacity (LC) and the latent coefficient of performance (LCOP) of the DFDD, as well as overall IES efficiency.
The performance tests show that LC increases with increasing dew point (humidity ratio) of the process air or the increased amount of waste heat associated
with increased MTG power output. In addition, baseline LC was found to be three times higher than the LC in the exhaust-fired mode of operation. LCOP in
baseline operation was also almost three thimes higher than that obtained in the exhaust-fired mode (55.4% compared to 19%). But, at the same time, addition of
the DFDD to the IES iwth the MTG at maximum power output increases the overall efficiency by 4-5%.
Results of the combined tests performed at a reduced MTG power output of 15 kW (51,182 Btu/h) and their comparison with the baseline and exhaust-fired tests
show that activation of the DFDD gas burner during exhaust-fired tests increases the LC over the baseline value from 91,515 Btu/h (25.8 kW) to 101,836 Btu/hr (29.8 kW).
The LCOP during the combined mode is less than the "baseline" LCOP, because in addition to gas input, the low-grade MTG/HRU exhaust heat input to the DFDD are also
being considered. The overall IES efficiency during the combined mode is approximately 8% higher than without the DFDD integrated into the IES.
Keywords: integrated energy system, IES, microturbine, desiccant dehumidification, absorption chiller, exhaust fired, heat recovery unit, HRU, latent capacity, latent COP
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Proceedings of IMECE2004
November 13-20, 2004