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Moving Advanced Desiccant Materials into Mainstream Non-CFC Cooling Products
July 1999

J. R. Sand
G. Grossman
C. K. Rice
P. D. Fairchild
Oak Ridge National Laboratory
Oak Ridge, Tennessee 37831

Irwin L. Gross

Abstract: Desiccant air-conditioning systems can be used as alternatives for conventional air-conditioning equipment in any commercial or residential building. Recent breakthroughs in desiccant materials technology and creation of new markets by Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) issues make desiccant-based air-conditioning equipment practical for many space-conditioning applications. Barriers to broad acceptance of this technology are (1) a perception of inefficiency from earlier research on desiccant space-conditioning systems; (2) lack of suitable "metrics" to comparatively evaluate desiccant-based system performance against conventional systems; and (3) absence of computerized algorithms that allow convenient incorporation of desiccant modules in heating, ventilating, and air-conditioning simulation programs used by evaluation and application engineers.

The purpose of this Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) between Lockheed Martin Energy Research Corporation (Contractor) and Engelhard/ICC was to develop the enabling technologies that permit the widespread field application and successful commercial development of non-chlorofluorocarbon comfort conditioning systems based on advanced desiccant materials and desiccant air-conditioning methodologies.

As a result of this work, a flexible computer simulation model that allows construction and simulation of a composite, desiccant air-conditioning system from its basic components was developed and shared with the CRADA partner. Marketing studies were performed that identified target applications / markets for desiccant-based products. A draft test standard for regenerated desiccant systems was written, which can serve as the basis for product rating and certification standards. Also, a highly instrumented desiccant dehumidification test bed was built and installed at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, which can be used to verify results seen in field test site units, assess schemes for rating the performance of desiccant-based systems, and map the performance of systems in response to variations in fundamental design parameters and specifications.

Keywords: desiccant, dehumidification, humidity control, indoor air quality, IAQ, test standard

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