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Selection of Solar Collectors Technology and Surface for a Desiccant Cooling System based on Energy, Environmental and Economic Analysis
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1  Università degli Studi del Sannio, Benevento

Abstract: Desiccant-based air handling units allow significant reductions in greenhouse gas emissions and energy savings with respect to conventional air conditioning systems. Benefits are maximized when they interact with renewable energy technologies, such as solar collectors. Due to the high requirements of humidifiers, water consumption is a major issue for desiccant cooling technology. Therefore, a water consumption analysis should be also performed.In this work, experimental tests and data derived from scientific and technical literature are used to implement a model of a solar desiccant cooling system, considering three different solar caption technologies (air, flat plate and evacuated collectors). Simulations were then performed to compare the energy, environmental and economic performance and water consumption of the system with those of a desiccant-based unit in which regeneration thermal energy is supplied by a natural gas boiler, and with a conventional air handling device. A trade-off solution is chosen, consisting of 16 m2 of flat-plate solar collectors. This solution allows to obtain, with respect to the reference system, a reduction of primary energy consumption and of the equivalent CO2 emissions of 24.2% and 27.1%, respectively, with an acceptable pay-back time of 4.81 years, and a water consumption very similar to that of the reference system.
Keywords: Desiccant cooling; water consumption; solar energy; air handling unit; energy, environmental and economic analysis; dynamic simulation