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Thermodynamics and economics of liquid desiccants for heating, ventilation and air-conditioning – An overview

Lookup NU author(s): Alessandro Giampieri, Dr Zhiwei Ma, Dr Andrew SmallboneORCiD, Professor Tony Roskilly



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC-ND).


In an effort to minimise electricity consumption and greenhouse gases emissions, the heating, ventilation and air-conditioning sector has focused its attention on developing alternative solutions to electrically-driven vapour-compression cooling. Liquid desiccant air-conditioning systems represent an energy-efficient and more environmentally friendly alternative technology for dehumidification and cooling, particularly in those cases with high latent loads to maintain indoor air quality and comfort conditions. This technology is considered particularly efficient in hot and humid climates. As a matter of fact, the choice of the desiccant solution influences the overall performance of the system. The current paper reviews the working principle of liquid desiccant systems, focusing on the thermodynamic properties of the desiccant solutions and describes an evaluation of the reference thermodynamic properties of different desiccant solutions to identify which thermodynamic, physical, transport property influences the liquid desiccant process and to what extent. The comparison of these thermodynamic properties for the commonly used desiccants is conducted to estimate which fluid could perform most favourably in the system. The economic factors and the effect of different applications and climatic conditions on the system performance are also described. The paper is intended to be the first step in the evaluation of alternative desiccant fluids able to overcome the problems related to the use of the common desiccant solutions, such as crystallization and corrosion to metals. Ionic liquids seem a promising alternative working fluid in liquid desiccant air-conditioning systems and their characteristics and cost are discussed.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Giampieri A, Ma Z, Smallbone A, Roskilly AP

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Applied Energy

Year: 2018

Volume: 220

Pages: 455-479

Print publication date: 15/06/2018

Online publication date: 30/03/2018

Acceptance date: 26/03/2018

Date deposited: 03/04/2018

ISSN (print): 0306-2619

ISSN (electronic): 1872-9118

Publisher: Pergamon Press


DOI: 10.1016/j.apenergy.2018.03.112


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Funder referenceFunder name
695780Commission of the European Communities