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Desiccant Dehumidification In Air Conditioning For A Large Commercial Building

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2001 Annual Conference


Albuquerque, New Mexico

Publication Date

June 24, 2001

Start Date

June 24, 2001

End Date

June 27, 2001



Page Count


Page Numbers

6.327.1 - 6.327.14

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Paper Authors

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Kamal Abou-Khamis

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Hyun Kim

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Desiccant Dehumidification in Air Conditioning for a Large Commercial Building Hyun W. Kim, Kamal Abou-Khamis Youngstown State University


A case study was done to investigate the performance of air conditioning systems for a large newly built supermarket. Data for routine operating conditions were gathered through an automatic data monitoring system and were downloaded for analysis of the system. An alternative conventional cooling system is designed and analyzed for comparison with the desiccant cooling system. The study showed that incorporating the desiccant dehumidification unit improved the performance of the air conditioning system, reduced operating costs, and increased the levels of human comfort, in addition to a simple reduction of humidity. The study also revealed the possible design improvement on the desiccants units. The improvement focused on pre-cooling the make-up air and dehumidifying it with the desiccant before the air blends with return air from the zone. The investigation produced significant information on design and selection criteria of the system and improvement on the system operation of the desiccant unit used for air conditioning systems for large commercial buildings. It is intended to incorporate this study into the thermal design or HVAC course in the mechanical engineering program.

I. Introduction

Large commercial buildings, such as supermarkets or restaurants, require large capacity air conditioning units to maintain a comfortable environment for their customers and employees. These air conditioning units control, not only the indoor temperature, but also excessive moisture that may be generated by people, cooking and other operating processes. The installation and operating costs of these units are usually high. In order to reduce the unit capacity and operation costs, many buildings, in recent years, are being equipped with desiccant cooling units that reduce the indoor moisture level. These relatively new devices in commercial or residential air conditioning are expected to increase the performance of the overall system, and, thus, reduce the costs of installation and operation.

Desiccants exhibit an affinity so strong for moisture that they attract and hold water vapor directly from the surrounding air. This affinity can be regenerated repeatedly by heating the desiccant material to drive off the collected moisture. Desiccants are placed in dehumidifiers, which have traditionally been used in tandem with mechanical refrigeration in air-conditioning systems. The systems have been more commonly applied in typical air-conditioning environments that involve large dehumidification load fractions, such as low humidity levels required for operations in many industries. Lower humidity levels, below the level necessary for Proceedings of the 2001 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright ã2001, American Society for Engineering Education

Abou-Khamis, K., & Kim, H. (2001, June), Desiccant Dehumidification In Air Conditioning For A Large Commercial Building Paper presented at 2001 Annual Conference, Albuquerque, New Mexico.

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