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Desiccant Cooling

11/04/2010

We talked in class about achieving the zone of human comfort when controlling the climate of a home and how relative humidity plays as large a role as temperature does.  I remembered a technology that I researched at an internship a couple years ago.  A desiccant cooling system utilizes a material that adsorbs moisture in the air.  A common form of a desiccant is silica gel like the little packets that keep your shoes dry but a common one in a cooling system is activated clay.  This is a naturally occurring material that is non-hazardous and sulfur free.  In cooling systems the material turns slowly in a wheel which adsorbs the moisture from the air and then releases the moisture outside.  They can be used in conjunction with an air conditioning system but are a heat driven system so those dangerous refrigerants don’t have to be used.  The house can be cooled using a cleaner power such as natural gas or even solar.  Desiccant systems are relatively cheap and easy to install and could become a powerful technology in home climate control utilizing more renewable technologies.

[i] http://www.chiefengineer.org/content/content_display.cfm/seqnumber_content/464.htm

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