Liquid desiccant air conditioning systems have recently been attracting attention due to their capability of handling the latent load without super-cooling and then reheating, as happens in the conventional compression-type air conditioning systems. In liquid desiccant cooling cycles, a sorbent solution is employed to dehumidify the air, circulating between the two critical components; the dehumidifier and the regenerator. As the strong desiccant solution is sprayed on top of the internally cooled dehumidifier, it flows down by gravity and comes in contact with the process air. The desiccant solution which, by definition, has a strong affinity for water vapor absorbs moisture from the air. The end of the process finds the air cool and dehumidified and the solution diluted. The diluted desiccant solution enters the regenerator in order to retrieve its initial concentration. Hot water derived from a low temperature source supplies the necessary heat to the solution and the excessive water content is evaporated. At the end of the process, the hot humid air is rejected to the ambient and the concentrated solution is driven to the dehumidifier.
The complex heat and mass transfer phenomena, occurring both in the dehumidifier and regenerator, has been the subject of earlier work by the authors. Based on the knowledge gained, a liquid desiccant system was installed at the National Technical University of Athens, Laboratory of Applied Thermodynamics, for experimental purposes. The liquid desiccant system was constructed by the German company L-DCS .
The main components of the system are the dehumidifier, the regenerator and the evaporative cooler. The system uses water as the cooling medium and LiCl solution as the desiccant. It also employs two storage tanks, one for the concentrated solution and one for the diluted. The purpose of this publication is to present the newly installed liquid desiccant system, to predict the performance of the dehumidifier and to carry out preliminary design optimization.