Liquid Desiccant Systems Save Energy and Improve Indoor Air Quality
To reach relative humidity targets, air conditioning systems are frequently configured to cool air far below the needed inlet temperature and then reheated, wasting substantial amounts of energy. Furthermore, conventional air conditioning systems rarely use renewable energy sources and the wet coils are conducive to the growth and entrainment of bacteria and mold into the air.
Liquid desiccant systems provide an innovative alternative that can overcome these and other concerns with conventional air conditioning. A key advantage of liquid desiccant systems is that they provide independent control of temperature and humidity, enabling sensible cooling (temperature reduction) and latent cooling (humidity reduction) to match the needs of the application and avoid the energy wasted in overcooling. In many cases a reduction in relative humidity (RH) also enables the temperature setpoint to be increased, providing additional
Liquid desiccant systems can also be powered by renewable energy sources such as solar thermal and waste heat from co-generation systems, providing energy savings of 30% - 80%.
Beyond the energy and cost savings, there are also functional benefits to adopting this technology. Liquid desiccant systems offer a substantial improvement in indoor air quality (IAQ) by eliminating condensation on interior surfaces and because the desiccants themselves are toxic to germs.
The white paper cites examples of energy savings including food processing and injection molding facilities.
For additional information read the ASHRAE article on liquid desiccants.